My role in corporate America is a cage I built and put myself in. Not on purpose of course, but that’s what I did and now I’m setting myself free. I’ve taken the chain off my ankle, and opened the door to the cage. Friday I leap out of the cage. How often is this the case? How often do we build our own cages? If I had to guess probably most of the time, but like Dorothy trapped in Oz, we always have the power within ourselves to get back home. Within ourselves we all have the power to make the changes to unlock the door and set ourselves free. My cage door is now open and I’m stepping out never to return.
I’ve heard pleasure is power. I’ve denied myself pleasure in pursuit of responsible choices far too long, but that ends now. Pleasure and responsibility don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I find it difficult to believe this is actually happening, but it’s my last week of work in corporate America, my last week with the steady paycheck I’ve grown comfortably accustom to. I’m a healthy dose of terrified mixed with excited beyond measure. It’s not only leaving a steady paycheck that I’m terrified of, I’m also terrified of the joy. I can’t believe I’m gifting myself joy through “The Year of the Travel” on top of starting my own business. I read a post this week from Glennon Melton Doyle. She said something along the lines of she knows how to learn through pain, but she doesn't know how to learn through joy. I understand her there, rooted deep down I feel guilt wondering if I actually deserve this joy and these experiences, wondering if I worked hard enough for the pleasure. But hard enough for who, I don’t know? When I explained this to my friend Holli on a wine date this week she said. “Alisha, this year is your master class in Joy”. That sentiment rings true; “The Year of the Travel” is all about learning through my joy.
On our wine date Holli brought me a gift. A tank top that says “Set yourself free” with a few bird feathers printed in white overlaid a grey background. She’s held it as a surprise for me since Christmas. I believe the intention had been a Christmas present, but somehow it waited to make it’s way into my hands until I was ready for it. Holli gifted it to me this week; the very week I’m actually setting myself free. All 11 years in corporate America I never once got any sign signaling I was on the right path. The opposite really, there was no night light in the dark, and I bumped up against many different ceilings in my unsuccessful effort to climb it's ladder. In hindsight it’s now easy for me to see what a dead end that path was. Once I made the decision to leave all of a sudden I’ve encountered many signs, blatently signaling I’m on the right path. No wonder I never believed in signs before, I never had any because I was on the wrong path! I should have paid closer attention to the slammed doors, missed promotions and lack of signs! This shirt from Holli is another beautiful reminder that I’ve finally found my way.
Intrinsically I know life isn’t meant to be pain and suffering. No one’s going to give me a badge for having worked the hardest, or felt the most frustrated or toughed it out in a job I don't like the longest. You and I only get one life and I want to live it joyfully and unapologetically. Finally I’m taking steps to do that. The decisions I’ve made this year, allow me to own my power and step into it. I’m aware these decisions are changing the course of my life and by design I can’t turn back. I can finally step into my truth as well as the joy.
Have you set yourself free? What is the thing you’re most afraid of doing, would it also be the thing that brings you the most joy? The fear is a signal and it’s telling you that your desires are important and you need to pay attention to them. Joy is just behind your fear, I know because that's where I’m finding my joy. It likes to hide directly behind the fear and the guilt.
When I feel afraid about what I'm doing (and there is still fear) I whisper to myself through the fear, “Dear one, get quiet, answer your longings, work toward your goals, set yourself free. Indulge, let yourself live in joy, learn from joy, experience pleasure. Remember, pleasure isn’t something to be fearful of, it’s something to embrace." and just like that faith wins. Faith in myself, faith in understanding that just maybe I'm being led.
Today in my desire map planner the quote from Danielle Laporte is “You’ve got a new story to write. And it looks nothing like your past”. This is my truth this week and my compass is finally facing north. I only need to go the opposite of where I just was. I’m closing the door on the conventional life I was living. I’m going to pursue pleasure, embrace my sovereignty and in doing so lean into faith, and learn from joy.