Blind Faith

“I really admire your blind trust in the universe,” said a friend I was with Saturday night.

She meant it, though the words themselves don’t pack much punch, the look in her eyes and how she said it definitely did. I laughed and took a sip of the bourbon that I couldn’t afford.

Indeed, many of the decisions I’ve made recently, and in the far away past, probably look quite blind from the outsiders looking in.

I don’t know that we ever get to an age where we have to make less choices, but right now there seems to be a lot. And they all feel BIG. And detrimental. And…important.

The older I get, the more I can start to weave together the impact even the tiniest of choices can have. To say yes to that date and no to another, to break up or stay together, to say yes to that job and no to that one. 

To walk away from something or someone with no certainty that something greater is around the corner.

It’s hella scary.

Choices, of any kind, used to paralyze me. I’m that person who has to order last at brunch. First I can’t decide if I want sweet or savory, the classic breakfast dilemma. Then, just when I think the painful decision process is over:

“How would you like your eggs done?”

UGH.

A trivial decision yes, but how you behave at OJs on Sunday afternoon is likely very similar to how you behave elsewhere. Consider that how you do anything is how you do everything.

I read this “motivational” quote by some guy named Michael Josephson: “The choices you make in your life will make your life. Choose wisely.”

That didn’t motivate me Michael; it stressed me the fuck out.

I feel very lucky to have grown up in this generation where our choices seem endless. We’ve thrown the straight and narrow out the door. We are no longer looked at funny if we’re 25 and without child. Reinventing ourselves five times before our 30th birthday and having numerous careers is totally cool.

But is anyone else feeling overwhelmed?

I used to have this deep rooted fear of aging. And not the getting wrinkles kind of fear. It was more of a, “I’m running out of time” kind of fear. That, coupled with the fact that there are lot of things on my bucket list, was causing a lot of stress. As if I had to get it all crossed off, like, now.

To know which impulses to follow, and to know when it’s time to pull the trigger. To know which ideas still need time to blossom, and which you should just go for. To know when changing your mind is just that, or when it’s actually just giving up when you might be three feet from gold.

The tug at your heart, the impulsive decisions, the well thought out plans. When to choose and when to sit on it.

I may have written about this before, or I may have just uttered this lesson to friends and colleagues, but here’s a teaching from a friend and mentor that changed everything for me, and is likely the reason why it looks like I have blind trust.

I assure you, it’s not blind.

We always think that it’s about whether we choose A or B, but the most important thing, and the thing that actually propels our lives forward, is making a decision.

Mind not blown? Consider this: That place of indecision sucks. Wavering back and forth between moving, quitting a job, or leaving a relationship, is so much worse than just making the decision and pulling the trigger.

In Edwene Gaines’ Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity, Maxwell Maltz says, “A step in the wrong direction is better than staying on the spot all our life. Once you’re moving forward you can correct your course as you go. Your automatic guidance system cannot guide you when you’re standing still.” (p.38)

So, just go out there and choose, and trust that you’ll be able to course correct.

And trust that you’ll get what you need one way or another.

Last Friday night I was having coffee with an old friend at a quiet cafe. One way to look at it is we were discussing our latest choices. Choices like: sleeping with guys you know deep down are fuck boi’s, moving cities, and quitting jobs. Giving things up for new experiences, or giving things up for one night of fun.

Mid conversation an older man came up to our table with two plates, a dessert for each of us.

He said, “These are for you. I have 5 daughters and you two sitting here chatting reminded me of them and how much I miss them.”

Hopefully he didn’t hear the details of our conversation, for his sake.

His sincerity took away any initial reaction I had that screamed, “Don’t take treats from strangers!”

Then he said, “The world is good to us, it’s not always as bad as they make it seem.” 

I think the difference between reckless blind trust and the kind of faith my girlfriend and I were talking about this weekend, lies in the difference between being impulsive (which has its place) and having your eyes wide open. When you know yourself well enough and have your eyes (and heart) open, making those choices gets a little easier. You don’t get attached to one outcome over another. You trust that the world will be good to you, because your eyes are open to all the ways that it already is.

Oil & Grain Collab

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[“the first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are” – John Pierpont Morgan]

July 18, 2013. I’m not good with years or dates. I only know this was the day because I found the piece of paper I had scribbled on during an afternoon with three coworkers. Mid summer. Mid twenties. A couple hours before I had to go to work.

I was kind of lost. I was standing still.

The big question was posed – What one great thing would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail?

I had heard that question many times before. But for some reason that afternoon the real honest answer came up – or maybe it had been there all along and I was finally ready to listen to it.

lululemon will call this kind of work goal setting. Danielle Laporte might call itDesire Mapping. [Read that book!] My writing mentor would call it intention setting. This particular question is Brian Tracy’s; he calls this work thePsychology of Achievement. My dad has a bucket list. My mom has a vacation planner. I dabble in all of the above.

The truth about me is that I’m as into personal development and making my life as rad as possible as I am going out on friday nights. I guess you could say I found a way to blend the two.

I say yes to out-of-body spiritual woo-woo stuff on yoga retreats. I say yes to doubles on Thursdays. Yes to personal development seminars and the self-help section at Chapters. Yes to making terrible decisions and laughing about them later.

So July 18th. Two summers ago. I got really honest with the question I mentioned above. “I would be our generations Candace Bushnell. I want to be recognized in a magazine as our generations Carrie Bradshaw.”

I had also heard the follow up question many times before. “What’s one thing you could do that would be a step in the right direction?”

Here’s my two cents on that question: I don’t think it so much matters what small step you take – it’s just the act of taking a step.

My favorite university professor who I met in 2006, and now my writing mentor and as I like to call her, my life coach, taught me a really important lesson: So often we get stuck in a spot where all we’re doing is debating to take path A or path B. We weigh the pros and cons, second guess ourselves, and let fear [of a million things] stop us from making a choice. We think that the big decision is whether we choose A or B. But the truth is, the real decision is just making Adecision. Any decision. What matters is pulling the trigger.

Because nothing is going to happen if you stand still. At least if you choose B, and it turns out to be shit, you can course-correct. You learn something. You’re going somewhere. My small step was sending my university professor an email to see if she was still teaching writing workshops. [She is – http://www.languageofyoga.com/%5D

There were thousands of other tiny choices and steps along the way. But what amazes me is how much ease there was in all of this. As soon as I took that first step, things started rolling.  I was just published for the first time, I write for Swagger Communications, I’m a regular contributor to Branded Magazine, and someone from the Sun just contacted me about freelancing. Last night I started to put together a portfolio. Things are rolling, one step at a time. Branded Magazine called me “Calgary’s Carrie Bradshaw.” That’s pretty close to what I scribbled down two summers ago.

And all I’m doing is being me, writing about what I want to write about, and saying yes to people, opportunities and connections. It can be that simple.

Someone else who is chasing dreams and taking tiny steps is my friend & photographer Nina. @ninavis www.ninavisphoto.com

We got together this winter because a) I was freaking out and feeling really self conscious about a magazine photo shoot I had just done and b) I wanted to capture this time of my life with more than just selfies. I wanted photos that felt like me, in my condo, in my belongs-on-a-beach wardrobe.

I have a mini freakout every time I hit “publish” on my blog [including right now] and Nina has a mini freakout every time she puts her images out into the world. Of course we do. We’re human. We’re girls taking paths a little less traveled and a little more risky.

Judgemental voice inside my head every day that I’m getting better at ignoring:Your dream is to be a writer? Good luck with that one.

But being able to express who we are creatively, and that feeling I have right now which I’m pretty sure is my heart going YES YES YES … these things make it all worth it.