New Routines

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For a long time, my evening routine, such as it was, consisted of coming home exhausted, getting on the computer, and staying on it, even if I wasn’t doing anything at all, until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. At least when I’m working.

And when not working, even less than that. It would be a “good” night if I spent time exercising or cleaning or anything at all, really.

Lately, I find myself turning off the computer, putting on a new age station on Pandora and sitting on the porch as twilight turns to dark.

Sometimes, I simply sit.

Sometimes, I read – right now: You Are Here by Thich Naht Hanh.

Sometimes I write, either in my personal journal or working on The Desire Map or one of my other journaling/goal setting notebooks. A couple of times, I’ve taken my watercolors out there, too.

I think it started with the Mindfulness class I did at the VA Mental Health Clinic. I started meditating in silence, which I think I’ve mentioned was a little new to me. And I began to crave the quiet time.

And then Tuli came along.

She’s so different from Pumpkin.Image

She likes being outside (Pumpkin didn’t like open spaces).  But it’s dangerous around here, so I can’t really let her out to just explore.

As often as possible, I open up the sliding glass door to the porch and let her go out there.

Having the door open somehow makes me want to go out there more.

I’ve spent more time out there in the last month than I probably have in the 6 years I’ve lived here combined.

I keep wondering why I didn’t do this ages ago. It’s pleasant and relaxing. My allergies act up a little, but still, it’s nice.

Next step: work yoga into the routine, either in the mornings or evenings. I need more movement in my daily routines.

Fear and uncertainty

Today is a bad day.

I want to be completely myself here, and lately most of my posts have been very positive and forward-looking.

Today. .  .I’m just not feeling that way.

I put my gym membership on a 6 month hold today, and that’s a huge bummer.

But I had to.

Because if the $30.89 automatic payment went through next week, it would bounce.

I may have to have C pay for her own phone bill next week, too. Because I can’t afford $25.

I hate being here.

I’ve been here before. (My friends from That Other Place know too well how often I’ve been here, and have helped me again and again.)

And it’s back.

That knot in my stomach that never goes away.

The fear that interferes with everything I do.

It seeps away enjoyment of everything.

It creates an endless loop of negative thoughts, and takes away all my energy.

Just a few weeks ago, I wasn’t all that worried that I wasn’t working. I thought by the time I did hit this point, I’d be working. Or at least have a couple more tutoring clients.

Tutoring

And one of the reasons I can’t pay the $25 phone bill is because yesterday I paid for a tutoring lead.

There’s this service that gives me leads from time to time. And I had been paying a low monthly subscription to respond to as many of the leads as I get. I didn’t mind because one hour with one client more than made up for the cost.

Last month they changed the business model. And now, I have to buy “credits” and use the credits to respond to the leads. Again, it’s cheap enough where one hour with one client is enough to make up for the expense.

I responded to a few leads, but got no response.

I think I know why, but it’s disheartening.

My rates are more than most of the other independent tutors. But I know I’m worth it, and I’ve had people pay those rates.

Over the years, I raised my rates slowly. I increased them when my qualifications increased, or when I was so busy I couldn’t keep up with all the clients. I grandfathered old clients into old rates, but had new clients pay new rates.

But, now I’m not getting any new clients.

I *hate* that I’ve got one client paying the current rate, but if I want another client, I may have to lower it. I don’t want to lower it.

And I’m tired.

The last year or so, I’ve been tired of tutoring.

I love my kids. I love working with them.

But I hate the driving, the nervousness about knowing if a client cancels, I’ll be scrambling for money, the selling myself.

Dear gods, I hate selling myself.

I’ve ignored my tutoring blog.

I’ve stopped researching techniques to help my kids see math in a different way.

I stopped aggressively advertising for clients.

Looking for work

There are things I need to do to increase my chances of getting a job.

Actually applying would help a lot. 😛 (I did put in applications today for jobs at tutoring centers).

I still need to go and talk to my mentor teachers and get letters of recommendation from them, so I can finish my applications for subbing.

I need to revamp my resumé. I had a resumé writer create one for me last year, after asking her if she could do education resumés. She assured me she could.

Except it’s not right.

A business resumé is expected to be one page, and only contains certain things, yada yada. 

Education resumés are different. For one thing, I’ve been told at least two pages.

On a business resumé it would be ridiculous to put that I used to teach CPR classes in the Navy. On an education resumé, looking for my first teaching job, I need to include it.

Silly little things like that. 

And I’ve been avoiding doing it. Because. . . 

I’m scared.


I am so fucking scared right now.

Scared to talk to my mentor teachers about letters of recommendation because I feel like I screwed up so badly in student teaching. (And I owe one of them $50). 

Scared to apply for teaching jobs because I’m not sure I can handle it. Scared even to start subbing.

What if. . . 

What if I’ve done all this work, and I can’t do the job? What if I’ve done all this and no one will hire me, because all the time I’ve been not working or doing something other than education in the last 10 years makes “them” think I’m not serious about teaching? 

What if I have an emotional breakdown on the job? In front of teenagers?

What if.  . . .. what if my therapist was right in 2004, and I really should be on disability instead of working? [That’s the scariest thought of all, and I haven’t actually vocalized (or written) it until now.]

Distractions

I’ve been distracting myself with the idea of starting a self-help business. I want to, but I also know it will take time to establish. 
For one thing, there are currently only about 25 people reading my blog routinely, and almost all of them are personal friends who aren’t likely to buy this stuff, especially since they are my emotional support. I haven’t been promoting it well enough. Like, I’ll only promote posts I’m really proud of instead of all of them, or I’m not consistent in posting.
I’ve gotten great ideas from listening to the summit stuff, and getting some support in that circle. Trouble is, it’s easy to find rabbit holes to jump down. There’s a total of 33 speakers in the summit. They each have mp3 talks and meditations, free booklets, blogs, email lists, lots of info and inspiration. I’m now getting like 50 emails a day, just from speakers from the summit. And of course, each one of those leads to more and more.  . . . distractions.
And then. .  . there’s M.
He’s been an absolutely delicious distraction. I am still enjoying talking to him every night. And lately there’s also been early morning emails before he goes to work that make me smile.
But I’m thinking about him too much when we’re not talking, and it’s taking up too much of my energy. I know it. I know that I can be obsessive. And I am being obsessive.
It’s certainly not his fault or intention; this is my own pattern, my own brain doing this.
And I also know I can be an all or nothing kind of person (part of the whole bipolar thing). 
So, the temptation is to say, “This is too distracting; I can’t do it any more.” 
I don’t want to do that.
I want to find a way to continue talking without obsessing.
I want to find a middle ground. . . . . . . (I’m really no good at middle of the road.)
photo by Cosmic Dustbunny 🙂
Because, really, if I don’t get working pretty much immediately, the plans we’ve been making to see each other won’t ever happen. If I can’t afford a $25 phone bill, I certainly can’t afford a trip to Vegas (or Portland or wherever else we end up talking about). And I want to meet up with him.
I need to get moving on finding a job.
So I need to stop letting “ooooh, shiny!” distract me (. . .  squirrel!. . . ) from the shit I need to do.
Writing this has helped me focus a bit, for now. 
Going to stare at a pretty picture for a few minutes, and then, off to rework my resumé.


Patterns: Withdrawing

Whenever I start something, I have a pattern of going full throttle for a short period of  time and then dropping it.

Last week I was so excited about a lot of things. I had a lot of plans for what I was going to do. I wrote outlines and lists with time tables and due dates. I was excited about the upcoming stuff for Invincible Summer. I started several things.

And then, I stopped.

I didn’t blog, I only wrote a small bit in my journal. I stopped doing affirmations for a few days. I didn’t visit the Wild Sisterhood. I didn’t read ZenHabits. I put off working on everything.

I also stopped talking, responding to emails, getting out of the house. I started napping during the day, instead of writing and planning.

I caught myself withdrawing from almost everything (except, curiously, talking with M. Hmmm).

It’s ok to take a break from things at times.

But my personal pattern includes stretching that break out for days, weeks, months. . .

Luckily, I have a small mastermind group, and one of the ladies nudged me with, “When are we meeting again?”

So, I set up a meeting. I had ideas, but had not fleshed anything out yet, still not entirely sure what direction I was going to go in.

By the end of the teleconference call, I not only had an idea, but several questions to put in the product. By the end of the day, I’d hand-written an introduction and sketched out an outline, listed questions I want to use.

I felt great again.

And the next day, I stopped again.

WTF?

This is like last year, when I only had a couple of small things to do to finish my teaching credential, and I kept putting it off, saying, “Oh, I can just do this tomorrow.”

And then I let it go too long and have to repeat something I should not have needed to repeat.

I’m starting to do this now with what I’m trying to do this here.

I have things working well for me.

I just have to keep showing up and not let this break I took last for months.

I suppose my path will never be a straight line.

And that’s ok.

So, today, I’m pulling out the notebooks, and the planner, and listen to today’s SSBR call at noon. And I’m writing. It’s not my best post ever, but I’m doing something, which is good.

Balance

I’m still working with some of the stuff in the Incredible Year workbook, and I’ve also discovered Wild Sister Magazine.

Like a lot of stuff I’ve read, the core of the information is not new to me, but in both of these sites, the women who run them are excited about what they do, and their emotions and encouragement of others come through very strongly which makes it feel a little fresher.

The one thing I’m having a problem with, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, is that they are almost too woman-centered.

Now, first off, I’m a Feminist with a capital F. I worked in a male-dominated field (electronics), in a male-dominated organization (military). My degree is in math, which is still male-dominated. My spiritual path was originally chosen as one that honored the sacred feminine.

I believe women should have autonomy and sovereignty over their own bodies – to dress as demurely or sexy as they wish/feel comfortable with, to have sex when and with whom they choose, to decide if and when to have babies and so on.

I love reading about and meeting strong women. I’ve read Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan and Naomi Wolf. I know how deeply patriarchy is inherent in our culture.

Twenty years ago, the woman-centeredness would have spoken to my soul.

It still does, to an extent, but. . .

In my personal spiritual practice, I long ago moved towards a more balanced perspective: balancing the animus and anima, honoring the sacred masculine as well as the feminine. After all, while women hold up half the sky, so do men. And while men may still have some unconscious advantages in this world, there are some areas where they seem to be being left behind.

There is wisdom in these pages that a couple of men I know could stand to hear, but I don’t see them dealing with all the. . .  girly shit and curlicues and so on to hear the stuff that they could use.

This really isn’t a criticism, because the wonderful women have found their niche, and more power to them!

But I think I would prefer to make my focus a little more gender-neutral. [And guys, if you’re looking for this kind of good stuff, you could check out ZenHabits.]