Leaving the Known

In the last year, I have had several friends tell me that I inspired them to make changes in their lives. They left jobs, sold homes, moved, left unhealthy relationships, took chances on new relationships and more. It is not easy to leave our known places that are comfortable. I am humbled, and inspired, by these stories.

I did leave a great home of 25 years called Des Moines, IA. I loved my friends, the local scene, the work that I did over the years, but I felt stuck in roles that I had created but could no longer support. I moved to save my Self. To find which pieces of me were worth keeping and to let go of other pieces. For some people, I jumped off a cliff into the unknown. It is true that I did not know a whole lot about my future. I had a temporary place to live, a few family members living near-by, a little bit of money, and no job.

I have heard over and over how courageous I am and I want to argue that many days, in fact, I feel terrified. Most of my fear comes from thinking I don’t have any choices.

In the end, I am reminded that more choices are out there than I can imagine. Most recently, I listened to a voice that said “Put it out there – your desire to live rent free and closer to work for the winter” and just a couple of weeks later, I found myself living in a silo 6 miles from work. I love this silo. It has shown me that I love a small, round living space, and that my needs are quite simple. However, as I packed up my things I wondered why I was leaving such a beautiful and comfortable home that I shared with a very kind and like-minded woman. Is moving somewhere for 2 months crazy? What happens in 2 months? I created a choice and in that choice there is discomfort of the unknown.

How do I discover my choices? I pray. A lot. The prayers have covered lots of territory in the last year: “What is next? Where is my next job, home, meal, tank of gas? What is the next strategy for healing this wound? And God? I am so relieved that it isn’t all up to me.” Then I listen and take the appropriate steps to find the next right thing.

I just want to point out that to live courageously often invites a relationship with fear. To step out into the unknown tells fear that I am accepting the lessons that fear has for me. This does not mean that I am not afraid, it means that I am signing up to practice being familiar with the unknown, uncomfortable, and the awkward. I honor the presence that fear has in my life and give myself permission to move ahead anyway.

It is in these places that I find some things resembling courage, resilience, healing, joy, and freedom.