Life just flowed here in Santa Cruz. I worked, I surfed, I fixed up my little cabin, and helped around the property, trying to keep things clean and maintained. Construction was good for a while, but I still wanted to write, and massage. On January 5th, I went to San Francisco for a course in CranioSacral Therapy, a technique I’d been wanting to learn for nearly ten years. I also looked into a journalism at the community college. I felt optimistic.
But slowly my energy drained. The winter was taxing, especially the cold and rain, and working outdoors. My initial surge of “new life” drive was wearing off, following a familiar fading pattern. I felt bogged down by projects and “fix-its”. I felt stressed more than content. My body was sore, and I had no chance to practice the CranioSacral Therapy. I doubted if I had time for the journalism class, and wrote it off my plan. I did not feel happy or inspired. Something needed to change. I started scrutinizing contributing factors and kicking small gears into motion.
Sometimes realizing discontent is the hardest point to come to. It is impossible to change what you cannot identify. The biggest relief for me was when I pinpointed my job as a key culprit, and allowed myself to consider quitting, to take an uncertain step towards self care. I started looking for other jobs. In itself, that felt liberating, but further into the search, I got discouraged again. What else did I even want to do?
Often in such a drained, depressive state it is hard to imagine working any job, because you’re so depleted from doing something that doesn’t serve you anymore. Sometimes you just need a break. I should know! I’ve taken “clarity” breaks between nearly every job and adventure, and so far they have served me greatly.
My tactic this time, however, was to keep moving, even though I felt discouraged. Fortunately I’ve been through a lot of lulls and transitions. And I have seen time and time again, that after being churned and tumbled, I am always spit out exactly where I need to be. Despite the frustrating stagnancy and doubt, it was clear that my task was to stay calm and peaceful, and wait to see what would emerge
As an indirect effect of discontent, I found a renewed drive to take the journalism course. The thought process went as such: “Perhaps I need a change of scenery, a new situation.” (That is my tendency to run away from heavy routine towards the levity of travel and adventure.) “If I leave now, though, I won’t have gained any new skills!” (That is my obsession with progress, to gain from every experience.) “If I learn to write, then I can travel unhindered.” (That is the fantasy that someday I will find a lucrative purpose for wandering, that my income will not be limited by my location.)
With resolution and determination, I pushed through with the transcripts and meetings and last minute registration. I made phone calls on my work breaks, and drove to campus on short days, finally proving that my Bachelor’s Degree did indeed include the most basic Language Arts credit required for the course. I registered and orientated, and clicked “pay”, only to realize that as an out of state student, three junior college credits would cost $800. I resolved to go have a chat with the teacher on Tuesday.
Tuesday morning, I also had an interview to be a receptionist at a fitness center. That seemed like it could fit as I would be around physical therapists and such. Meanwhile I could work towards my license and maybe move into a massage position. They wanted 35-40 hours per week, however, and I knew I didn’t want that. I debated whether I should apply, but decided I’d go have another chat, with the owner.
On the way to the interview, I dropped a resume at a coffee shop. I fantasized about being a barista, low-stress, indoors, dressed up, meeting people. As soon as I stepped in the shop, however, I remembered food service and crumpled. The owner led me back to his office, for a meet and greet which I didn’t actually have time for. Ten minutes until my interview which was a ten minute drive away, with no traffic. The owner was very kind and the business seemed respectable, but I left with a stone in my stomach. All of the job possibilities seemed to fall short for me. I had no desire to make espresso, nor to make reservations at a health club. I was going to be late for the interview, and called to see if I should just cancel, imaging the owner a busy woman. The receptionist told me to come on down anyways, so I crept along in traffic, spinning in a cloud of mental exhaust. I pondered all possible jobs, food service, therapy, farming, rejecting each one and despairing that perhaps I just didn’t want to work at all. Which brought worry, fear about my future, about money, stability.
The health club felt overwhelming. Upbeat music played in the sitting area which joined the fitness room. The receptionist sat in a whirl of monitors and phone calls and client appointments. A physical therapist led a patient through awkward lunges on some sort of balance block. I waited for the owner to come collect me and gratefully followed her to a soothing massage room, dimly lit. A noise machine simulated a rainstorm, drowning out the front of the house. I relaxed into the familiar environment. We sat facing each other across a low massage table.
“So, why do you want this job?” she asked immediately, catching me off guard…I guess I hadn’t been to an interview for a while. Life of a nomad.
“Well, um, I guess I’m just looking for something a little more low key, feeling kind of rundown from construction. Wanting to get into writing. Working on getting my massage license…” I rambled a bit. She looked down for a second. She had an air of professional bluntness.
“Do you have massage training already?”
“Yes, I have a license in Oregon.”
“Because we’re hiring for massage therapists too.”
“Yeah,” I sighed, “but I don’t have my license here.”
“Mmm, Santa Cruz is pretty lax…how long would it take for you to get a license?”
“That’s the thing, like three months they said. I asked if it could be expedited if I had a job offer, but they said no.”
“What kind of massage do you practice,” she plugged on.
“Well, I find myself usually using trigger point therapy,” I was starting to feel intrigued by her inquiries.
“And can you do Swedish? Do you have insurance? You would be an independent contractor here.” She kept on as if interviewing me for a massage job. I let it run. For the first time I felt elated by a job possibility. I could see myself coming to work to massage. “We offer four hour shifts, in which you would do up to three massages. How much do you want to work? We’ll be opening an office in Watsonville,” and on and on. I just sat in disbelief as she described my ideal job, which I hadn’t solicited but which she was offering.
“Would you want me to do an interview massage,” I asked, eager to keep the ball rolling, before it slipped out of my hands.
“Yes, we would schedule a practical. Actually, hold on, would you be able to do a massage now? I think he has time…” she mumbled, walking out of the room.
So I found myself interviewing for a massage job. My hands came alive and my mind relaxed as I did what I’m meant to do. I left an hour later inspired and amazed. The office was only a mile and a half from my house. I could bike to work, I could practice CranioSacral. My ideal situation had sprouted impossibly from seemingly sterile soil. Santa Cruz still wanted me around. There was no other way to take it.
I drove across town to the community college, blaring my feel-good music, (Brett Dennen) and singing at the top of my lungs, as was all I could do to express my excitement. As I hurried across campus looking for my class, I happened to glance out from the buildings to catch the last of a subtle pink sunset, and realized that I was high enough to see a patch of ocean. In that instant, the joy of my afternoon blended with the beauty of the landscape, plunging me into the warm, still feeling of awe, which further melted into something resembling love. My heart creaked open a bit and I realized how tight it had been, that I had been missing this feeling. I had not yet come to love this new home.
I had been so in love with Hawaii, where everything felt right and rich and ripe. As transient as I am, and as transient as love is, it takes a while to warm up again. Yet in that moment, as I prayed a forceful “thank you!” to the Universe, I started to think that maybe I could love many places. And many people. I believe that the seed for my new massage job was planted weeks ago by my realization that I needed a change, so perhaps the seed of love was planted in that moment when I recognized it was missing.
From that college hill I sent a request out to the Universe for love to come into my life, in one way or another. But the Universe can be a big place, especially if the wish is grand, so I settled in to wait, patiently, knowing that my request had been heard, like all the others.
I continued to the Journalism course, which followed suit in falling right into place. The teacher passionately described his case for reporting the truth, especially in these times, and I was swept away by my desire to educate and write. I went to him after class, and pleaded to stay, without paying, and without credit.
“That’s fine with me,” he said, “but I need the numbers for the newspaper production class, or it might not run. And this paper has run for 55 years, and I don’t want it to go under on my watch! It’s only one unit, so it will be a third of the cost. Plus you will learn how to put together the paper.”
“Agreed,” I said, “Deal!”
The pieces of my world seemed to fall into place, as if they had been ash drifting through the air, all uncertain and unknown, and I sat calmly below. They aligned into the vision I had been building for years. To settle, to write, to massage. And my faith was restored, or reinforced.
This I believe is the power of manifestation. I am trying to explain it as I feel it. I used to interpret it as a craving, a wanting, an obsessing. Now I interpret it as more of a following. First must come an exploration of intuition, what feels right. Then all that wisdom must be filtered and distilled into some basic requirements for personal fulfillment. This all takes time and experimentation, and willingness to change direction in honor of truth.
Then, with a clear (but general) vision, you flick what you can into motion. You kind of suggest, and explore, and put out feelers, holding your vision and requirements in mind. Once you’ve done all you can without forcing, once you feel some resistance (different than challenge), it’s time to just sit and be patient. This is where the meditation (and true growth) comes in.
The waiting period is the time to work on the rampant human mind. In this in-between, there will be moments of infuriating inactivity, when it seems like nothing is happening. But rest assured that the inner workings are just quiet, the caterpillar is morphing inside the chrysalis, and suddenly it breaks out and all is revealed. The plan, the purpose. It is the waiting gracefully that is our task, the rest is taken care of. We are here to become experts of trust, faith, and PMA (Positive Mental Attitude). That is what I’ve been learning, at least. That, and to dream big, imagine the impossible, for sometimes it works out in mysterious ways…