For the past 40 days I've been carrying around an artifact in my purse. A relic from my former life. A Tiffany's keychain that my first (and only) boss gave me for my college graduation affixed to some yoga studio membership and drugstore discount cards that are only useful in a city that I don't live in anymore. What is a keychain with no keys? Nothing more than a tchotchke. A reminder of my temporary homelessness. Or maybe a symbol of my new life- absolutely full of freedom and possibility.
Keys solve problems. They also grant access and open doors. A key-holder within a company is someone who is trusted and endowed with power and responsibility. Having no keys at all left me feeling a little uneasy and ungrounded. And yet it's a rare opportunity to be able to shed all my old keys (office, file cabinet, apartment, mailbox) and replace them with everything brand new.
About 14 months ago I was walking down the street in New Orleans and I got a funny feeling in my stomach. The smell of jasmine was literally engulfing me and I could hear the distant sound of brass instruments echoing off the quaint, historic buildings of the French Quarter. The streets were sparsely populated and there were palm trees lining my path. I looked at my then-fiance-now-husband and said, "Babe. I want to live here."
Since then so much has happened it's hard to even believe that it was just over than a year ago. A wedding. Heart surgery. Seismic career change. Monumental energetic shifts. There were times when I was so sure my dream of living in New Orleans would come true and other times when I thought, "You're crazy. Go get a real job, get your head OUT of the woo-woo manifest-your-reality-clouds, and write your rent check like a good girl. You're NEVER going to change."
Following your bliss and listening to that little voice in your head (or in my case, the solar plexus chakra) sounds whimsical and freeing but it's also incredibly scary. Picking up your life and moving, without a real reason other than, "I have a good feeling about this place," is undeniably crazy. Not saying good crazy or bad crazy, but it's certainly not practical.
And yet here I am, with my little car packed to the brim, ready to drive away from the Northeast and (hopefully) never look back. My vrittis (fluctuations of the mind for you non-yogis) are having a field day that's making my meditation practice which is normally quite placid more like an angsty-internal-dialogue-ridden episode of Felicity. On the one hand, I know that if I could "make it" it NYC I can make it anywhere so the Big Easy should be a breeze. That's one mental conversation I'm having with myself. On the other hand... OMG I DON'T HAVE A JOB AND OMG I DON'T HAVE A STEADY PAYCHECK AND OMG WHAT ARE YOU THINKING AMANDA?? Yah, there's that voice. There's ALWAYS that little bastard of a voice right? The doubter. The worry-wart. The nagging-pessimist-worst-case-scenario-shit-talking-alarmist. We all have one of those right?
Well that dream-killing nag of a voice has ruled much of my life so far and even though it's not silenced entirely, I'm no longer letting it control me. I know in my gut and my heart and all those other wise little internal parts of myself that moving to New Orleans is what I'm meant to be doing. It's the right place for me to bloom and flourish and create the reality I have envisioned for myself. I don't need to worry about the exact details of how everything will unfold. I just need to stay with the unfolding stay open to the very real possibility that my life can be exactly the way I want it to be, without very much struggle at all.
When we get these gut feelings, how often do we just poopoo them? Let them fade away until we almost don't remember we had them until one day they come back three years later and we feel even more defeated and even further away from our truth? Well this time I ain't. I'm following my bliss and listening to my heart and leaping before the net appears and basically PRACTICING what I preach. Feeling the fear and doing that shit anyway, you know??
In just a few days I'll be renovating my keychain. Adding a car key and the keys to a brand new little home on a palm-tree lined block by the water. I'll be joining new yoga studios and signing up for new discount memberships and maybe even investing in a little "Geaux Saints" or "Who Dat" tacky dangly chain just to celebrate. Pretty soon I'll have a whole new life to go with my whole new set of keys and this period of transition will just be a quaint memory, like the site of that odd pile of "chains" in my purse, with no keys to make them worthy of their namesake.
Everybody's looking for the key. The answer key. The key to success. The key to a happy marriage. The keys to the kingdom. But maybe it doesn't work that way. Maybe we need to be keyless for a little while, find the doors we actually WANT to open and then just hang on til the keys appear? Or maybe we have had the keys we need all along and we just didn't know it yet.