At some point in our lives we come to those moments when we have to decide. Big decisions, with life-changing implications. Are you in or are you out. Stop or go. Hold ’em or fold ’em. I had one of these moments at the very end of last year.
And when that time comes our minds mercilessly mess with us. We been conditioned to weight the fear far more heavily than the potential upsides. And the mind never wants change. The comfortable anguish of sameo-sameo is what it knows and wants.
Yet some deeper part of us is pushing to change because what we have/are doing is not what is satisfying us. We need a change. And so the moment comes, are you in or you out?
It seems that many of the people I’m connected to are going through their own version of life-changing decisions now. Multiple folks I connect with are being brought face-to-face to decisions to reexamine/rework/end relationships or businesses, move their location, wrestle with health issues, or some combination of all. It is a time of massive change. Our individual challenges to change are being reflected in the world as a whole as we guide the collective changes. Perhaps others will find a bit of encouragement for themselves in my story. Sure hope so.
My experience was multi-layered. First up was a decision on funding support for the film #Lightships which I’ve written about before. This has been a significant venture for me as it has taken me to new places and meeting new people and doing something that matters to me. I’m compelled to share this creative work with the world. And as I examined why that is, it confirmed some things I already believed. My drive to see this film shared with the world is as much about me supporting the people I’ve been lead to team with and seeing their dreams nurtured into reality, as it is about the very powerful messages in the film itself (goosebump stuff!). It all works together.
We had raised funds adequate to get us well on our way to make it through filming but we didn’t have enough to fully complete filming and also do the post-production work to get the film ready for release. I had already passed my self-imposed limit of what I felt I could reasonably afford to put into the film while also meeting other family obligations. All my life I have worked hard to get and stay in a reasonably comfortable financial position and to always have multiple levels of fallback plans in the event something untoward would happen. Nice and comfy in my little bubble where I was in control. But if I made the additional investment needed it would push me way out of my comfort zone. What to do?
I thought I wasn’t sure what I would do. Commit even more or say I couldn’t? I knew my decision would likely decide the outcome of the film either being completed or all the work we’d done to date would be effectively lost. And what hit me the most was I knew that not proceeding would destroy the dreams of others who have given so so much of themselves to this film. And it would put a stake in my heart too. Lois, Maryann, John, and Lucy have huge personal investments of themselves into seeing this film to completion. Would I leave them high and dry? Or would I put more in and put the risk of failure on my family? Time for a big decision. Yet not really. As I always knew the answer was I would find a way to support the film. It was the implications of that decision on my family and oh-so-comfy bubble I’d created that was the challenge. Was I being crazy following some pipe dream or was it what I was meant to do?
And then the Universe intervened and upped the ante. (I hate it when that happens!) At the same time I was wrestling with the decision about the film, our daughter came to us and asked if we could financially help them in buying a different house in the next town over. My immediate initial reaction was no, my plate was full and I’ve got no money for that. Yet as I thought about it I could see the upside benefits in her making the move. Way better for her family And the daughter reminded me how we could creatively finance the move via some rehab loans and not have to come up with cash as that was a deal-killer. (I’d learned about all this a few years ago when I got all trained up on real estate investing but then decided I really had no interest in doing real estate…that U prepares you even when you’re not looking!)
So if making the additional contribution to the film was hard it was orders of magnitude scarier to do that AND also support the buying of another home at the same time. Lots of unknowns and uncertainties. Did I trust the Universe or didn’t I? It’s been easy to believe that I did when I wasn’t personally affected by doing so, but this was putting me and my family on the line. That was the ultimate question.
I jumped. It’s been glorious and terrifying at the same time. Mostly I’m good with it. On occasion the fears come back for a visit but generally for a very short time and less and less often. I recognize them for what they are, accept them and let them pass through and then move on. The deeper me will tell me if something is truly amiss.
Making the decision and taking the first firm steps was the hardest. After that it was easier as I was all in on those decisions. I had a rough plan and jumped in. Working with the wonderful team on the film we’ve completed the filming and are well into post-production work. I’ve seen the edits on the film as it has come along and John Harrigan (#F00lishPe0ple) is an absolute master at his art and the work will reach people deeply. Each actor brings a specialness that blends into a magical whole. Divine hands at work.
And we jumped in on supporting our daughter in buying a new place to live at the same time as putting more into the film. Maximum scary watching remaining funds flow out the door and understanding it should all work out if we do it right but very aware of potential unknowns we’ll have to find a way to manage through. And those unknowns have come and we’ve knocked them off one by one. A very unifying situation that has strengthened family bonds quite nicely as we are clearly all in the same boat together.
And then the Universe pitched another change at us. The home that our daughter purchased has a small apartment attached to it (610 sq. ft). Their original plan was to to rent it or use it as an office for their business. In March our daughter asked us if we’d be interested in moving into the apartment. The house we’d been in for nearly 20 years was about 2600 sq. ft so a lot less space. I thanked her but told her it would be too small for us. And then she said, oh but we can add a 2nd story and extend it. Not immediately but if we can manage the finances right we can likely refi after the improvements that have been made and be able to get the addition going. Whoa, hadn’t thought of that.
So we said yes, let’s do it. Since then we’ve been in the moving process and have moved to the new place and put much stuff into storage until we can get to adding on. Our old house goes up on the market this week and I’m trusting the U to arrange a fair sale.
And the upsides have been terrific! We get to see Amy and husband Lucky everyday along with the grandkids. Her youngest, Mason who is 3 yo, comes and knocks on our door most every evening and asks if he can have a two-bite brownie (it’s ok with mom). We gleefully accommodate and and get to chat for a few minutes. And the other boys come over too…yesterday I was IT guy helping with getting Minecraft running on an old Mac. And we get invited to BBQ’s and all the rest of happening they have going on in their life. Back to the multi-generational family helping each other out and interacting daily.
And beyond the family stuff, my lovely wife Rhonda and I SO enjoy the new smaller place (essentially a bedroom, small living area where we each have our desks, books, TV, couch, a kitchen area, and a bath/laundry room). When we’ve gone back to the old house it seems way TOO big and takes forever to walk from the front to the back. The new place just seems to fit. The furniture pieces we did bring fit just perfectly, almost like they’d been designed for this place. Simpler. Easier. We’ve become very comfy in the space we have so not a panic to get the addition done. It will happen when the time is right. Hmmm….
My point in all this is to share that even scary decisions which are full of uncertainty can work out very well. When I made the initial decision I had not expected it to result in me moving house. But by starting down the path and being open to what comes and being willing to adjust accordingly can lead one to unexpected goodness. The Universe does take care of us when we trust it to do so. This is not a look-Ma-no-hands kind of thing. One must be actively engaged all along the way. Not trying to control, but open to adapting.
How were those decisions made? Was it the result of a massive analysis of all the pro’s and con’s and a risk-ranked evaluation of potential outcomes and in consultation with so-called experts? Of course not. These decisions were made by me going inside and listening to what my body was telling me was the right answer. The mind cannot do that. It will try to keep you trapped in sameo-sameo land where you slowly wither and die. The mind is great at analysis and pattern recognition, but just isn’t designed for decision making. That is the deeper you. The part of you that you can always trust. Even when your mind is SCREAMING at you that you are making a big mistake. Just ignore it, it will get over it. And your life DOES get better.
I’m fortunate my wife and best friend in life trusts me. We would talk about the decisions and she invariably gave me her full support. (Yeah, I know the U arranged that connection too!)
Kinda wondering what the next change is that the U will present to me. I don’t think it’s over, not by a long stretch. Guess I’ll decide what to do when the time comes (btw Mind, you can just STFU!)