Do... You Like Me? Really Like Me? (Aligning my Life with my Purpose)
Like... For those who do not know this is a quote... The one and only, Sally Field!
(If you would prefer to listen to me read this blog post...)
...I am unemployed.
This was a choice that I made of my own free will... Also because I took my hand off the wheel of fortune and let it take me for a spin! Over the last few years of balancing (and losing balance between) a professional career as a speech pathologist/therapist and pursuing my dreams of spreading my music and stories, I have had a demanding voice in my mind repeating that famous Nike slogan...
I argued with it, Someday I will... When I figure it out. When I write something worthy. When I can play a guitar well enough. When I have time.
It was hard to feel justified, walking away from a lucrative career in therapy (during a recession)- a job for which so many total strangers gave me praise, "That must be so rewarding... and challenging! It's wonderful that you help people that way!"
Meanwhile, I felt my job was about going through the motions and producing paperwork... Not about addressing each individual child's needs (especially those with autism!). I began to lose my faith in giving therapy.
The way that I wanted to reach people, help people... It was happening! ...When I sang, listeners would tell me how my lyrics touched them, my voice soothed them; How there was no doubt in their minds that I had written each song specifically for each of them!
...But it was more than that- Each friendship I made blossomed, and I watched each friend bloom... Anyone who made a point to stay involved in my life began to hear the same speech:
You are important.
I don't know why- Only you know your purpose.
All I know is... it IS the role you really want to be playing.
So DO what you really want to do- Do it!
The fact that you are my friend is proof enough;
I don't have any friends who aren't important!
It will be something you like... Just maybe not what you are thinking right now.
We are not always honest with ourselves about what we really want
because we are so affected by a lifetime of influences & experiences
we forget who we wanted to be when we grew up...
The only way to find out is by doing it!
If one opportunity does not pan out, it will lead you to the next one... until you get there~
You're already getting there!
This conversation is a sign that you are getting close!
Just do it!
In the midst of giving all this advice, I was still struggling to take it... I found myself labeled with borderline personality disorder (BPD), and then I really began to question the voice in my head! ...I spent months researching the condition from all angles; therapy, groups, technical books, autobiographies, research papers, meditation. Others with BPD, those with other diagnoses, as well as those who felt concern they might also suffer from similar challenges reached out and became my support network.
We all had questions... and sharing our questions made us feel better. No one had all the answers; No doctor, parent, or spiritual advisor. Instead of worrying about our differences, we began to find reasons to celebrate them!
I realized during my journey of self-actualization, I had created a venue specifically for these celebrations:aMUSEment EVents! During these exclusively female networking parties, women were able to shed their egos and fears, pride and vanity. These events provided an opportunity for the ladies to be 100% their authentic selves! ...and in the process, following the last event; I never returned to the shell of a person in which I had hidden for so long... I suddenly accepted my own advice and realized,
Being me was the role I was born to play!
I could stop here, but given my speech pathology background, I was eager to connect science with my intuition. So for the skeptics who find my story too magical, let me explain how I was able to recover from a life-long fight with severe depression and suicidal tendencies in one year:
Studies demonstrate "enhanced amygdala activation" in BPD patients (1). Whether you believe in evolution or not, the amygdala is a very primitive part of the brain. It is what manages the "fight or flight" response to potential danger, in both animals and humans. This is why it is considered part of the limbic system, whose jobs include:
-Motivation (intrinsic & extrinsic)
-Emotion (happiness, sadness, anger, falling in love)
-Learning & Memory (...learning to not touch a hot stove because you remember being burnt)
Seen here in blue. The amygdala is bilateral (on both right and left sides of the brain). Its location is within the temporal lobe, which is a processing center for both auditory and visual input (2).
In other words... Let me tell you what it means to me... There is a scientific explanation for my hearing and seeing things. My overactive amygdala intensifies my thoughts and emotions to the level of actual auditory messages and visions. ...When I first heard music in my head, I thought I was having hallucinations! But anyone who knowsBeethoven was deaf understands how truly real and miraculous the gift of hearing the muse is!
I stopped seeing my "disorder" as a problem. I started to accept it for what it is- a gift!
BPD patients suffer from black-and-white thinking; all or nothing, should I stay or should I go? So when I made up my mind to be better, I wanted to see results overnight. Instead an image kept arising in conversations, books, and dreams; a slow steady drop of water, hitting a large rock, gradually making an impression, a basin, even a hole to the other side...
As I meditated on this image, months passed. I surrendered to the process of reprogramming my thought patterns, one tiny drop at a time. Anything that had been negative, I told myself was now positive unless proven otherwise. People whom I had seen as villains in my life story became individuals struggling to find their own life pathways- with no intent to harm me at all...
...My copious drive to journal revealed many moments in which Ihad in fact been playing the villain to quite a few stories myself. Never on purpose! Mostly in some misguided effort to defend and protect myself... This was how I learned to trust others.
My desire to give advice waned- How else could I have learned who I am? I needed to make mistakes. I needed to let others make mistakes
I needed all of my experiences... good & bad. By embracing all the good, I began to see everything I could ask for is available to me; guitar lessons, yoga classes, hair cuts, clothes, furniture, travel- Just because of the people I know... Sometimes I can afford to pay them, sometimes I can not. I have systematically been removing luxuries from my life; frivolous shopping, driving a gas-guzzling Jeep, drinking alcohol...
...to come full circle, I still need to pay rent, afford health care, and pay my student loans. I still need to find income. Over the coming months, 2015 will be the year I transform my life into my career~ I am aligning my life with my purpose...
I AM A MUSE.
I have trained to be...
1. Certified Nail Technician (manicures and pedicures)
2. Certified Speech Pathologist
3. Reiki Master
4. Certified Life Coach
5. Beginner Yin-Yoga instructor
6. Children's dance instructor
7. Beginner guitar, piano, and music theory coach
8. Intermediate tarot card reader
9. Intermediate baker (pies are my favorite)
10. Experienced babysitter (for both actual babies, as well as for pets and/or adults with conditions that preclude them from living alone)
In addition, I am a skilled social media user; I take photos, edit, and post them. I create covers, memes, and promotional materials. I network so well that I am embarrassed when I meet people who already know me- under my alias, Every Heard (rather than Ev Reheard). I am really good at connecting people who are looking for objects, ideas, skills, or friends...
I organize large events (both my private parties, as well as gigs at public venues).
I blog... write... and eventually there will be a memoir about my family background, journeys, and realizations. I can also write on specific subjects, if asked.
Most of all, I love performing, and I am eager to begin recording!
So, this is it! Do you Like me?
Until I support myself as an artist, would you consider hiring me for any of the skills listed?
...Would you can hire me to volunteer for you... Have money and desire to volunteer but no time? I will go to shelters and give my time for you- Whether you want me to walk dogs at the ASPCA or read to children in the hospital, I am happy to volunteer in your name- and post photos of the experiences immediately to show you how you money has helped both the cause and me! Have a business with a t-shirt? I will even wear your logo so everyone can see my sponsor!
-If you like this idea of paying me to volunteer AND wish you could support the arts, you can tell me to volunteer with the nonprofits I have partnered with aMUSEment EVents; Philadelphia Folk Society, Music in Park, Jazz Bridge, Working While Playing, GoGirlsMusic, Girls Rock Philly...
...Over the next twelve months, I will provide a transparent account of my life; my bills, my receipts, my income... Any money from VOLUNTEER work that exceeds my monthly needs will be invested directly into the nonprofits or given to artists (i.e. whose equipment was stolen, whose tour vehicle has broken down, has had a sudden health crisis, etc.)
I am an entertainer.
The only question is... What do you want to see me do?
2) Wikipedia search: amygdala, temporal lobe, limbic system