A year and a half ago, I was telling a dear friend that my work environment felt toxic. I also sensed that I was like a florist trying to be a mechanic in academia, and that my passions and gifts were suffocating in my professional space. I shared with her that I couldn’t leave my position because of the insurance, the salary — the stability it provided my family…I had to increase my business revenue before I was ready to take a leap and leave my position.
Then, she asked me one simple question, “what if you allowed yourself to dream?”
The question caressed my heart and had a profound impact. At that moment and from that question, I began to dream (more).
Moreover, her question reminded me that I was trapped in a cage I co-created. I considered the ways I co-participated in every decision that had gotten me to a space where I was going through the motions. Yes, I was mostly happy, but I wasn’t living aligned with my deepest dreams and gifts. I knew there was something more for me than the life I was living as an academic. I could hear my father’s voice, “don’t get stuck, Tanya” and when I was honest with myself, I was stuck in academia.
I am many things; risk averse is not one of them. After what was in total two years of mostly private deliberation, I resigned from academia on March 17th, 2021, and my last day was May 15th, 2021. I made no big announcements. I didn’t post the news formally on social media and didn’t tell many friends until “work” organically came into conversation. Now, more than six months later, I am a recovering academic and have not once regretted my decision. It was time for me to depart — I had an inner knowing that required no justification.
In 2021, more than any other year, I learned we can gently release what no longer serves our growth. I’ve observed the ripple effects of the sweet release (some unintentional but byproducts of my shifting) — my family and personal life calmer, my inner peace rejuvenated, my spiritual life expanding, my people pleasing while putting myself last diminishing, my healing evolving and my soul grateful. I am not yet where I intend to be; though, I am embracing the journey fully. I’ve also learned I have had to disappoint others to live more fully in my purpose.
I believe we always have a decision to make on how we live our time on this earth. I have lived the disconnect of being good or good enough at something but knowing it is not why I am alive or where I am supposed to be. I know the feeling of reckoning that I have outgrown what I used to think I wanted or what used to fulfill me. I have sat pondering, “whose life am I living?” I have felt the grief of shifting from who I was into who I am evolving into for the next chapter of my earthly journey.
As we embark on 2022, I want to ask each of us the question my dear friend asked me, “what if we allowed ourselves to dream?” We have the power to co-create our dreams and to live with passion and joy. One decision and action at a time can alter the ethos of our days. First, we must believe we are worthy to dream. We are all worthy of dreaming even though this world has taught us it is futile and unpragmatic. But, what if we dreamed just for a moment?
When we give ourselves permission to dream, what do we see?
And, when we dream, is our inner voice entering in to tell us all the reasons it won’t work? Is it blocking us from believing we are worthy of our dream(s)?
What shifts, no matter how big or small, do we need to make to walk in our purpose, use our passions and gifts and to quiet our inner voice?
What is weighing us down that we want or need to release in 2022? Will we have the fortitude to release that which doesn’t serve our growth? I pray we do this year. Life is indeed short, and we are worthy of our dreams.
It is 2022 and time for us to live big. Brave soul, you’ve survived another ride around the sun — endured soul stretching seasons, cherished those dearest to your heart and did what you had to do to see today. Give yourself permission to release what is weighing on your soul — anything keeping you from your best life. Have courage to be more fully aligned with who you are destined to be. As you let go of who you were and what served your younger self, notice the space being cleared for your future. Walk in sweet gratitude as you continue to release what no longer serves your growth.
I’m sending you love as you make another trek around the sun and wishing you unprecedented peace and prosperity in 2022!