“And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” T.S. Eliot I recently made an end. I quit my job at a government-run treatment center. I was drowning in a sea of red tape, overwhelmed by minutia that held me hostage from my clients. The stress was killing me. Headaches, stomach aches, emotional exhaustion. I had to make a choice. I could go on and on with the pain, or I could set myself free.
Could I make it financially without this job? I fretted. How could I pay my bills with only one part-time job? I’d been making ends meet, working two jobs–the county job and a contractual position at a private treatment center. I loved working as a private contractor, as my focus was on counseling, not administration. I wondered if my boss would give me more hours so I could turn in my notice at the county. It’d be great if she did, for then I’d be able to pursue my dream of setting up private practice, a vision I’d been contemplating for a year.
Are you sure you’re ready to commit to your vision? my “doubting self” dared. I’d been waiting patiently for a sign to move me forward in my desired direction. I knew I couldn’t begin without some financial security. I needed more income so I wouldn’t feel pressured to make something happen before it was time. I needed to act on my desire, asking for more hours, simple as that. If the timing was right, my dream would unfold easily, like a new bloom on a Morning Glory vine. If it wasn’t, another lesson would appear to prepare the ground for a new beginning.
Ok, I’ll commit. I’ll ask for my needs to be met. Interestingly, I didn’t even need to ask, for on the day I had planned to approach my boss, she instead approached me.“Can we increase your hours, Phyllis? We could really use your help.” Definitely, I laughed, letting her in on my little secret. A feeling of gratitude washed over me as I remembered a quote by W.H. Murray that I had cited in my April post…
“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.”
It was definitely time. I had made my beginning when I had made my ending. Apparently, the unfolding would be easier than I thought. Within a few days, another sign appeared. I was perusing an online resource for professional counselors when an ad caught my attention: Furnished lakeside office available for sublet one or two days a week. I scrolled down the page to discover a recognizable name, a lovely woman I had met through a mutual friend after deciding to return to graduate school. Ironically, her office was in the exact place I had imagined my office, a beautiful, central location in Atlanta where I had personally received the gift of therapy.
Looking back on my blog posts, I now realize that I’ve “eased into” this beginning. There’s been no need to exert a great amount of effort. Effort, according to Webster’s, is defined as “something produced by exertion or trying,” a word that stems from the root word “esforcier,” which means to force. Ease, on the other hand, is defined as “freedom from labor or difficulty.”
Now I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t experienced any “labor pains” in my process. (If you haven’t read my Dec 22 blog post, you might want to check it out. I WAS in pain.) Change of any magnitude requires that we endure uncomfortable feelings and live with the tension between our current reality and desired future state. That said, I now know that the creative process does unfold gracefully when we get clear about what we truly want, begin with an end, and take committed action–with ease.