what if it’s not this or that, but everything all at once?

i have some old ghosts that showed up unexpectedly last week.

i got called to the principal’s office one day. or, actually, she cornered me in the little kitchen as i was cleaning up after our staff meeting. she asked if she could talk with me.

to be honest, i freaked out a bit. i don’t know why i always assume that i’m gonna get in trouble for something. i’m not a get in trouble kind of person. and, of course, it wasn’t anything bad. nothing i’d done wrong or not done or anything. in fact, it was the complete opposite.

i was offered a chance to work 100% full-time.

right now, i work as a mentor/guidance counselor 80%, which means that i have mondays off. but, when school starts again next fall, they want to know if i’d consider working 5 days a week and bumping up my percentage (and my salary). the other mentor will be starting her maternity leave, meaning that they need to hire a replacement for her for the fall semester, and that means that i would be the “senior” mentor. the one who knows the ropes and would take the lead.

my first reaction was total excitement and deep humility. honored that they think of me enough o ask me to take the lead and work more. and then, i found out that this could possibly even start before school is even out for summer. totally not sure about that possibility, but, maybe.

of course, the principal told me to think it over, discuss it with lina, and let them know what i thought.

and then the conversations in my head began. the desire to listen to my soul arose. and the uncertainty of how well i was going to do with this decision. how would i choose what was right?

in a sense, my gut already told me what to do. i let my initial reaction of excitement start to guide me. and lina was also very excited when i told her about it all. but, i also spent time last week meditating on this in the mornings, pondering it in quiet moments over a cup of coffee at work, and during my lunches alone.

what i didn’t want to happen was for me to fall into my old trap of stressing out over what was the “right” decision. and i knew that those ghosts were lurking int he shadows, just ready to make me start second-guessing myself and putting on the pressure to choose “this” or “that”.

i knew that i didn’t really want to give up that extra day that i have of not working, making my weekend longer and the possibility of doing my life coaching stuff more feasible. i’ve already had such a hard time adjusting to working 4 days a week all day, and not being so effective with those other things that i love to do (life coach, blog, write…)

at the same time, somehow working full time makes me feel like i will have more freedom. sounds crazy, right? you see, it frees us up to travel actually. folks, i live in europe and that means that i can take weekend trips to other countries. and this is one of the huge reasons that we moved back to sweden: travel!! this is one of the things that restores and inspires my soul.

plus, we just bought a home… so a bit more money in the bank is always good, am i right?

not to mention the fact that i love my job. like truly love it.

the only thing that seemed to be really annoying me were those old ghosts, though. those pesky, stupid thoughts that i had to choose.

however, once i stopped trying to just push down those thoughts and fears, and let them rise to the surface, i remembered that i am not at all the same person i was the last time the ghosts of guilt and fear visited me. those old fears of choosing the wrong thing and the guilt of trying to have it all have were actually just remnants of the old me.

i know my truth now. and my truth is that i don’t have to choose one thing over another. what may seem like an either/or, give up or get, situation is actually just a beautiful opportunity. there is absolutely no need at all to think in terms of “this” or “that”. life calls us to think in terms of “both”. we are meant to have it all. all that our soul craves + desires.

everything. all. wholeness. integration. evolving.

you see, it’s not about working more at the school and losing the chance to do my life coaching. or traveling more and having more money. it’s not about settling down or being free. it’s not about the right path or the wrong path, the right decision or the wrong decision, what i gain or what i lose. it’s not this or that. one or the other.

ultimately, it’s not about what i do at all; but it is about who i am in all that i do.

and with that, the ghosts are gone. my soul is settled. i’m going to work full time next fall. and i’m going to keep expanding my life coaching dreams. and i am going to travel. and… in the midst of it all, i am going to continue to let life unfold. to embrace the crazy, unexpected opportunities that come my way.

but, most important of all, i am just going to continue to live out my calling. to be true to who i am. to ground myself in the things that touch my soul. and to make time for the sacred, beautiful, everyday things all along the way.

because it’s not this or that, my friends. but it (the secret, the divine, the meaning + purpose, the beauty, the question + the answer) is actually everything all at once.

peace + balance to you.

xoxo. liz

8 thoughts on “what if it’s not this or that, but everything all at once?

  1. Congratulations on being offered a well-deserved opportunity, Liz. I have my own ghosts with regards to decision-making and so it was incredibly illuminating to read how you’ve approached this and past life-changing opportunities. I read somewhere once that for big, life-changing decisions you should listen to your soul/your gut/your initial reaction and that for smaller stuff you should get analytical and base your decision on a thorough weighing of all the factors, and while this seems mostly right it’s too black and white for me. So my own challenge is to find that balance where I’m listening to my soul and not diving into analysis (which I’ve gotten a thousand times better at these past 3 or 4 years) but also — and this is the tricky part I think — consider the factors, but with detachment so that I don’t let the emotional that gets tied up with potential outcomes that I’m reviewing guide me. Essentially: listening to your soul but not leaving important concerns unexamined but also not letting the fear and security and all the crap make the decision. And whatever my own issues are I know that decision-making, particularly when it involves opportunities that are part of our own paths/journeys, is something that just about everyone struggles with and so reading your perspective on not only how you came to the decision but how you are approaching your life and accepting/incorporating everything that is meant to be is really thought-provoking and I think helpful to all of us who struggle at times to live to our fullest capacities. And your use of the word “embracing” all that comes your way related to your calling is inspiring. As usual, you have given me much to consider and I thank you for sharing. It made me smile reading how at peace you are right now with all the changes in your life; congratualtions again! xoxo

  2. Congrats on the offer LIZ!
    I am sure the 4 day to 5 day transition would be more to do/time take up, but that is work… you can make a two day weekend amazing still!
    I didn’t actually realise until now you were just 4-day weeks!

    1. Yep! It’ll be good! It’s been years since I’ve worked five days a week, but it feels right! 🙂

  3. What a year it’s turning out to be for you! It’s positively a whirlwind of ups and downs, and downs turning into ups (like your apartment!). It has been said that if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. Being busy can be such a positive thing, if you’re doing things you love.
    You got this!!

    1. Thanks for the peppy words, Miriam! It’s a new phase in life – and I am ready to see where it goes! xo

  4. congratulations on this oppurtunity! 🙂 i know struggling to decide all too well. your post reminded me of a quote from The Magicians books by Lev Grossman: “Usually in moments of crisis he was lost in a swarm of choices, paralyzed by the possibility that he might do the wrong thing – there were so many wrong things to do, and so few right ones!” I often feel that way. But I LOVE your piece of wisdom that it’s not either or but everything at once <3

    1. hello, sunita! thank you so much for your comment and for sharing the lev grossman quote. that most definitely sums up how used to approach choices! i am so glad and humbled that you enjoyed reading my current perspective on it all. 🙂 thanks so much for stopping by! xx

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