I recently participated in the awesome, all-free Rock Your World Summit, a live telesummit of 24 inspiring world-class teachers, coaches, and authors that was focused on real ways to make changes in your life so that you can make your dreams a reality.
OK, honestly I only listened to a couple of recordings from it, but anyway… one of the giveaways was a free coaching session from Jo Anna Rothman of The Receiving Project. Jo Anna is living her dream job – she talks to people all day/every day and helps them live their dreams, to step into an amazing life. She is a former therapist who specializes in assisting people in releasing the blocks that hold them back from consciously creating and receiving all they desire. Since I have felt frustrated, tired, and somewhat unfulfilled of late, I jumped at the chance to talk with Jo Anna for an hour. Below is some of our discussion and what I learned from it.
Jo Anna started our call by complimenting my blog and saying that she loved that I am so genuine. She especially liked the “About Me” page where I say I want to be a famous writer. She said her goal, should we work together long-term or just for this call, is to help me envision a marvelous life and discuss the action steps it would take to get there. She’s a big fan of creating a sacred space for dreaming in everyday life. She said our needs don’t go away, and my frustration/exhaustion lately is due to supressed needs. I just didn’t/don’t know how to go about fulfilling them.
First she asked me to name two things I find most fulfilling in my life right now. After thinking a few seconds, I said 1) my daughter — being able to watch her learn and grow every day is such a gift and I enjoy helping to shape her and to teach her and 2) shaping our everyday life — the decision to move came from me about two years ago and I’ve brought it up many times, eventually completing the steps it took to make it happen. Now here we are in an apartment and remodeling a house. I look around and think how awesome it is to be able to make that happen for the betterment of our family life.
Most fortunately, I have always been surrounded with love from dear friends and family. My goal is to feel nurtured and adored from within as well. Jo Anna said that, within reason, every part of your life should be engaging and fabulous. I want to model for my daughter that taking care of yourself is important (she says we are not taught to take care of ourselves — so true, right?). We talked about how important it is to raise a child to honor her desires; that if she wants to do something, to go and get it. I need to model that it’s important to take time for yourself, to tend to your own garden and to nurture your important relationships.
I’ve always known that expression, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” It’s true that much of our life’s happiness stems from our relationships. If we are feeling tired or bored or unfulfilled, relationships tend to suffer. If we are filled up from within and excited by our daily lives, how could we not treat our spouses and children better and be more pleasant to be around? Instead of being ready to fall into bed the moment my husband comes home from work, wouldn’t it be ideal if I were smiling and excited about our day?
Next she asked a tricky one. “In 6 months, what would your life look like if you could do no wrong, if whatever you dream of right now would be successful and would happen no matter the cost or the roadblocks?” I still haven’t adjusted to this question (what a concept!), but since I needed an answer, I said I envisioned 3 hours of creative time every day, whether it be to write, paint, take pictures, or scrapbook AND I would be recognized as a photographer, be part of an artistic community, and have my own thriving photography business.
I get giddy every time I think of “having” these things as part of my daily life. Looking back, it’s always been there. It’s always felt really good to capture memories. After my first summer at sleepaway camp when I was 8, I went on what must have been my first “photo walk” with the sentimental idea in mind of capturing the daily rhythms of camp life – the worn path behind our cabin that I walked multiple times a day, the rocky and steep “shortcut” over to the dining hall, the serene view of the lake. I also took a camera and a notebook with me on a family vacation when I was 12, and on many, many others. However, it was only when my daughter was born that I was conscious of trying to freeze time with my lens, like life was speeding by and I wasn’t able to concentrate enough on it so I wanted to preserve it for later enjoyment (scrapbooking anyone?).
I want to live a life of service, of sharing, of giving back. It’s a process to learn what it is I love and then get there, but I seem to have found something in photography. Jo Anna says I should stay in that juicy feeling, that it’s telling me something. THAT could be my life’s purpose. It was serendipitous that I hung up with her and had an e-mail waiting for me from someone wanted to set up a photo shoot. I took that as the universe telling me I am on to something.
I need to commit to taking action to make my goal a reality, but in building a photography business, Jo Anna reminded me that in order to hold on to this joyful feeling I need to keep the focus on why I am doing it. When she asked me what about a photography business makes me feel fulfilled and excited, I told her how much I love reminding people of the artistic qualities of their life’s many moments. It’s a valuable thing to be able to give someone a snapshot of a moment in time that they could hold onto forever. It is the ability to remind them of their love for their family and of all of life’s joys and pleasures. Especially in capturing ephemeral states, like a baby’s tiny-ness or a toddler’s sense of adventure, photography is literally freezing a moment in time. There are so many times that I have only recognized the poetry and beauty of life when taking pictures and it has literally changed the way I see everyday moments. I am inspired to share that.
Now is not a good time for me to begin a long-term coaching relationship, but Jo Anna has guided me superbly in just the hour that we had together and that feeling has carried through the past several days. I am even more excited now about the life before me and my frustration is gone. (For the record, I still don’t enjoy some aspects of spending all day with a toddler, but in general…) I am eager to spend my time focusing on the people and things that most matter to me and to take much better care of myself.
Jo Anna is giving a message of fearlessness. I mean really… all we know is this life we are living now so why not make the most of it?