Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's not a mistake, it's a course correction!

I used to be very afraid of making the "wrong" choice. "What if I don't do something and I miss out? What if I'm 'supposed' to be somewhere and I miss an opportunity? What if I hate what I pick?," my mind would scream. My what ifs went on and on and on. I was so disempowered by all of these what ifs and the questions I kept coming up with that it was very hard to identify and trust my intuition. If I felt like I was leaning towards one choice by checking in with myself, I would immediately negate it by all of the questions. I didn't see the bigger picture: that any and every choice is "right," and opportunities can't be missed because that's not how God or the Universe works. You don't make a "wrong" choice, miss an opportunity, and then God says "Well, that's it- you had your chance. Nevermind!!" Life doesn't work that way. And thank God for that! Pun intended. I forgot that there are no mistakes, only opportunities for the Universe to guide us in a new direction, and that if we veer off course, that's all that will happen. My amazing life coach calls it "course correction."

But before I realized all of these things, I was in the midst of making a pretty big choice about where to attend school for my master's in nutrition. A very prestigious (and expensive) school in Seattle had been in my mind for some time, mostly because it was touted as the Harvard of natural medicine, and that definitely interested me. (I have a BFA in musical theatre, aka a pointless degree to most of the world, so it excited me that I would have such a great credential). I also liked the emphasis on whole foods nutrition as opposed to the food pyramid crap. But, from day one of finding out about the school, there was this doubt in my mind about it being right for me, almost like a heaviness that I felt about it. I didn't really know what that feeling was about exactly, but even though I knew it wasn't a feeling of "yes, this is right for me!" I chose to try and ignore it; after months of deliberating and probably boring my life coach and anyone else who would listen to tears with my confusion of where to go, I chose to go to the school and move to Seattle. So, on September 15th, I packed up my apartment and moved 20 hours up the West coast, despite a total breakdown the previous night about leaving. But at that point, in the eleventh hour, I couldn't distinguish between intuition and fear- so to get myself out the door, I told myself that I didn't need to stay if I didn't like it. Which is exactly what ended up happening. The moment I stepped into the school to attend orientation, I knew it wasn't for me. It sounds dramatic, but there was just this pit in my stomach, not from nerves, but from a feeling (my inner knowing) that was just screaming, "this isn't right for you!!!!"You know how you just get a good feeling about something, and other things not so much? Well, that is exactly what happened. But I told myself, "Erinn, you chose this, and you need to stick with it. It will get better."

So, I basically checked out for the next three and a half weeks because that was the only way I could stay in the program, knowing so clearly that it wasn't right for me. This period felt very inauthentic to me. I studied all of the time because I had to keep my mind busy and not focused on the fact that I didn't feel right about what I was doing. I had a beer or two (at least it was gluten free, ha) almost every night to not think so much, and I just felt like I was in a fog. I didn't feel like myself and I didn't feel present or grounded. Not only that, but I also discovered that the program wasn't as great as it was displayed as being. The teachers weren't great and the curriculum left a lot to be desired. I found that I already knew a ton of information and already had so many skills that I hadn't given myself credit for; I didn't need this specific so called amazing program in order to become a great nutritionist and counselor.

I made the choice, with the support of my counselor and some friends to leave the school. You think this would have been easy knowing what I now knew, but I kept saying "who leaves a prestigious master's program?" and "what will people think?" Ugh! I was forcing myself to stay in a situation that wasn't right for me just because I was afraid that others would judge me. What was that??? I also grew up with the mentality that you don't just quit things; you finish what you started and push through simply because you started! Well, I decided it was time to throw all of these things out of the window because life is too short to be miserable because of silly fears, judgements and beliefs. I was so clear in my choice that after I reminded myself that it didn't matter what others thought, and that it was completely in my power to leave, that's exactly what I did. I left and came back home to California. And I'm so incredibly happy about my choice. I'm so incredibly happy that all of this happened, actually, because I learned so much from this experience and have grown on the learning line in so many ways.

Some might call this a mistake, but this was not a "mistake" at all, but simply a long, slightly inconvenient course correction. I veered in a direction that wasn't serving me, and I was re-directed. And in the process I learned incredible lessons that I wouldn't have learned if I had chosen to stay right from the beginning. I learned very clearly how my intuition speaks to me, I learned (in an experiential way) that it truly doesn't matter what anyone else thinks if me when I am clear about something, I learned to trust myself deeply, I learned that I have the strength to pick up and move somewhere even if I don't stay there, I learned that if I make what some might call a "mistake," that it's ok- I just choose a different path, and I learned that I have so much more knowledge and skills than I thought! Above all, I gained a sense of freedom that I didn't have before making the move and then choosing to leave and move back; a sense of freedom in making choices that I feel safe to do so now- I don't feel so paralyzed when faced with a decision. Sometimes you just need to take a leap just to do it, whether you fall or not because you will learn a whole lot in the process.

Are there any choices in your life that you are having difficulty with because you are afraid of making a "mistake?" Remind yourself that there is no such thing and that you have all of the answers you need. Then just take a step and I guarantee the Universe will guide you. You just have to take that first step.