Saying Yes… And Farewell

I’ve been hinting at a big personal transition and, now that I’ve let colleagues and others know, I can share more publicly.

After roughly 16 years, a whole lot of time on airplanes, thousands of students and a mess of other data chunks I could toss on the table, I bid a fond farewell to the last of the roles I held working with CTI, the Co-Active Training Institute.

I loved the work and the people I got to work with. With only a few exceptions, I adored the students I got to teach.

Because I traveled with a guitar most of the time, I got to lead a somewhat staid variation of the rock & roll lifestyle, albeit without the loud shows, groupies and substances…

Well, okay – extremely staid.

By rock & roll standards probably just plain boring. (Hey, cut me some slack – I do have actual album credits!)

I made friends (amazing friends!) in just about every city I worked in and, though the travel helped teach me how much of a homebody I truly am, always looked forward to dinners and great conversation with those who, over the years, have become extraordinarily dear to me.

Truth be told, airports, delays, cancellations and other travel headaches aside, there wasn’t anything about the work itself that I didn’t enjoy.

So why, you may be wondering, did I kiss a good thing goodbye?

The short, not very useful answer: “It was time.”

The longer, meatier answer goes like this:

Years ago I stopped myself from throwing my hat into the ring for a gig that seemed almost custom-made for me. “Almost” is the key and, in that case, as cool as it would have been, it was clear that it just wasn’t my work to do.

In the case of the work I was doing, I’d found several ways to take ownership of it, to put my personal stamp on it while still honoring both the work’s integrity and my own.

It’s that last point that began to trouble the needle of my internal compass.

Beginning around the time of my 60th birthday, my Magnetic-North began shifting in the direction of my own creativity in a way that told me a calling was lurking about…

Callings can be funny things, and I’ve been lucky (I think) to have a few.

Some smacked me in the head when I didn’t pay them enough attention.

Others have been more subtle.

This one was somewhere in the middle.

What came into focus was the importance of putting my energies into my own work and, even more specifically, sharpening and expanding the work I do with men.

That was the clear part of this calling.

What’s still hiding in the fog seems larger, and I’ve only been able to describe it as “creative endeavor” because I don’t have a friggen’ clue what it is!

All I know so far is the function of it lives in the arena of creative expression. The form or forms it’ll take remain out of reach or sight.

I really do not know.

I can tell you with great certainty, however, that continuing to do the work with CTI, beloved as it was, took up just enough bandwidth to serve as a distraction.

I’m also over sticking around work just because I can and there’s a paycheck to be had. The food and fitness industries taught me that lesson in indelible, wildly unhealthy ways.

This time, I’m walking into creative mystery on my own terms and I gotta say, to borrow (sort of) a line from Seinfeld, it feels real AND spectacular…

Yeah, I’m wandering the desert under a big question mark whilst wearing a goofy, clueless grin.

Is it risky?

I suppose.

Is it responsible and integrous?

It is indeed.

And here’s the thing: Experience has taught me that the risk of sticking with the status quo, of bleeding off that creative bandwidth in deference to the safe, known path would eventually become painful.

True callings, unheeded, start to ache…

And sometimes, saying “yes” to the murmuring of one’s soul means saying farewell to circumstances that seem like old friends, even much-loved ones.

Tell me, what’s calling you?

Are you listening?