I couldn't get past the enormity and noise of the question to even begin to formulate some sort of b.s. answer that would appease the masses and myself. Not only was the question driving me crazy, but there was the pressure of needing to have a plan that was acceptable to everyone. How can you tell all your friends who are heading to grad school to be biomedical engineering doctors of international law that I just feel like working retail until I figure something out?
It started with a trip some friends and I took in college to San Francisco. The entire trip we were constantly figuring out what music to best blare out the windows and sing at the top of our lungs. At the very end of the trip, as we made our way up PCH, my dear friend Morgan asked, "Can we just turn the music off?" That 10 minutes or so of silence had never felt more soothing and comforting to my over-stimulated body. I didn't even realize silence was what I needed and that it would feel sooo good at that moment.
Months after graduation, I worked retail for a while until I figured something else out.
I also started adopting ways to meditate. Starting with a simple breath prayer. The book recommends saying, "I break through." I can't do that and take myself seriously. For me, there is nothing more necessary and cleansing than to meditate on God's love. Something like, "I am the beloved of God" works for me.
Go through a relaxation process of intentionally relaxing your body and muscle groups one area at a time. Then take the deepest breaths you will have taken for the day. Then with each inhale and exhale, recite one word from your selected mantra. Do this for however long you want to.
After some training, because it is something I had to train my mind and body to grow accustomed to, the noise and the ambivalent thoughts were drowned out by the growing knowledge and acceptance of the fact that I am the beloved of God. We all are the most loved sons and daughters of the Most High God.
As you taste and digest that nugget of truth, you will undoubtedly experience a variety of emotions. It's okay to feel a sense of guilt, fear, unworthiness, relief. Have compassion on those parts of you that we try to hide or overcompensate for because no matter how broken or lost we feel, we are LOVED. It is the experiencing of that love that takes us to new levels of being and living.
I am a little embarrassed to do something as cliche as this, but anytime I hear that Natasha Bedingfield song on the easy listening station, I can't help but to turn it up and actually open up my dirty windows to release my inhibitions. So this is a little lame but just humor me and read the lyrics and visualize pulling up to a stoplight and there I am with my windows down, fingers snapping and belting out:
I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
We've been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can't live that way
Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitiiioons!
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten
Oh, Oh, Oh (gotta sing the Ohs!)