This is an open letter to my friends, family, and anyone else who cares for me. Most of all, this is an open letter to my small self, and, since we are all connected in some way, I am also writing to your small self. In other words, our egos. The part of us that’s scared to dream big and take risks. I need to write this letter not as an apology, but as a deeply held conviction. A knowing. A sensing deep within my belly that it’s not only me who needs to express these words. You do, too. A knowing that by sharing my Truth with the world, I give you permission to do the same.
Here is what I need to say. I ask that you not only read these words. Feel them and know them as my Soul communicating with your Soul.
I am not going to live a conventional life.This might not seem like a big deal. But for me, personally, it is. Since finishing my doctorate in 2008, I’ve felt a pull to live a different kind of life. I’ve spent the past seven years (and I imagine I will spend the rest of my life) trying to define what this means. On the outside, it looks like I keep breaking up with society’s expectations of me. Instead of going straight into an academic job after graduate school, I took a corporate job doing IT research. Then I quit that job to go out on my own as an entrepreneur. Then I took an academic job in a city far away, with a contract that doesn’t give me much of an income or guarantee me a secure future. To conventional folks, this pattern looks somewhat chaotic. I’ve caused my family to worry, my friends to miss me, and my mind to doubt my heart. But on the inside…
My heart doesn’t care how much money I make or whether the words “Vice President” are in my job title. My heart only cares that I listen to my Soul, follow my Truth, and shine in this world as the Authentic Me. This means that, in all likelihood, I won’t follow a conventional path.
In other words, my dear friends, family, and others who care for me, leading an unconventional life means that:
- I might not work at a nine to five job
- I might be in debt
- I might not have an RRSP, 401K or other type(s) of retirement savings
- I might not have children
- I might not own a house
- I might not own a car
- I might not be a perfect employee, wife, daughter, friend, lover
- I might not live close to “home”
- I might not follow traditional rules of employment, marriage, and friendship
- I might offend you
- I might not make what appears to be the “right” or “rational” choice
- I might seem confusing or emotional or intense or self-absorbed
- I might ignore your advice and/or wishes for me
- I might scare you
- I might write poetry instead of whitepapers, dance instead of obey, and scream in the face of all that is untrue
- I might not fit into the mold that you have set for me
- I might inspire you to grow in ways that make you uncomfortable
- I might ask you to love me even though you receive little, if any, conventional rewards for this love
- I might ask you to believe in me when there seems to be no logical reason to do so
- I might not wear the coolest clothes or have the fanciest gadgets
- I might be poor (on the outside)
- I might be beautiful, ugly, erotic, frigid, light, dark, loving, and fierce all at the same time
- I might not look how you want me to look or dress how you want me to dress
- I might disappoint you
- I might take risks that make you uncomfortable
I will take risks that make me uncomfortable. I know that those of you who love Me and know Me, Soul to Soul, will accept these Truths without question. And, to be frank, the rest of you do not belong in my life and will eventually fade away. This doesn’t mean that I’m “better” than you, or somehow spiritually superior. It means that we have learned what we needed to learn from each other, and now we can move on.
I am living an unconventional life. On purpose. I need to admit this to myself on a deep level in order to do what I’m meant to do in this world.
If you care for me, here is what I ask in return: Please don’t worry about me, tell me that I’m being foolish or romantic, or try to talk me out of my decisions. Trust me. Reach deep inside of yourself, to the True part of you that Knows the True part of me, and you will see that I don’t make decisions lightly. I make decisions from a place of Soul, not from a place of societal standards. I’m not going to join a cult or jump off a bridge or do anything dangerous or harmful. I am committed to operating from a place of Love, embodying Love on this planet, and shining my Light so that others aren’t afraid to do the same. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this is not only a letter to my friends, family, and others who care about me. This is a letter to my small self (and your small self). With this post I am publicly declaring that, as much as possible, I intend to live my life based on my True Self. My Soul. The part of me that might not fit in externally, but that has a deeper Home inside of me. A place where it always belongs and where every decision is the right decision because it brought me Here. Now. And it brought you here to read these words and feel them deep within your Truth. It doesn’t matter how our lives look on the outside. What matters is inside. What matters is Truth, Authenticity, and Love. And so, with this letter I release all that is untrue, inauthentic, and fearful. I trust that my life, whether conventional or not, will serve as an inspiration to others. I trust that you and I are doing a divine dance in this moment to propel each other forward in accessing our Souls. I release all else. I allow the façade to fade away. I reveal my Truth (and yours). Are you living an unconventional life? Share loudly and proudly in the comments below!
Bethany Butzer, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, researcher, and yoga teacher who helps people create a life they love. Check out her book, The Antidepressant Antidote, follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and join her whole-self health revolution. If you’d like tips on how to create a life you love, plus some personal instruction from Bethany, check out her online course, Creating A Life You Love: Find Your Passion, Live Your Purpose and Create Financial Freedom.
Image courtesy of Hugo Kerr.