My Jam is to help people lead more fulfilling lives by finding their own Jam. Jam is a euphemism for applying our passions to our skills. I launched my site, liveyourjam.com, which is dedicated to helping others Live their Jam in August of this year. I set out with a business plan, key milestones, and heaps of enthusiasm.
The launch of Live Your Jam coincided with my 49th birthday. And, like many other women my age, menopause snuck up on me with the stealth of a Prius. Almost overnight, I found myself in hot-flash palooza. Days were bad; nighttime was terrible. Fitbit shared I was averaging about four hours of sleep a night. After some dietary changes and support from my friend from my youth, Estrogen, I was able to get back on track. But, it took a few months.
Just when I got my mojo back and regulated my hormones and temps, I got the stomach flu. Twelve days, two doctor visits, and one trip to the ER later — tests revealed it was not the flu, but a bacterial infection. I had lost weight and time. Past experience taught that I’d gain back the weight. But, I was really frustrated about the lost time.
It’s at this point in my story that I wonder if it’s over-sharing to talk about The Ladder. The one I fell off of in the garage. Common sense would say that I shouldn’t have been on The Ladder due to my weakened state post-infection. But, I was feeling panicked about all the lost time and needed to regain some control. So, why not clean out some crap in the garage?
The Ladder left me badly bruised, but was kind enough to remind me that I should not resume full speed as quickly as I might like. If the Ladder had a voice, I imagined it was silky and throaty, like the sage poet Maya Angelou, saying, “Slow your ass down, girl.”
More prone to action than reflection, I was slowly getting the hint. I had too much on my plate. As Madeline Kahn’s Blazing Saddles character, Lili Von Shtupp put it so, elegantly, Let’s face it, I was pooped! Looking back, it seems obvious that I was over-subscribed. I run a busy consulting practice, have two young boys, a husband, five chickens, two cats and a dog. All the while trying to hit all my milestones for Live Your Jam.
A guiding principle of Living Your Jam is not to make your Jam about a job or money. In short, keep your day job or don’t burden your Jam with your survival needs. You’ll stifle your Jam and it won’t spread. So, I was trying not to kill the creative aspiration of Live Your Jam by keeping my day job. But, I realized it wasn’t tenable to do both. So, I learned another guiding principal of Jam, you can’t force your Jam. Living your Jam is a balancing act of introspection and action. The answers to what makes a meaningful life are not found outside of us. And, if we trap ourselves in busy-ness, rigid milestones and goals, our Jam will become elusive.
I’ve made some changes. I’m taking a three-month hiatus from my consulting practice. I’m going to keep a small amount of coaching clients to meet my financial obligations. We found a lovely farm close by to take our dear chickens.
As I reflect on the past five months, I am reminded that each of us is on our own personal, sacred journey in this lifetime. If we listen to our inner wisdom, and follow our inner guidance, we can explore what is essential for our well-being. What’s essential for my well being right now is to reduce my load and allow my Jam to guide my pace.
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