Íse Murphy

Knowing what we don't want

I believe listening to the body is the only way to find our unique path. Recently, that meant reflecting on a career I built over seventeen years and noticing my body reacting with ick whenever I thought about marketing my work, writing another research article, or seeking roles that were the bedrock of my business. This collapsing tower all began when I realised earlier this year that 90% of the work I had agreed to do in 2024 was unpaid, and almost all of it for two sister member organisations.

I decided to set a boundary. As I contacted the chairpeople informing them of my decision to step back, I found myself writing an email stating I was pulling out completely and not even renewing my membership.

I went from hosting conferences, monthly networking meetings, chairing panels and writing articles - to quitting.

Since then I have contemplated returning many times, even as a member, as these organisations represented the niche work I did. Each time my body retched. It was not correct for me to go back, and as time progresses and I process the decision, I understand why.

I realised that I invested far more energy into these organisations and my career than I received. Nothing seemed to gain traction, nothing flowed. I noticed I only ever got attention for my work when I gave it away for free. I only seemed to get asked to be involved in related projects, when it was unpaid. When I decided to no longer give away my work for free, a some paid work came in, but the trickle continued. The projects that did come in were related to teaching and mentoring and not consultancy.

I started to gain clarity. I finally asked if the universe was guiding me the entire time to actually reconsider my path?

What I found in correlation with this newfound clarity was confusion. I became confused that I no longer found excitement or energy for the work I spent years, money and effort to train in, and so what was left? The identity I created was falling away and nothing yet was taking its place. This confusion panicked my mind as it could not handle the void (why else is this world filled with distraction, addiction and Taylor Swift?).

Every time I thought about going back my body reacted. No.

What was I going to do now if I can’t go back?

This space is unsettling, yet I find solace in remembering that we are not in control of this life. We are channels, passengers, here for the ride and playing out our role on stage. The only thing I can do in the midst of this unknowing is be present and move with the flow as it meanders away from the old path.

When I can ground into my body, I remember that this situation is correct for me, it is happening for a reason and I am safe. The confusion dissipates as I feel connected to a bigger picture. I know the fear of “what will I do? How will I earn money?” arises when I disconnect from my body and float about in my mind. The anxiety alerts me to the ego being in charge, the “shoulds” brings my attention to come back into command.

Can I let go of it all? Can I clean the slate? Am I willing to let go of a perceived security blanket that is not serving me at all, and be open to what may be.

Can I be brave?

Can I be radical and follow my body?

In this time of waiting, I know it is important to keep the mind healthily engaged so it doesn’t take us on a suffering ride of anxiety. We can do this by spending time in activities that bring us joy.

It may sound simple but there is nothing frivolous about what brings us joy. Have we ever paused to enquire why something brings us joy? I believe it is because we were designed to love it. Some of us love painting, others love dancing, others love writing. It didn’t happen by chance. It happened because were designed to love them. It’s ironic then how as society we are shamed for spending time doing things we love. I think the only reason the shame exists is because those who are judging are the very ones who are unable to give themselves permission to play.

How do pups learn? Play. How do children learn? Play. How do we as adults bring ourselves back to our frequency? Play. By spending time doing what brings us joy lifts our energy, creates space and polishes our frequency, allowing us to attract what is correct for us. We are always attracting, and by being in light playful energy allows us to attract what is good for us. The feeling we get when we play; the aliveness, the larger than life feeling - that is our true nature. I guess Spirit, or God, may be perplexed why it was so easy to recognise the way back to our paths, but we somehow made ourselves believe it was the way of sin, not holiness. How ironic this narrative stemmed from religion.

So for now, as it all falls away, I recognise what I no longer have the energy for, what feels like an uphill battle, and what my body pulls back from. This makes no sense to my mind as it scatters for explanation and so it is my responsibility to engage my mind in play as the universal chess board makes its next move. So I am here, writing this post.

I do not know where I am being led, but I know I am going in the right direction. This is all part of the adventure. If we knew where we were going, I doubt it would be much fun. I know my body knows what is correct for me and I need to honour her. If she is pulling away from this career, then that is what I must do. Nature abhors a vacuum and it is only when we create space from what cluttered our life, do we allow for something better to enter.

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