Dear Imaginative Woman,
If you’re new here, welcome! For the next few weeks I’ll be telling you the story about how I decided to break free from my Dull Gray Cubicle job.
You can read all the posts in the series here:
Ok, on with the next installment...
I know society says there’s supposed to be an age when you stop reading Children's Literature and you only read Grownup Literature, but this age has never come for me.
In my world, a good story is a good story no matter what age group it's intended for.
This is how I found myself, a few years into my Dull Gray Cubicle job, reading The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame on a cold winter's afternoon.
At this point I had been promoted and was doing both project and database management.
These roles included higher level problem solving, which I enjoyed, but my soul was still dying on the inside from sitting in a cubicle everyday.
I felt lost and confused.
On this particular afternoon I decided to soothe myself by reading a children's book I had never read before.
The previous Christmas I had received a fancy hardcover edition of The Wind In The Willows. It had gold trim on the binding, deckled edges, and water color illustrations. All the good things.
I opened the book, listening to the lovely crispness of the binding being stretched for the first time, and then I dove headlong into the story.
The Mole was in his underground home doing spring cleaning.
He was hard at work, sweeping and dusting in the stifling air of his dark little tunnel. Then, a waft of spring air made its way in from above ground and went straight into Mole’s whiskers!
He inhaled the scent. Immediately, he threw down his broom and said “Hang spring cleaning!”
He ran outside, into life and nature, never to return to toil.
This was the exact right story at the exact right moment for me.
The description of Mole toiling away in the darkness was just how I felt at work - stifled and bored.
When the Mole raced out of his house I felt such a thrill of excitement I knew that was what I needed to do too.
Best of all, the story made me remember a wonderful spring day that happened before I ever worked in a DGC (Dull Gray Cubicle).
A kindred spirit friend and I went on a walk down a country lane, dressed in fancy clothes and saying hilarious things that almost made us pee our pants a million times.
It had been a long winter, and we were giddy from all the green glory surrounding us.
The luscious memory of that moment came back to me in a flash.
I remembered what it was like to be me back then: alive, full of wonder, thoroughly in love with life.
I wanted to feel connected like that again. I wanted to be the Emma who laughed her way down a country lane.
How had I gotten so far away from her?
Luckily (or magically) at that moment a thought came into my mind.
That particular kindred spirit friend used to tell me about The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.
This book is a 12 week course in creative recovery, but I didn't know that at that time.
All I remembered was this book had had a strong impact on my friend. It had changed her life, and I wanted my life to change.
I didn't wait another second. I called up my friend to ask her if she wanted to do the 12 week course together.
She said yes, and a couple months later we actually did it!!
And then nothing has been the same since.
Next week I'll tell you about what it was like to recover my soul while doing The Artist's Way, and how important coming back to myself was for finally deciding to leave my DGC.
P.S. Read Part 5 - How I Created Change By Sitting Still
P.S.S. I have a fun announcement! The other day I was thinking about how my very favorite place to play online is in Facebook Groups. I love running them and participating in them. And then I was like, wait, why don't I have a Facebook Group for The School of Wild Authenticity???
So, I created one. Escape Your Dull Gray Cubicle Job is the perfect group for you if you are an imaginative woman stuck in the trap of a DGC job, who craves the freedom and empowerment to come alive and do what you are meant to do. We'll be having so much fun over there! Come and join us!