This weekend Bob and I went to dinner at a little restaurant off island. The proprietor greeted us when we walked in the door of what appeared to be her house – a funky bungalow with fat orange squashes growing around the porch and a push lawnmower abandoned in the grass. She took my hands and smiled at me, “I’m so glad you’re here.” Then she handed us a carafe of water and water glasses to take outside to our table. “We’re short staffed tonight. Go make yourself at home.”
It was one of those rare Pacific Northwest evenings where you can sit outside – in your parka but still outside – and the late summer light spills beauty over everything, and you love your man, and you talk about the future, what kind of future you really want. So that may have been part of it, but I think it all started with the love in this restaurant. The realness. We joked with the other couples, sitting in their mismatched chairs, got to to know our waitress, ate fresh food alive with flavor. At the end of our evening, the sun low in the clear sky, the owner came to give us our check. She fumbled with her iPad. “I apologize but we just started doing checks and I don’t really know how to do it yet. We’ve been pay-what-you-like until the liquor board made us start accounting for drinks sold.” She shrugged. “We’re trying to find a way back to pay-what-you-like that will keep the board happy. We like it so much more.”
You know those moments in your life when your truer path shows up yet again? Maybe you shiver or sit up straighter, like me, or start giggling. Maybe you cry softly. Or simply nod. Oh, I get it.
Here’s what I realized getting our restaurant check: my “love the world into wholeness” self wants to make my work as available to as many as possible. But my “business gal” self measures her success by how much money she earns. And my business gal self, she’s been LOUD lately.
Don’t get me wrong, it is true for me that I love being smart about business. I’m damn proud that I’ve been self-employed for 25 years and supported myself and, for many years, my family with what I earned. (Bob and I split our expenses now and we earn about the same.) I’m stubbornly proud I’ve never had a partner hidden in the wings, making my success more possible because he supported me so I could pour everything I made into business development or a publicist, or at least know my mortgage and health insurance was covered. I’m proud I’ve struggled to learn how to talk about my work in clear ways.
And that woman, that restaurant, that moment of love and pay-what-you-like? That is equally true for me, and that part of me can get squelched because of my vague fear of not having enough. Or more specifically, my story that I am not as worthwhile if I’m not living a glamorous, curated-on-Instagram life or not earning a half a million dollars. Silly, a bit sad, but true.
I get seduced by the vague cultural story of “more more more” overlaid with the internet’s story that doing what you love is fine as long as it also makes you rich and internet famous, with great shoes, influential friends, and a cute butt.
Then there is that moment in the restaurant, feeling the love, the late summer sun lighting up the flowers on the table. The knowledge that wholeness and living true is pointing me to make space for that.
The upshot was I came home, emailed Amber, and we changed the price of the Life Navigation Course or rather, added two additional prices. Pick the one that works for you. Same course, same level of attention, same experience. Pay what you like.
And yes, may be that “pay what you like” might still be more than you can bear. Here’s my proposal: you really, really want to take the course and you really truly can’t afford it? Write me and tell me: when will you listen to the classes? How ready are you to apply the concepts? How crazy is your life right now? Do you really have time? If we get too many of these emails, we might have to say “sorry, overwhelmed, no can do.” I won’t try to take care of everybody nor will I give more than a few spots away. I believe in an exchange of money for my great work (no trades of any kind, sorry it takes too much admin time to manage).
Here is what I’m learning about navigating my life – it reveals itself if I patiently listen to all of me, if I walk away from shoulds and comparisons, and if I’m willing, to paraphrase William Stafford writes, let my fear take me into myself and bless me and keep me.
And in the end, it’s all a messy experiment and one I am privileged to share with you.
P.S. Hey, if you missed the Life Navigation Primer call yesterday, not to worry as we posted a lovely excerpt right here so you can listen in.