“It’s lonely to follow your bliss,” said Deb, a student in a recent workshop. “Say more,” I asked, trying not to salivate. I confess it’s a topic near and dear to my heart lately.

“I used to have all these friends. We’d eat, drink, and bitch about our lives. We’d tell stories of stupid co-workers, Cretan, evil bosses, you know,” she said. Of course, I remembered that. “Trading distressing stories like baseball cards– and suddenly, you have nothing ‘sexy’ to swap because you’re focused on your dreams now, not your setbacks,” I said. “Exactly,” said Deb. “But now I don’t have that camaraderie, because I’m not pissed off anymore. No one from my old life wants to hear how much fun I’m having. And, frankly, I don’t want to hear how much their lives don’t work.”

This is the “problem” with growing. Sometimes, in order to connect with yourself, you have to separate from what you’ve known. The aliveness of love will ruin your chances of stagnation. It will call you out. Success demands loss. Sometimes, we have to let go of waning definitions, circumstances, or relationships that no longer reflect us so that we can blossom wide.

When you Change your Situation, your Consciousness changes–So do your Relationships.

Of course, I’d had the same experience when I first left my demanding legal career. I didn’t know that I’d be walking into a peculiar time of loneliness. I lost my “water cooler friendships,” friendships of collective convenience—or the alliances around a shared resignation. When you change your situation, your consciousness changes, and so do your relationships.

You’re suddenly speaking a breathless new language. It’s not the language of blame, boredom, and bolted doors. It’s the language of self-responsibility, self-discovery, and possibility. You’re speaking in bursts of breezes and colors. Others look at you as though you have three heads. And you do. You have ten thousand heads. You have infinite possibilities.

That’s when it’s time to meet others “on the journey,” those who have walked out of convention and are living the gangly, unlabeled life of discovering their own love and genius. And I have good news for you. You may think you are all alone, but really, you are part of the progressive, thriving, growing movement of our times. There is a growing tribe of those of us who are daring to make conscious, creative, life-affirming choices. When I first found my wings, I found my connections and new best friends in workshops and support groups. You will too.

A New Vibration Demands New Integrity

And now I’m going through another transition in my life. I’m starting to succeed in my career in a new way—open another door into light. And, I’ve been shocked to discover, that this transition, again, has its fallout. Recently, I’ve had to walk away from a long-term friendship. For years, this person, I’ll call her Rachel, mostly supported me. She’d definitely be there to rally if I were weak. The “problem” was I’d grown strong, stronger than she felt like holding.

My successes bored her now, or, really, I suspect, unsettled and irked her. Perhaps unconsciously I became a representative of the life that she had wanted to have and didn’t have. When I was no longer the “underdog,” she stopped encouraging me, holding the fragile part of me in her warmth, and championing my progress. I found myself downplaying or hiding some of the good things going on in my life, protecting her from her own self judgment— and protecting myself from the sting of her rejection. I made this “work” for months. Really, if I’m honest with myself, this had been going on to a lesser degree, for years. But I wanted to hold on to the friendship. I loved her and “us.” And I consider myself a loyal true blue power friend.

But now I’m a loyal true blue power friend—to myself. I can’t live with sordid love. I don’t want anything less than the real deal. I have stepped into the light–again. And I’m honoring who I am, even when it hurts.

This is the thing you don’t realize about doing the work you love. It feels good. It feels so damn good that suddenly you start to realize what doesn’t feel goodaround you. The contrast becomes a beacon. It’s like when you start cleaning your house, or( having no direct, actual experience of this)– so I’m told. When one corner starts beaming, suddenly you behold, in unfortunate recognition, the downtrodden look of the rest of the room. You’re no longer blind to the dust, the piles, or the frayed chaos of the past that has nestled around you, under the radar, for so long. You’re no longer muzzy. Something has come alive in you and it detects every nuance of compromise in dignity. You have a new vibration. It commands a new integrity. If you want to stay white hot, you have to notice when you’re not.

I’d Rather Lose a Friend, than Lose Myself

So I’m moving on. I’m taking that love with me. I’m no longer looking for support where it’s not. I’m also not making myself wrong for wanting support. I don’t care how brilliant you are on stage, how many trophies line your walls, or how much money you sock away in investments, this I know. We are all fragile, especially if we’re courageous. Those of us who continue to grow, continue to step out onto new ledges. We continue to move beyond what we have known into the beckoning of uncertainty. Yes, I have my Beloved within. Yes I know I am safe at all times in this Universe. And yes, I finally love myself enough to want to be, at least in my inner circle, around people who want the best for me at all times. This isn’t narcissistic neediness, as my inner critic has sometimes roared in journals. This is self-respect.

So I’m clearing the space. I’m not reaching out to this individual anymore, even in times when I’m going through something I’d want to share. I’m opting for loneliness rather than smallness. I’d rather lose a friend, than lose myself. I’m doing inner house-cleaning, waving an emotional smudge stick, and, screw furniture placement, I’m opting for some relationship Feng shui.

This is real growth for me. In relationships, I’ve often chosen from scarcity. Decades ago, I stayed with a man for years who was frequently cheating on me, because I couldn’t bear to lose his charismatic attention. Later in life, I’ve lingered in relationships where I brought more energy and availability to the table. I’ve called it seeing someone’s potential. Or I’ve chalked it up to my spirituality, saying I was choosing to look past what someone couldn’t give me, to behold only the love instead. There was depth and wisdom in much of this. And now that overused strength feels like weakness. While I believe we are all equals in soul, we are not all equals in choices and experience. I’m going to recognize my own big heart, excellence and commitment to Spirit and moxie in this lifetime. It’s time to beckon some stallions.

And I take comfort in my experience. I’ve walked into the wilderness of expansion before, and found loving companions. I know the Universe has my back. I know the loved ones I already do have rejoice in my self-care.

And recently I found this quote from Lorraine Hansberry, the author of Raisin in the Sun, and the first African American woman playwright to ever have a play on Broadway. She said, “A woman who is willing to be herself and pursue her own potential runs not so much the risk of loneliness, as the challenge of exposure to more interesting men – and people in general.”

Bring it on.

Copyright © Tama Kieves  All rights reserved.

Tama J. Kieves is the bestselling author of THIS TIME I DANCE! Creating the Work You Love (How One Harvard Lawyer Left It All to Have It All!) and is a sought-after speaker and career coach who has helped thousands world-wide to discover and live their true work in the world. Visit her at www.ThisTimeIDance and sign up for free inspiration and support through her monthly e-newsletter or download her Free Transformational Report on “Finding Your Calling Now.”
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