M.A.Sc. (Life)

So what am I up to?  Many things.  One thing.

You know how you tend to have those two or three cyclical conversations with people, the kind that you have every few weeks or months that are all about the same thing?  One of mine is all about “Jody, you’re doing too much.  You need to focus on one or two things.”  Every few months, someone close to me will say this to me.

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I’ve heard the observation – that I’m spread too thin, that I leave a lot of things unfinished or always in progress, that this pace will drain my energy – and I’ve experienced some real consequences from that kind of activity, mostly in terms of burnout and dejection.  Earlier this week, I actually did burn out, physically.  I was tired after an intense weekend seminar course in Toronto and, combined with Daylights Savings Time kicking in again, my body decided to go on strike and take me out of the game for one morning before work.  That’s my story.

I had the burnout, but not the dejection.  In fact, I haven’t been nearly this energized, mentally and spiritually, in a very long time, and in terms of the particular flavour of this energy, I’ve never felt this way before.

So what all am I doing?  First, I work in logistics as a bilingual specialist, Monday to Friday, full days with a bit of overtime here and there.  I go to the gym at least two to three times a week for a good one-and-a-half to two hours per session.  I am taking an online travel writing course through Great Escapes Publishing, adding to my portfolio of writing services.  I work for three hours every Sunday on my novel “Overlife”.  I joined a business networking group that meets on Wednesday mornings with a general aim to help build Liberati Press. Beyond that, I now find myself serving as a life coach for a few individuals here and there as part of my commitment to transform those in my environment, and I’m creating a vibrant dynamic in my own family here at home.

And I’m taking courses at Landmark Toronto, heading downtown every Tuesday night to deepen the distinctions and practices that I acquired both at the Forum and recently at the Advanced Course this past weekend.    In April, I will complete my Seminar series and begin the Self-Expression and Leadership Program (SELP) from Landmark, which will see the creation and execution of a project in the community, and that will last four months.

Yep, I’ve been busy.  But here’s the thing: there’s not a single thing I will drop from this list.  Nothing I’m doing is superfluous as far as I’m concerned, though it’s interesting to hear the feedback from the people in the different parts of my life.  The writers in my life think I should drop Landmark and focus on “Overlife”.  My parents think I should drop Liberati for now and focus on the day job until all of my debts are paid off.  My Landmark friends are relatively new, so they haven’t said anything so far, but I’m sure I’ll get some insights from them as they get to know me better.  Some of my Phidelt brothers have supported my own personal development, but can’t help themselves when it comes to voicing their skepticism on Liberati, Landmark, and even my love of all things Tony Robbins.

I acknowledge and respect everyone for their interest in my success.  I really am lucky to have these great individuals around me and their love and support, but in the end, almost none of them have to live with the consequences of my choices and any lapse in integrity with my own vision.

So I choose everything that I do.  I won’t drop anything. But I can’t remember the last time I was this busy….

Actually, that’s a lie.  There was a time I was this busy with many activities I could have dropped, but didn’t. That was University.

The storytelling part of my brain that likes to create comparisons where they  don’t already exist absolutely loves this concept.  At McMaster, I remember at one point I was living in an apartment with my girlfriend, working on a full course load in History, English, and Political Science, serving as Vice President of a Fraternity chapter, serving as a policy advisor for a political club, writing two weekly columns for the campus newspaper, going to the gym, and working a part-time job on weekends.   And that’s not to mention going to parties, social nights, date nights with my girlfriend, and hangouts with friends.

When you’re in University, very few people will question the fundamentals of how busy you are.  That’s because it’s understood that  if you’re really committed, University requires you to do a lot of things at once that you ordinarily wouldn’t do, or see as a single body of work divided into distinct parts.

Obviously, I’m not in University now, but that doesn’t mean I’m not engaged in higher education.  I’m pursuing a Masters of Arts and Science in my own life.  My life is an Art in the way I create a broad vision for my future from nothing but my imagination, and then live into it now.  My life is a Science in the way I distinguish and action the particular, reliable, and practical methods that create the specific, measurable results that I desire.

landmarktorontocompletionLandmark is at the centre of this curriculum.  I look back on the older entry from not too long ago about my skepticism about the group and chuckle a little bit: that was written by someone who was a much smaller person than the being behind the words you’re reading now. Landmark’s experiential learning practice that forces me to act on the library of personal growth insights that I’ve internalized over the years has proven transformational, and in a remarkably short time.

Landmark has helped me breathe new life into my manuscript “Overlife”, inspired the Manifesto of the Liberati, shown me the possibility that the Great Escapes travel writing course holds, has opened me up to a way of being powerful right now, and has done more for me in two months than nearly all of the self-help I’ve studied in the past nine years.  I could do a whole insightful entry on my experiences at Landmark alone, but that’s for another time.

For now, I consider myself a privileged grad student, happily engaged in the good work of the school of Life, not yet a full master, but well on my way.

When you look at my activities separately, it does seem like a lot, but they are all united by that purpose: creating a life I want to live, and no longer merely waiting for life to adapt to me.

Check back a month from now, if not sooner, for my next update.

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