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Friday, February 21, 2014

Update on the Huge Foolish Project...

So nearly 18 months ago I left a high-status tenured philosophy professorship to do more important work in the world. I gave up the financial stability, the status, and the predictability of my position, moved three thousand miles cross country and proceeded to expand my teaching and speaking career beyond the academy and to focus my energies more on art and spirituality.

I have decided to make contributing to the ongoing planetary shift in consciousness my number one focus and to refuse to limit the audience of my work to any particular community or geographical region. I focus on social justice as a way to teach love. I bring people into dialogues across difference in order to teach oneness. I employ both philosophy and poetry/rationality and beauty/thoughts and emotions in my work in order to reach people's hearts as well as their minds. I am engaged in what others might see as a "huge and foolish project". How has it gone?

I have spent the better part of the last year and a half on the road, performing poetry at universities, coffee shops, and bars, giving philosophy keynotes at conferences, setting up tribal archives, teaching workshops, tutoring children, and writing books, poems, and articles. It has been fun and exciting and rewarding...and challenging.

I have had to live on a restricted budget, have had to forego medical care, have had to follow an altered diet of inexpensive food,  had to sometimes live in uncomfortable lodgings, have had to spend monies I had saved for retirement, have had to follow an unpredictable schedule. In short, my decision to follow my dream has not been a convenient one. Nor has it been an easy one.

But I have remained persistent and I have been creative. During the last two years, I developed three new businesses: Mixed Messages Productions (public speaking, performance, and workshops), Sovereign Wisdom Consulting Services (Archival Planning, Curriculum Development, and Policy Writing) and Jennifer Lisa Vest, Medical Intuitive (Energy Healing Services).

First-time Entrepreneurs like myself often find that the money ebbs and flows. The hustle is constant. Work time is all the time. There are a lot of unknowns. Organizations do not always honor their contracts with independent contractors, marketing tools that worked last month do not always work this month. Supply and Demand is in constant flux and even the shape of our dreams have a way of morphing, expanding, and contracting even as we are following them.

And then there is doubt...There are always plenty of people out there ready and waiting for an opportunity to tell you that what you are doing is crazy, impractical, foolish,  or doomed to failure. It is easy to begin to doubt, to allow the doubts of others to creep into our own thinking.

I have sometimes doubted my decision. Still...

I meditate daily. I ask for help. I try to look for signs. I trust. I hope. I try to get out of my own way. I listen to advice. I try to continually better myself. I do service. I am grateful. I remind myself why I chose this life. I refuse to be a victim. I focus on the positive. I spend time  with positive, spiritually-minded people. And I keep writing. I have faith in my vision. I believe in the integrity of my huge foolish project.

I don't worry. I trust that one day the money will come. I will sell lots of CDS. I will get consistently well-paying gigs. I will write and speak and teach without worrying about how to pay my bills. I will live in my own comfortable house and eat a variety of delicious foods of my choosing. And most importantly, I will inspire and heal and help many people with my art.

Because my huge foolish project isn't really that foolish...it is  necessary.
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