I do my calculation quickly. I have been doing this over and over again for the past two weeks. I don’t know why I keep doing this because the result is the same every time. According to my calculation, my studio can only last for another month. If I can squeeze to pay for rent next month, and somehow make it through without going broke, I’d call it a miracle, but then, I was always a skeptic.
Severe storm warning was on all morning and afternoon till 10 pm. It looked like my yoga class in the country would have to be cancelled. According to the weather forecast, there would be a brief break before the next around of severe storm sweeps through the town between 5 and 6:30 pm. So I did cancel my yoga class, and instead headed to the chapel to meet the Lord. It was the Thursday Eucharistic Adoration day, my favorite time of the week, my weekly date with the Lord.
I was going to ask him for help about my business. Not for Him to help me generate more money for me to sustain it, but to help me make an executive decision. First off, I need to decide whether to keep it open or close. Second, I need to decide how much more sacrifice I am willing to make for this business if I do decide to stay open.
With those two issues, I went to the Lord. The entire town has lost power on this day so there was no light on inside the chapel. The candle lights lit up on the altar made the space feel especially sacred on this day. I started praying but for some reason, business was the last thing I wanted to pray about. My heart was filled with thoughts about the people that I love; my family, my friends, and the new guy I started seeing two months ago. I quickly scanned through my heart and prayed for everyone God has put in my heart. When I got to M, the new guy, I noticed my words just vanishing, and instead, a simple smile surfaced on my face. That alone was a prayer enough. I was communicating to God about how happy the guy makes me feel. Before I knew it, I was thanking God deeply for bringing him into my life. He’s been such a gift to me.
Our first date together was exactly two month ago from that Thursday at the Adoration. We have been together for two months, but we both feel like we have known each other forever. There was that unmistakable initial recognition of each other, and once we have made that deeper connection, the rest was easy. We enjoyed each other’s companion, maybe a little too madly, and we made sure to maintain the good feelings we have for each other by going biking together, a little picnic at the park, or a romanic dinner once in a while, and doing phone chats when we are apart. Over time we fell in love, though I cannot pinpoint exactly at what point we started loving each other. The tipping point came and went, and before we knew it, we were two explorers on the land of love, joy and happiness.
Ironically, it was also about two months ago that I decided to keep the business open. I realize that I have made many executive decisions back then. One day I was closing the business. I notified all the artists that I will no longer be in business and they will have to remove their works from my studio. Then a week later, I decided to keep it open. I had different plans this time. Some yoga classes, and maybe some art classes and workshops on the weekends. I focused on developing my yoga studio within my business establishment, while giving my attention to a photography workshop led by a local photographer. It was something I’ve always wanted to do. But now my attention was split into all directions, and once I started advertising and marketing the workshop, again, I started to feel self-conscious, skeptical, and full of doubts and fear. My head was full of “What if no one signs up and this ends up as a big joke? What if I fail?” The questions that still fill my heart and mind every time I sit on my yoga mat waiting for the students that might arrive and might not.
As I was sitting in the chapel the Lord has shown me something that I couldn’t see before. I saw the two most recent relationships I have in my life: one with my business, and the other with M. Those two appeared right in front of my mind’s eye as two parallel paths that go hand in hand. The two paths opened up at the same time, moving at a very different pace. M and I progressed at a very fast pace. By the time we started seeing each other for a month, we knew we have found a very compatible match that might entail a very high hope for the future. If we were two business put together, we would make a very successful joint venture, bright promises of hope and positive daily outcomes to keep us motivated.
But my business was a different story. There were more days that I didn’t have any kind of activity, than the days that I did. Even on the days that had some kind of activity, I only had a few people circulating my business during that one hour I was open for my yoga class. The date for the photography workshop is quickly approaching, but no one has signed up for it yet. My fear is that I will disappoint Marsha, the photographer. While my business life is coursing through doubts and fears, disappointments and hopelessness, my money is running out, and I am almost at the place-once again- where I will be stuck in between the two executive decisions: Do I stay open or close?
In love, I dived in without any fear. I was committed fully, being present, giving my all, until my heart gave out soon, and decided on its own before my knowledge that it will just dive into the deep ocean of love. But in business, I had my daily fear, and uncertainty. I didn’t commit myself to it entirely. I cannot say that I gave it my heart and soul. And that’s a shameful thing because when I opened up this business, my heart was full of the desire to serve the Lord through this work.
By the time I left the chapel I was able to drop one issue. Whether to close down the business or leave it open isn’t even a consideration at this time. I should have dropped that issue long ago when I first decided to open my own business. All I need to decide is whether to commit myself to my business with more sincerity, or continue to fail. And I cannot help but ask myself: why is it so hard for me to commit to my work and business when it was so easy to commit to my new found loving relationship with M? To me, love comes naturally and I do not fear the outcome. But when it comes to building up my career and a business, I have no idea how to make it happen. I don’t know how to commit. I am simply too afraid of failing and losing.
By the time I left the chapel, I had the answer form the Lord. He was telling me to do it as I did with love. Do all things including running my business with pure love and all will be well. When you do things from the place of love, things will be Just as natural and enjoyable as being in a loving relationship with the person you care about. So again, with that reminder of love from the Lord, I chose to begin again. It’s like I am opening up my business all over again, starting fresh from scratch.
This morning, I made my first call since my last exhibit to a local artist who lives just down the road from my studio. I am taking another big step for my second exhibit, and despite the lingering fear like a bad old habit kicking in, I make a big jump and dive into the ocean of the unknown again. And I must keep diving again and again until the day I master the art of fearless diving.