The importance of financial security was beat into my skull through the constant verbal concerns expressed during my upbringing. This was somewhat concerning given the fact that I had never been able to pull off good grades in school. I was stuck in an in between land, which I feel most of us inhabit, for a good portion of my life thus far. Fear drilled its way into my decision making and found a way to put up a wall. Thank God I am good at climbing because I’ve spent a lot of my time sitting on top of it and jumping from one side to the other.
The first time I jumped over it was during my only year of college. Both my parents are in dental professions and I was lured into applying for Dental Assisting school in order to have some certainty and create a stable future. I was sitting in orientation, among a crowd of women as the presenter listed off the things we would need for school. One of the things on the list was Scrubs and where to find them online. As the presenter scrolled through the online store my mind only thought about one thing; what would be the most crazy and unique patterned scrubs I could buy? About 10 minutes later, and only 20 minutes into the 2 hour presentation, I stood up and walked out. The doors opened and flooded me with fresh air and light. I took a deep breath, the kind you take when you know you’re in the right place, the kind that contains a smile in it and sometimes joyful tears. I’ve always been braver than I give myself credit for. I left the possibility of a secure job behind and continued into the unknown.
A lot of us forget to look back at ourselves as a young child, when we were most free, and see what was there. I was obsessed with dress up, wrestling, starting clubs with other kids where I was the leader, singing, dancing, posing, creating space with decorations, being creative in all ways, spending lots of time alone with my imagination, analyzing my emotions and other people (yes, I remember doing this from as early as 6 years old). But what do those things tell me about what I should do now? They tell me so many things. They tell me I wasn’t meant to be a Dental Assistant, that’s FOR SURE. They tell me that my concern has never been about money or even stability, they tell me that I enjoy leading, performing and connecting emotionally, that is my currency first and foremost, without that all the money in the world wouldn’t satisfy me.
But hey, I am also realistic, and I do need money to survive. So what are legitimate jobs for me? Well, I went on a little journey after that fateful day in Dental Assisting Orientation. I started with the Floral Design Institute. An obvious choice for my creativity and visual mind. Once I started Forest & Field (now 7 years ago!) I also got this emotional fix. I was working with couples on their weddings and getting to hear a lot of their stories as well. Sometimes I felt like I was coaching them through certain aspects of planning in a very emotional way. Unfortunately, I was in an interesting time of life where I was incredibly concerned with how every action I took affected the world. It was stifling, but I was learning. This meant that I felt guilty about floral design because it didn’t “help” the world in the epic way I desired. (more on that later)
The next road I took was toward health. For a few years I studied Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Therapy. As I’ve mentioned in my other posts, I came down with allergies for a whole year that debilitated me. Ultimately my road into health was because I wanted my life back. Although, after completing both courses I felt a little lost again. My mind has always been so creatively driven that even the thought of being a Nutritional Therapist and Herbalist triggered me back to the moment I walked out those doors at Orientation. Yet this time it was different. I was SO thankful for the knowledge because it saved me. It healed me. But I was scared to peg myself in an area that I didn’t fully feel fulfilled. The more people reached out to me for advice the more I pulled away. I haven’t shared this information with anyone but Johnny, but I feel it’s important to mention, and here’s why.
Sometimes we think we have to do something just because we said we would or we spent a lot of time or money on it. This is no way to live life. Thankfully, I think I’ve found a way to re-define it for myself so I don’t fully have to let it go.
This past year has been the most eye-opening for Johnny and I. We’ve opened ourselves up to a vulnerability and a truth that we ignored in the past. We’ve been blunt and honest about our life, our circumstances, our marriage and our direction. It’s been REALLY hard and REALLY good. We realized that some of his childhood coping mechanisms had put us into some hard places. And it’s like we both finally woke up. We spent so much time living for other people and trying to “save the world” that we lost ourselves. Sometimes it’s not about doing what is “right” or having a “servant's heart” it’s about being true to who you are and giving yourself grace and freedom. When I allowed myself that I became more healthy and able to love and give to others out of that well I dug within me. When we “try” to serve others and be compassionate it can actually steal the truth and love within us, making us resentful and ultimately thwart the vision that we were trying to accomplish in the first place.
I learned that I need to be ME. That was the best person I could be for the world. This whole year has been re-defining that using my childhood self and journey to understand what it is that I desire. Honestly, it’s really easy when you’re just open and real. Ask someone who has had a few beers what it is that they truly want, they may say something completely different than if they were sober. How can we let down our guards and be real with ourselves sans intoxication? If you’ve been feeling unfulfilled then you’re probably not embodying your truest expression of self.
In order to bring the story full circle, I’d like to share where I’m at right now. For so long I’ve dabbled in many things, it’s time I create a more direct vision. I am not tossing aside any of my training, I am just specializing. First off, I am allowing myself to love Floral Design and use it as a way to transform a space and create a feeling, like I’ve always desired. I think I got worn out on doing weddings that weren’t fulfilling me creatively and were repetitious, this year I have the opportunity to create installations and epic art while bringing the couples story and desires into their wedding. I also have found ways to meet my need to contribute through making medicine out of arrangements, donating to charities and doing flower graffiti around Portland with the leftovers.
As far as the health aspect goes, I enjoy having nutrition and herb knowledge for my own life, family and friends across the board, but I really need to focus on something specific in practice. I started getting overwhelmed by it and knew that I wasn’t in the right place. This is where I’d like to officially announce my new direction (which is always subject to change). I will be focusing on mood and emotions. This means digestion will still be a key focus due to its huge impact on emotional well being and function, but I’ll be diving into more mood specific food and herbs in order to support people while also supporting them emotionally through my Strategic Intervention Coaching. Feel free to continue asking me questions about health, but know that I am switching gears in that arena. On top of all that Johnny and I are heavily focusing on couples and marriage coaching. Healthy marriages are the backbone of a family and we are incredibly passionate about this life choice.
I know this is the right direction because it feels deeply right. It feels in line with my true self, and there is no better place to be. Fore more on being yourself check out my most recent Vlog below!
Be Wild. Be Well.
Bailey Patrice & Jonathan David