the whale in my dream

Last night I had the strangest dream … not on my way to China, not in a little rowboat to find ya.  Then again, maybe I was.

Either way, I was on this boat, and this whale appeared. He created a huge wake that rocked the boat, and it scared me a bit. Then, I somehow ended up on a paddleboard. I was having the best time as it swam around me, I rode the waves it created and I felt comforted by its presence. When I woke up, I wondered what the whale was here to tell me.

I shared this dream with an old friend over lunch. He raised an eyebrow, smiled, and quickly changed the subject. My almost published book and the effort to finish, launch, and promote.   A coaching practice to grow and develop along with seminars, workshops, and keynotes. An unexpected opportunity surfaced to launch one of my longer-term goals much sooner than I had anticipated. A very full plate, and I am not talking about my salad.

I found myself feeling like I did when I was on the boat in my dream. The fear and anxiety as the boat rocked became very real to me. It wasn’t the enormity of the tasks in front of me. It wasn’t the unknown of what could happen that was shaking me. It was trust in myself that I could manage all of this without slipping. Old habits, letting an unhealthy driver take over. Fear that the workaholic that lives within me would come out from hiding.

I am a workaholic. It’s a tricky addiction. To many, it’s an acceptable addiction. We are encouraged, recognized, and rewarded for the commitment and great sacrifice we make in the name of our careers, our work. Yet, to addicts, like me, it’s nothing close to this. Work is something I did to fill an emotional void in my life. In these recent months, I have come to understand exactly how I came to be a workaholic. I have unhinged myself from many destructive patterns with respect to work. It hasn’t been easy. I am very new in my confidence that I am living a balanced, holistic approach to life.

This addiction is complex, complicated, and challenging.   Its impact on individuals, businesses, and society is significant and real. I intend to devote a great deal of time in conversation to this matter. Consider this my introduction. There’s a lot to talk about here.

I have accepted that this addiction will live in my shadow forever. Not too long ago, I would have been manic about this workload. Fixated on how I fill an empty part of my life - maybe like an alcoholic with a drink or a bulimic with food. Yet today, I sat outside for a few minutes and enjoyed the beautiful summer day. My mind was busy, but settled. My spirit excited, but serene. Progress.