Leaning In and The Shift are two phrases I hear a lot these days, but don’t seem to have much use for them in conversation. I see leaning in written into essays about women working their way into occupational spaces traditionally held by men. There seems to be a sort of relinquishing of self that comes with it. It’s as if she has to give something up in order to gain something else. Over the long haul, that maybe true. The shift sits in my head and gets rattled around. Is it like an awakening? or is it more of an event where things are falling into place around you? Where do these two come together? Can a person lean into new territory and suddenly feel a shift? How much of what I do determines when that shift occurs? And how much leaning in is necessary?
I always tell people who are contemplating a big move, a big change in life to accept no negative input where following a dream is concerned. There really is no need to chew away at the possibilities of anything. Anything is possible. There might be consequences to making big changes, but some of them are worth it. In the end, if you don’t make changes things just stay the same and you will blame yourself for not at least leaning that way.
Leaning in might be as subtle as speaking your ideas. If there is any truth to the idea that you can vibe something to happen, there you go. But perhaps it is more than that. Leaning in , thinking about something and then putting yourself in the path of that change is where the shift occurs. It’s about people. There’s no magic in the event…..someone steps into your path, senses you are leaning and then…..there’s a shift.
Wait for it…..
This past decade ,as an era, will come to a close in the next year. It has been 9 years since my (adoptive) mom passed. We didn’t cover the difficult topics that should have. It was a choice, but when someone is in their dying time, it isn’t always the right time to talk. I would say there are things I would like to have known. But really, in a moment like that…a little peace and love is quite enough. One has to reach back and realize the hard work of communicating needed to have been done a long time ago. I can accept that and I really didn’t want my mom to go on feeling like we didn’t do life right. It was what it was and I am adept enough to find answers to my questions on my own. Part of my problem was not knowing what to ask. “Tell me everything! Who am I?” It took me this long to realize I need specific questions to ask if I want some answers. So I started a short list of specific questions. They get more detailed as you move down the list. The list begins with:
Who am I? What am I? I lived half a life thinking I was half Japanese and half Irish. My (adoptive) dad was clearly Irish and there was plenty of evidence in pictures and relatives I knew of to guarantee that lineage was true. While I didn’t know I was adopted , my mom and my birth mother share the same ethnicity, they are both Japanese. So I am logically visually the same. It is easy to see how believable the story of being adopted could be omitted and secreted.
In my grief for my mom’s rapid passing and perhaps in my recent realization that I probably won’t meet my birth mom ,I leaned into my Japanese half. Not knowing my ‘other’ half, it is specific enough to find answers and broad enough to be small discoveries that won’t overwhelm me. I joined a group of half Japanese people. We share the ethnic mix of having one Japanese parent and one ‘other’ parent. I’m rediscovering my first language in simple words for food and family life. At the same time, I am coming to understand my mom’s perspective, even if it is a very basic level. There in that group, I befriended a hafu who has a friend in the same town my birth mother is listed in public records as living in. I gave her a name and she said she would enquire. As it turns out, her friend’s mom doesn’t know her, but she has heard her name before.
I leaned in. With a DNA report, I can find some specific answers about my ethnicity. With someone crossing my path, I may receive some antecdotal stories about my birth mother. What has she done all these years? Does she cook really well? Does she like to bend metal into art? Is she drawn to certain colors that I love, too? Does my voice sound like hers?
In this decade, I have learned that I don’t have to jump into something and create a big change. It doesn’t have to be life changing to make a change. It can just be a slight movement and that will bring a shift. Everything will shift and how I look at it will as well.