Taking a Leap of Faith, Part 3: Relying on Rainfall (the Grace of G-d) for Sustenance

In my previous post, I discussed the auspicious nature of connecting with a dietitian who was involved in the same nutrition article as me, back when I was an outpatient pediatric dietitian in a hospital in the Bronx. Here I want to expand on another aspect of this “coincidence” or, more accurately, “G-d wink” (I don’t believe in coincidences).

As I continue to build up my nutrition private practice and apply to part-time nutrition jobs, I am experiencing what an entrepreneurial life feels like.

Having worked full time as an outpatient pediatric dietitian in a hospital clinic for the past six years, I had stability. I knew I would get a paycheck every two weeks, and I knew the approximate amount (there was slight variability based on the exact amount they took out for taxes, union, pension, etc).

Working for myself in my own private practice, I do not have a financial safety net. As I noticed when I was building up my private practice in NY this past year, I could spend tens of hours on distributing business cards, networking, and blogging—all for which I would be getting zero dollars. That is why I liked having a private practice on the side in NY, and why I am looking for additional part-time nutrition-related work now.

Having a private practice and owning your own business is in its very nature unpredictable. I remember those days as a kid when I would be thrilled to have a snow day and miss school, and, later on, I would hear that for my dad, that meant his patient show rate was pretty bad and he would incur a financial loss.

Having your own business is like being a farmer, even if your income is not at all crop- or food-related. Your sustenance depends on G-d. In the olden days, as evidenced in the Bible, and in particularly the second paragraph of the Shema prayer (taken from the book of Devarim aka Deuteronomy), the amount of rainfall would determine whether or not a farmer’s crops would be successful and give him income. And the amount of rainfall was dependent on G-d. That is how the prayer for dew and rain came about.

Today rainfall still impacts our crops and the income of farmers just as it always has, it’s just that our society is less agriculturally-focused and most people’s income is not tied to rainfall and crop success.

But that doesn’t mean that the model is any different. Being an entrepreneur means your income is dependent on forces outside yourself. It means having to ride the waves of uncertainty. It means being able to have faith during times of lull. And on the flip side, it means rejoicing to the utmost in times of success.

I think people have to have a strong stomach to be entrepreneurs. I don’t know how much of my profession will continue to be entrepreneurial, and how much will be a more structured salary-based job, but I do know that I am growing a lot by pursuing my private practice. It stretches me in a way that no 9-to-5 ever could. And when moments like this morning’s phone call happen and I receive opportunities, I open my mouth wide, tilt my head up toward the sky, and taste the sweet flavor of blessed rain. “If all the raindrops were networking opportunities and new clients, Oh what a rain it would be!…”

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Taking a Leap of Faith, Part 2: A Puzzle Pieced Together, Unbeknownst to Me

In my last blog post, I spoke about the leap of faith I took with moving to Atlanta.  Today I would like to relay a very special moment that I had, one that made me more confident in having taken that leap of faith.

Every time we visited this community in Atlanta, my heart sang. The people in the synagogue were so welcoming, the trees were so abundant, and I loved the meals, hikes, and conversations I shared with my cousins who live here. Something in my heart was pulling me to Atlanta. I felt that great things were waiting for me there, even though I didn’t know exactly what they were, and I had trepidation about the fact that neither my husband nor I had jobs there (I have my nutrition private practice here, but that takes a while to build up!).

Thank G-d, as I had hoped, we have been meeting more and more lovely, warm people in Atlanta, and enjoying the beautiful, healing nature—the park with hiking trails in our backyard (literally!), and the pool which allows me to finally once again swim on a regular basis!

But job hunting is never easy, and there have been days when I have felt less than hopeful.

Today I had one of the moments which injected me with hope. A positive connection that came completely out of the blue in the most unexpected of ways.

I was sorting through some nutrition and wellness papers to organize them into their respective file folders, when I came upon an article in which I was interviewed by WebMD. I was actually interviewed a second time by the same journalist two years later, and each time I was quite excited that I got to be published in a health and wellness magazine—a childhood dream of mine!

I had been interviewed as Jacobi Medical Center’s outpatient pediatric dietitian who helped to spearhead the community garden for the family weight management group I led. In seeing this article, I remembered that I had not yet emailed this journalist to let her know that I had left Jacobi and moved to Atlanta.

I decided that now was as good of a time as ever to shoot her an email and let her know that I was no longer at Jacobi to do these interviews. Then I thought, may as well call her first, since explaining it over the phone would be a much more effective way to reintroduce myself and catch her up.

I dialed her number and lo and behold she picked up! I reminded her of our previous connection and caught her up on my move. It turns out that the woman who did the recipe portion of the articles for which I was interviewed lives in Atlanta and is very well-connected. In fact, WebMD is based in Atlanta.

There is a saying regarding Joseph going down to Egypt that G-d gave the refuah (cure), before He gave the makah (affliction). I stared at a copy of the first WebMD article for which I was interviewed. The name of this woman, the dietitian who worked on the recipes for the article, was listed right below that of the journalist who interviewed me and authored the article.

In the spring of 2014, and then again in the summer of 2016, I was literally on the same page as a dietitian who would later serve as a resource for me in a city hundreds of miles away in which I didn’t even know I would one day be living.

No matter what comes of my connection with this dietitian in Atlanta, I am grateful.

It seems G-d knew all along where I would be headed, and He connected me more than 3 years ago to a source of assistance in this future reality.

Or another way to put it—it was at that time that G-d planted the seeds (pun very much intended, as these were interviews about vegetables we grew in the community garden ;)).

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On Taking a Leap of Faith: Our Move to Atlanta

Where we last left off, I was discussing my possible move to Atlanta and my related job search, as well as the emotions it evoked. Well, here we are, about 3 months later, at almost the end of July! Wow, how time has flown! Part of the reason why I haven’t written is because my husband and I did in fact move to Atlanta a month ago, and the packing, and unpacking, and more unpacking, has taken up a lot of my time and energy. Another reason, which is in fact the bigger reason, is because I have been blogging on my other, new blog dedicated to my second book on self-love and relationships.

In any case, this morning I write to you with a thorough update regarding my transition to Atlanta. I often tell people the reason why we moved to Atlanta from NY is for: a lower cost of living, in an area with a vibrant Jewish community, with warmer weather than NY. Atlanta was further attractive to us because I have cousins who live here (those with whom my beloved father was very close!).

And while these reasons are for sure true, there is an underlying deeper reason that propelled me to take the plunge that I do not mention.

In New York, I had a full-time nutrition job that I liked (for the most part) that provided a good salary and benefits (healthcare!!), along with a growing private practice. My mom is in NY as is most of my extended family, and my brother is only a 1.5 hour train ride from NYC.

I left my secure job, my family, and my friends, to move to Atlanta this summer. And while the above reasons were the foundation for why we came, I couldn’t have followed through without the deeper motivation which lied beneath. And that was: I wanted to take the risk of breaking out of comfort and security that I likely should have taken years ago.

In the epilogue of my second book on self-love and dating, I relate that I think if I had lived outside of the hustle and bustle of NYC as a young professional in my twenties, it would have helped me to become more grounded and gain the strength to face the emotional difficulties I was bearing. That, along with continuing with a good therapist!

As I said in my previous blog post here, I like the routine, the predictable, the familiar. That is why applying for my first dietitian job was so destabilizing for me, and that is also why I never had the gumption to step off of the path that I and my family had paved for me since I was a kid—that is, getting a good education and then pursuing a solid career in my field of choice.

I never took into consideration the possibility that my father would suddenly pass away when I was 21 (thus the nature of things that are sudden and traumatic), and when it happened, I didn’t know how to integrate that into my preexisting plan of young adulthood.

Over time, I integrated this new reality more and more. But it took a year to finally face it, and then many more years to continue to work on the emotional repercussions (it is a lifelong process).

Moving to Atlanta represented to me that leap of faith that I deep down wanted to take in my twenties, but couldn’t since I did not have the resources, self-awareness, or emotional wherewithal.

They say everything happens for a reason, and I know I should not live in regret for not having taken that leap of faith sooner. I simply have gratitude to the journey of my twenties for bolstering the courageous decision I made this summer.

It is my hope and prayer that those finding themselves in difficult situations can find their way out. And know, that in many cases, taking the steps you need toward a better life will involve some act of faith. And just because all the pieces of the puzzle aren’t in perfect place, that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed. Listen to your heart, trust its message, and take constructive steps toward what your ideal life feels to be.

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