About Pam Collage Art by Pam Writing Life Manifesto

Let yourself be silently
By the strange pull of
What you
Really Love.

You will not be led astray.



Collage art by Pam Hogeweide

Sometimes I fantasize about heading out on the open highway instead of heading to the store for yet another food run. I heard a story on the podcast, This American Life, about a bus driver who in 1947 drove his New York City bus all the way to Florida. He disappeared for two weeks. His family did not know where he was. His boss certainly didn’t know where he was, but William Cimillo was done. He was done with the monotony and the routine and the drudgery of the life he found himself in.

When he was found and forced to return to New York City, he received a hero’s welcome. The Everyday Men and Women heralded him a working class hero for taking his life into his own hands and breaking the script. His family suffered not knowing where he was for those two weeks, and yet despite that inconsideration I, like those New Yorkers of 1947,  admire  his chutzpah for breaking away from the tried and true trail of the safe and tame.

I am at a place in my life as a middle-aged woman that playing  it safe makes good, rational sense. Taking risks is for the young, right? They have all the time in the world to right whatever mess-ups that might happen if they take the plunge over a risk-laden  cliff, like driving your bus off the job to a sunny Florida beach.

There is an itch in me that I can’t scratch these days, a restlessness that has me feeling caged up and suffocating in my daily existence like the bus driver. I’m not thinking about driving to Florida, but there is a big life decision on my horizon and I am biting at the bit to get to it and take the risk and change lanes of where my life is at. I am churning with anticipation while fear grips my guts.  

What is it about major life decisions – like job changes, hint hint – that brings to the surface every scalawag of an excuse for why I ought to remain as is,  to stand down as it were, from the center of my own existence. I drive myself and everyone around me ca-razzy with my over-analysis-obsessive-over-thinking when I am  determining a life-altering decision.

I have been summoning Wisdom to come to me in a variety of ways.

I pray. A lot.

I talk with friends. A lot.

I talk about every possible angle of The Decision with husband, who seriously should receive some kind of Husband of the Year award for enduring my neurosis.

I also search for wisdom while I make art. Many of the messages that I paint on my collage art pieces are words that I need to hear, messages that I tune in from the cosmic playlist I listen for when I am arting it up. I often hear encouragement this way.

A new way I am searching out guidance and affirmation about my Big Decision is using tarot. I used to think tarot cards were the work of the devil, an occult tool of witchery that must be avoided. But I now see tarot as a medium of  metaphors and  mini-stories that help seekers like me sort out what I need to sort out. There is a magical aspect to using tarot in that I have almost always drawn just the right cards with what was helpful to hear in the moment for whatever question I brought to the reading.



Today I drew this card in my 3-card reading >> Judgment<<.

This was intriguing to me because ever since my friend gave me this deck I have drawn this card several times. (Hello Universe, I am listening!) 

The meaning of this card is to realize I am the Key of what I have been seeking. I can trust in my own judgment to make decisions that are right for me, no matter how irrational they may appear to others. If I decide, for example,  to leave a well-paying job for a lesser paying job it may seem foolish on the outside, yet it may be the wisest decision for me and my life. I get to be the judge of that.

I follow author Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) on Facebook. She posts the most wonderful Zen-like Facebook statuses that lift the spirit. Like this one, a story about her cousin who decided to up and move to New Zealand :

My cousin didn’t know anyone in this entire hemisphere. She had never before traveled. She feared she was “too old” to change her life. She had always been risk-averse, and the thought of moving across the world was terrifying. But she had been stuck for too long. She was suffocating in her day-to-day existence. She couldn’t take it anymore. She was tired of faking happiness.

Then she realized: “If I don’t face my fears, I will never grow.”

So she did it. She followed some deep, irrational, inner instinct that led her right to this place. She planned to stay in New Zealand for only four months…but she has now stayed for four years. And holy shit, has she grown.

I just love that. It inspires me. I’m not planning to move to another country (not yet at least 🙂  ), but I am planning on a major life shift soon. I need to trust myself that I am on the right track, even though it seems irrational. Sometimes Wisdom is found in the irrational places, like a little bird hovering on the edge of a teacup.

That’s where I am hovering, in between worlds of where I am today and where I might be tomorrow.

What about you? Where are you hovering? Have you ever made the leap of faith for an irrational decision? A job change? A relocation? A new hair style? (hey, why not ?!!)

Tell me all about it in the comments!


Irrational Life Decisions — 23 Comments

  1. This week I celebrated two years Operation Life Change. (Sometimes known as “”what the hell am I doing??!!??”) I felt those things you’re feeling for years, and always too afraid to act upon them (they were too foolish, weren’t they?!?) stayed stuck living a life that was only half alive and not really mine. But listening to the whispers of the Universe (or God, as I prefer) led me here, to the great Pacific Northwest into the arms of great friends who nurtured me and listened to me wail my insecurities and helped me catch my breath and stand up and move forward into this great new era where I feel more alive than ever before.
    I had a pastor/friend years ago who said “do what you love and the money will follow.” It’s good advice.

    • Kai !! Has it been two years?! Look where you are now. I think what is extra cool about your irrational life decision is that you had the support of friends, community, to be present with you as you took the leap. They witnessed your leap and cheered you on, and now look where you are …!

      “do what you love and the money will follow.”

      I love this and am going to make it my mantra 🙂

      Your story inspires me!

  2. I understand. I felt some of that and so…put my possessions in storage for a year and traveled. Had to go alone. It felt good to just go. I did not speak French or German.

    • Wow, Debbie, that sounds utterly amazing and crazy and soooo irrational. And i love it. I bet you have the best travel stories from that year. I dream of being able to do something that irrational some day. I see myself doing an aimless road trip. 🙂

  3. –There is something utterly liberating about what the bus driving did.
    I’ve felt like that! I’ve wanted to do that!
    There is a book I love about a 50 year old woman who leaves her home to travel, find herself again.
    She writes letters to her husband from the places she visits.
    It’s by Elizabeth Berg called, Pull of the Moon.
    ( I’ve read it several times…because it resonates w/ me deeply)
    Great post, Pam.
    I’ve missed your words!! xxxx from MN.

    • My Inner Chick…..!

      I am gonna have to look on Amazon for that book. Great title, especially as I have literally been feeling the pull of the moon these past several months.

      I could so get into a solo road trip.

      Love seeing your lovely presence here. Good to reconnect !

  4. it is an amazing experience to dismantle so many of the ‘things’ we build inside our perspectives. I can say with deep gratitude how much I appreciate sowing ourselves into a church community. I grew in ways I never thought I could. It was also there that I heard my (our) March 4th 🙂 in that it was time to attend to discovering our identity in faith by moving forward into the very questions that you articulate so well. Learning to listen, gathering truth where you can find it, taking apart the elements of our thinking and perspectives that comprise the cells we incarcerate ourselves in.(old wounds, expectations, the strange little life filters we knowingly and unknowingly build up in our perspectives)Allowing ourselves to trust the exchanging our our ways of thinking for Jesus’. For as crazy and chaotic it can appear on the inside as well as out, we won’t trade it for anything and the revelations of our Creator continue. Sure like your style Pam 🙂 it resonates.

    • Hi Ron, thanks so much for commenting. Love what you said :

      Learning to listen, gathering truth where you can find it, taking apart the elements of our thinking and perspectives that comprise the cells we incarcerate ourselves in.(old wounds, expectations, the strange little life filters we knowingly and unknowingly build up in our perspectives)

      You said it well. It sure seems to me at this stage of life that constructing, remodeling, tearing down, renovating… all these processes are ongoing, never quite ending. Maybe it eventually does. Maybe eventually we find ourselves living in a worldview, a set of life beliefs and perspectives that is our final settlement.

      Either way, it is a good to be in the company of others who are also taking leaps of faith with various life decisions. Let us March Forth into our own lives!

  5. Is it irrational to pursue a Masters degree at 55 in a field that I’ve always wanted to get into? I’m contemplating this now. Struggling to write the “personal statement” required by the application process. I’ve decided to let go and apply … see what happens. Maybe I can do some good for a few years after I get it.

    • Oh man Sonja I want to hear more about that! What field are you pursuing?

      I read this somewhere recently : “Do you know how old I will be by the time I finally learn how to play piano at this stage of my life?”
      “The same age whether you learn or not.”

      Ain’t that the truth!

      I’d love to know more about your pursuit of education. It is the chief desire in my life to have a degree. Maybe one day I will take that plunge …

  6. This is the path I’ve been on for the past two years, doing crazy things that only happened in my dreams. Some people think it’s great; others sit in silent (or not so silent) judgment. After years of dreaming about writing and publishing a book, I have finally done it. I self-published in 2014, and then in April 2015 was picked up by a publisher, re-released my first book, and published the second. I’m currently working on the third and fourth in the series. I have done author events in libraries, bookstores, and at my college, along with other vendor events. Pretty crazy for an introvert.

    My husband bemoans the fact that I haven’t “returned on the investment” yet and thinks I should be doing something more lucrative. But I’ve come to a point in my life where I think the biggest regret is in not trying at all.

    • Deb, I LOVE THIS. How amazing that when you took that first step, that leap of faith, it opened up to the next thing and the next thing. Some of the stuff I’ve been reading lately really affirms this idea that when we make a move, the universe will make her move, too, but we have got to move. And you did.

      Elizabeth Gilbert has a new book out called Big Magic. It’s about the process of creativity. So good! She says in her book that creativity does not owe us living. We are so caught up in financial success proving that our creative endeavors are worthwhile, when really, being creative is About Being Creative. If we get to earn some money from it, or even a living, then wow, extra bonus! I am so glad to hear that you continue to write without allowing a bottom line to get the better of your creativity. Keep writing! You might make money, you might now, but if you have stories to tell then please please do keep telling them!

      So you have a link you can post for us to get to your books? Are they on Amazon?

      Thanks for commenting!

  7. Impulsive, ridiculous, life-altering, irresponsible, totally irrational decisions have always been the best ones I’ve made in life. Quitting a well-paying job to move to Kansas (Kansas???) with no plan, leaving a four-year relationship to pursue what was supposed to be a side-fling, moving in with the side-fling after like four months, transitioning gender, grad school, keeping this kitten…

    I’ve found that when I find myself thinking “This is a safe decision, and probably what I’m supposed to do, I could do this,” I’m probably fine, but I’m not really growing. When I find myself thinking, “Oh my god, what a terrible idea, why do I want to do this, why am I doing this??” I’m usually on a deeply worthwhile track, and much more in tune with my actual desires, which leads to good things.

    I’ve been taught for so long that I don’t actually get what I most deeply want, and that maybe no one does. It’s terrifying to go after it. It’s terrifying to admit what I deeply want. Because what if it’s unrealistic and I fail at getting it?

    Fuck that noise. I’d much rather be fully, really me, and deal with the fear and pain of disappointment of failure sometimes.

    • You nailed it with
      “I’ve been taught for so long that I don’t actually get what I most deeply want, and that maybe no one does. It’s terrifying to go after it. It’s terrifying to admit what I deeply want. Because what if it’s unrealistic and I fail at getting it?

      Fuck that noise. I’d much rather be fully, really me, and deal with the fear and pain of disappointment of failure sometimes.”

      I’ve also pushed myself to realize what I deeply want is available to me; past the fear and rejection and criticism of others. But THIS is MY ONE LIFE. :)March Forth indeed!

    • aaron !!! i remember when you up and moved to kansas. look how that decision has played out for you. kansas has been an amazing chapter in our life… Kansas of all places !!!

      love your words here… yes, fuck that noise indeed, the noise in our heads that would hold us back from taking the plunge into our own life.

      thanks for commenting!

      • Your statement about taking steps leading to the opening up of next steps really resonates with me. Moving to Kansas def opened up my path to Ash, which opened up my path the grad school, and being in a therapy grad program has opened up a lot of steps around personal growth and relational risk that have deepened my relationship with Ash and made it something truly special and worthwhile. And risky / terrifying in all the best, life-affirming ways.

        • Yep, life is one long pearl strand of decisions. It is so good to hear how your leap of faith to move to Kansas has turned out. Let me know when you visit Portland again. Hopefully it will work out to hang out!

  8. I love the Rumi quote, and your collage ( which I still wish I could buy). And thanks for blogging about what’s happening with you. Feels like you just read my mind!!! So hoping I can find the courage from somewhere to make a change this year!!

    • I think I might be able to pull off printing a decent postcard size print for you. Email me your mailing address. glad this post spoke to you cheryl…. i look fwd to hearing about this big change you mention !

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