Upside Down

Upside Down House_2

“I fell in love,” I said, wrapping my hands around my coffee cup.

“Well, that was a mistake,” he replied, shaking his head from side to side. “You can’t do that when you go into business. “

I looked out the window of the coffeehouse, which faced the main drag through town, and recalled the moment it happened.

I had given up on finding a commercial space to rent through a real estate agency.  The broker listings were scarce, they stood in undesirable locations, or commanded too much rent.  One morning, feeling particularly frustrated with my choices, I drove the length of the island myself stopping wherever I saw a vacant store front.  Six blocks from the center of town, I had spotted a “for Rent by Owner” sign in a window and called the phone number hand written in magic marker.

“The door’s open,” the man on the phone said.  “Why don’t you go in and take a look around.”

I wasn’t one full step in when I felt my pulse quicken and the tears rush to my eyes.

This was my space.

In that instant, I saw what the renovated storefront would look like and made a mental blueprint of how I would set up the back. I saw my logo on the exterior signpost, I saw the summer traffic, the UPS driver loading his hand truck with packages to be delivered to my customers.   All of it felt exactly right.

The health inspector saw no imminent problems.  The town advised me that it was zoned for my intended purpose.  Everything lined up perfectly…except the money.  The costs of the necessary renovations began to mount well beyond my budget.  Plus, the thought of sinking that money into a space I didn’t own, a space I could walk away from in two year’s time, just plain hurt.

“Buy a plot of land,” he said. “They don’t cost much around here. You can build something to suit your business and the best part is that it’s yours. You’ll have it to sell, or rent, for that matter, if heaven forbid, the business doesn’t work out.”

“I can’t carry a mortgage right now,” I replied, not giving his advice a second thought.  Even if the bank would lend me money, I didn’t want the debt. But I also didn’t want to sink a windfall into a store that wasn’t mine.   Buy?  Rent?  Buy? Rent? My head began to spin.

The dilemma turned my plan, the plan that felt so certain, so “right,” upside down.  And while I felt like I was hitting the first big “wall,” there was that tiny part of me, the part that knows everything always works out for its highest and best purpose, that held onto the belief that I would find a way around the wall, or over the wall, or through the wall, for that matter.

I’ve learned that upside down is not a bad place to be.

It forces you to look at the world from a different perspective.

It encourages you  to find solutions that you originally didn’t see.

That first flush of defying gravity may take some getting used to. But then you quickly learn to live with what once felt uncomfortable.Miss F upside Down3

It may never feel comfortable but you won’t mind that.

Because you’ve grown to know that being comfortable with discomfort is a skill that will carry you far in life, farther than the skill of excelling at what you know well.

Any of us can excel at what we know well.

Upside down is saying “I don’t even know what I don’t know, but at least I know that.”

Upside down is saying, “Man, this shit is scary, but for right now, I’ll keep going.”

Upside down is letting go of the outcome that you thought you wanted and trusting that if you keep an open mind, the path will be clear.

Upside down is about maintaining inner peace in the face of uncertainty.

I may be here a while.  Anyone care to hang with me?

upside_down_2Editor’s Note:  Since many of you have asked, I signed the lease, and my feet are on the ground again…for now!   ~Namaste 


Upside Down — 102 Comments

    • Thanks Michelle. In the end, I will choose a path and stick with it..after a day or two to let this all sink in and maybe a glass of wine! xo

  1. Ilene, Ilene, Ilene! You have no idea how affirmed I feel after reading this. I’m trying desperatly to make the “right” decision about a particularly sticky situation. I have prayed for discernment & guidance & feel like reading this is on the path of an answered prayer. Thank you!
    Andrea recently posted…40 Date Night IdeasMy Profile

    • Oh my love! I hope your prayers are answered soon! And I am going to join you today in the praying. Prayer always, always works, no matter the situation.

  2. Wow! Thank you for your bravery in sharing your heart around these decisions. I know they can’t be easy. I’m a newish reader and I’m not sure of your faith background but this past Sunday the pastor of our church talked about what happens when you step out in faith- further than you can ever go on your own. Something amazing happens when we do that. Things fall into place, but it takes us leaping to the point of no return for that to happen sometimes. I can’t wait to hear how this goes!
    NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner recently posted…Perfect Monster CookiesMy Profile

    • Despite my faith background or any of our faith backgrounds, your pastor’s words resonate. I love the idea of stepping out in faith – I think no matter what I do here, I will be leaping out far..which means something amazing is bound to happen. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  3. Upside down IS a good place to be. At least you can stay there and think and have space and time. I felt like this when I was pretty much forced to sell my business but, a lot of good has come from it and I’m sure you’ll have a good outcome too if you just wait for it. Good things are ahead for you – I know it!
    Allie recently posted…A Wedding WeekendMy Profile

    • I am lucky to have some space and time. And being forced to sell your business must not have felt good at the time, but I am glad that the final outcome was positive! That says a lot and it also gives me a lot of hope. xo

  4. I just really dislike how my emotions can grab me by the heart and crowd out my better judgement.
    Keith and I are looking for a house here in TN, and absolutely fell in love with one. I even put it in my GPS as 2nd home (didn’t want to replace my actual current address on my GPS :-) ). A really bad problem surfaced during the home inspection, and we had to let the house go.

    Like you said, if you maintain your inner peace, an open mind, and your vision, you will connect with the right solution. It just might not be what you envisioned.

    You are demonstrating the beauty and power of Walk Away Shoes. You go, girl! (I wrote about them recently on Engaged Marriage dot com. )

    I look forward to hearing the next stage in your adventure! xo
    Kim recently posted…Discovering Joy: Turning neuroses into new roses Pt 1My Profile

    • Oh, Kim! I have been in love with houses too! And I know that feeling of having to walk away and that disappointment. But I love that term Walk Away Shoes! Sometimes we have to detach – especially when we are madly and deeply in love.

  5. You know I’ll alway hang with you, Ilene. Making decisions is the toughest part of running your own business, mainly because it’s all on you if they are bad ones! Of course you have to take risks too in order to be successful. Finding that fine line is hard. It sounds like you are making the right decision in this case though. The right place is out there for you. I know it is. It will come to you, whether you are upside down or right side up.
    another jennifer recently posted…Join Scary Mommy Nation to Help Support Families in Need This ThanksgivingMy Profile

    • I am so glad you are with me on this one, Jen. I know you’ve been with me in spirit from the get go, but I’m grateful to have the friend to “hang with” as well. And yes, being the business owner means being the decision maker. It’s scary to be in charge of your own destiny and amazing at the same time!

  6. I could feel you feeling upside down while I was reading this. You are an incredible writer. Like you, I genuinely believe that everything works out in the end, even if the limbo phase is difficult.-Ashley

  7. I feel upside down right now too. And I’d love to hang out with you. It seems to many people that I know what I’m doing here, but it’s not quite working. And it’s very, very scary, but hey, at least we have our passions, right? I fall in love a lot.
    Tamara recently posted…Love Share.My Profile

    • When we have passion we can’t fail. Even if things don’t always feel like they’re working. Passion and action are like magic together. You will pull some rabbits out of hats yet, my friend. We both will. xo

  8. I am upside down with you, even though I get “motionsick” from that. Being able to stand uncomfortableness (that’s a word, right?) is one of the best qualities to have, especially as a business owner.
    In a case like that it really comes down to the long-term math… which doesn’t mean it’s scary or will go over budget either way.
    Good for you for just letting it sit for a few days! I’m excited to find out what you decide. xoxoxo
    Kerstin @ Auer Life recently posted…A Day In Auer LifeMy Profile

    • It didn’t take me long to figure this one out. I just had to get out of my own way. But yes, my fellow business owner, I agree that being able to manage upside down is a necessary quality!

  9. I love this- I love you- upside down, inside out, and all around… your always shining this distinct ray of strength. Mmmm…. I just soak it all in. All the time.

    You are a wonder, Ilene. Truly.

    I want to hang upside down with you… I will instead however, lay down on the floor with my head to yours, and giggle and chat for our 28 hours. :) XOXOXO
    Chris Carter recently posted…Devotional Diary: From Pain To Prayerful PurposeMy Profile

  10. There’s no harm in putting in a lot of effort and deciding to walk away from it in a couple of years, really. Lots of people let all of their work leave them pretty much as they do it. Maybe that will be what you learn – maybe you still need to learn how to let go?
    tammigirl recently posted…Kindle Fire GiveawayMy Profile

    • I love your insight here. And my best work? It’s not mine. It’s for the people I will be serving, so right there, my work will leave me. I love your outlook. And your reminder that it’s always OK to walk away.

    • Oh, my friend – that’s a tough place to be, when you have no control. Sending prayers your way and best wishes for the best and fastest possible outcome.

    • Thanks, Kim. I think I get my best insights when I’m out of my natural element – running – and those yoga headstand where I really am upside down!

  11. Sounds like you are about to embark upon another leg of your journey and again, it seems like we’re soul sisters again (I’m in the planning stages of a nutrition private practice that I’ve been contemplating for years).

    Being scared feels awful but it’s also good to feel something so strong (musical pun intended). Ferreting out the head and the heart decisions are brutal but I’m certain that whatever you choose, it’s going to be glorious in the end.
    Melissa Burton recently posted…Tunes For Tuesday – Being Thankful with The HoursMy Profile

    • I will take your musical puns any time! And you are so right about feeling something so strong. We are the lucky ones to have this kind of passion for something. I can’t wait to hear how you progress with your private practice!

    • New perspective is so good. I love when I can get out of my brain and see something in a new light. And you can hang with me any time!

  12. Upside down and in love is often the very best place to be, even if it makes us uncomfortable in the beginning. Sometimes, even in business, you have to follow your heart, not your head. After all, life begins when we step outside of our comfort zone. And you know I’m ready to hang with you, any day, any time!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted…Happy 10th Birthday, MacAfeeMy Profile

    • Love and business…I have been warned so many times to avoid emotional decisions with this thing – but then again, why be in this if I’m not emotional about it? I think you’re onto something with your beautiful insight.

    • We are so much more resilient than we realize, right? Sending you much love and light while you face your own upside down situation.

  13. Goosebumps. Our family in right in the middle of some pretty major decisions. Things that will push us out of our comfort zone. One thing about comfort zones, I believe that everything I really want is just outside of my comfort zone. I’m hanging upside with you – looking at things a little differently these days. :)
    Cam Bibs & Baubles recently posted…Bidness + FamilyMy Profile

    • Yes! I am with you on that! The things I want the most are right outside of my comfort zone. We have to break past it to get there. That’s what being alive is all about, right? Prayers to you my friend as you go through your decision making.

  14. I believe you will come to a decision gracefully. You are thoughtful and considerate of all the obstacles. By stepping away and taking the time to “hang” you will come to a conclusion that may not be easy but it will be right. This is another instance for you to trust yourself. Trust yourself.
    Stephanie recently posted…Figuring Out My WhyMy Profile

    • I also have to remember that this isn’t “it.” Whatever I decide now will change later down the road. Because everything is ever changing. Thank you for your faith in this for me!

    • I’ve decided. I signed the lease. I work quickly. I read your post about Sam and therapy and I would assume there is a whole lot more than what you could write about in 600 words. I admire your dedication always and your willingness to go into the unknowns and what is uncomfortable to help your kids.

  15. Ilene! I love reading what’s in your soul, thoughts etc! I too am in a huge transition period in my life, where most would be scared to death and in an constant state of worry! I dont… I have a peace that comes from within myself and God and it is a wonderful thing! Someone once told me that at times in our life we all go through the storm and most would think it is because they did something wrong but most times it is because we are doing something right! Whether we are letting go of something that wasn’t meant to be or simply discovering what is really important and how to obtain it! No matter everything happens for a reason, leading you to your true purpose. As long as you are putting forth what you are suppose too, you have no other option but to succeed! Thanks for sharing! You are one amazing woman! ~Leah~
    Leah Elizabeth Locklear recently posted…“Choretime into Playtime!”My Profile

    • Oh, Leah! And you are an amazing woman as well. I wish you the best as you face your unknowns and transitions. It doesn’t always feel like it, but we are just as safe in the unknown as we are in the known. Love and light to you, sister.

    • Thanks, Kim. I think the biggest decisions in life are a matter of feeling versus thinking. I think we can “think” ourselves out of anything – including what could potentially be very good.

  16. I’ll definitely hang out with you. Such big decisions. I hate it when things don’t fit together. I am sure that you’ll have peace about a course of action soon, and it will feel right. I have been feeling a little upside down myself lately. Sending lots of love and light.
    Stevie recently posted…Tiny Baby ShoesMy Profile

  17. Ahhh it’s that upside down part that usually makes me turn back and decide it all wasn’t such a good idea after all. The discomfort scares me. But I’m working on that. My next idea – I’m going the distance. And I’ll hang out upside down with you for as long as it takes for us both :)
    Tricia recently posted…Small talksMy Profile

    • Tricia, I’m so glad you’re going to hang with me – and I’m also just as glad that with your next idea, you’re going to go the distance. You and me, both, sister. xo

  18. Oh Ilene. I’ve been feeling upside down a lot lately too on so many fronts. Funny thing is that my inversion aversion is slowly starting to fade and I appreciate the flipped perspective. I know it’s going to be uncomfortable and challenging but I know that I need that – that that will help push me, I think and hope. I’ll most definitely hang with you. I need to build up my endurance in sirsasana anyways :-)
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Roller Coaster RidesMy Profile

    • I bet your sirsasana is just fine, sister. But yes, the bit about being comfortable with discomfort? Life changing, right? I’m glad we can hang together.

  19. Upside down is so scary – but it does give you that perspective you often need. Some of the best things come from the upside down moments. It’s really the hard stuff in life that we get through that makes life great. Hang upside down for a bit, you’ll figure it out. I believe in you:)
    Leah Davidson recently posted…Quote of the WeekMy Profile

  20. I’m super late for this post, but I needed to read it today. It’s a confirmation for me. Thank you. Now, the fact that your wisdom translated into these words, I’m confident you’ll find whats best for you. it’s gonna work out just how you deisire.
    Hope recently posted…The best sleep position.My Profile

    • You are never late for my posts – you are always right on time! I am glad it gave you a confirmation and I do believe that it does all work out for the highest good!

    • Allison! Thank you for checking in with me! I’m going to put an editor’s note at the end of the post – since you and others have asked. I signed the lease. Here we go….

  21. Oy. These are the decisions in life that are the most difficult to navigate but the most rewarding in the end. Because regardless of your decision, you will be making it for a reason and it will be RIGHT because it fits your definition of what feels right. Just know that you have the support of all around you and I wish you the best of luck :) I haven’t stopped in here for far too long, but it’s wonderful to be back. You have such a great outlook on life. Plus I love the photos :)

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Charlotte – I love it when you stop in – so thank you for that! And I also appreciate your encouragement and support. I think it’s going to be good. Actually, I know it is!

    • Oh, Tiffany! Wishing you the best with whatever hard reality you are facing right now. It’s lovely to meet you. Happy Thanksgiving!

  22. Congrats on the lease and the big step! “I don’t even know what I don’t know, but at least I know that.” That’s the best thing I’ve read all week. Such a great perspective, my friend!
    Adrienne recently posted…PearlsMy Profile

    • Thank you and thank you. And it’s so true. There are so many things we don’t even know we don’t know! I just pray that I get to know them when I need to!

  23. This was a much needed post for me, Ilene. You always have the right words. And even though we are facing different things in life they are still on this weird parallel path. Thank you for always knowing what to say. I am still upside down but hope to be upright soon.
    Carla recently posted…Thank You For Being a FriendMy Profile

    • Yes Jess! Exactly! Once you get through that initial hump the first time, the second time around, it almost never feels as awkward or scary.

    • As one of my best friends always says, it’s always better to make a choice than no choice at all – and in the end, it’s never the wrong choice. Because it gets us to “there,” wherever there may be!

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