The Opening Bell

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“What’s Bonnie Going to Do?!” – Part 2

by Bonnie Bell, MA, MDiv., Principal, Director of Career/Life Coaching

April 2019

Most of you know by now that, as of January, I began cutting back my hours at Bell and moving into a career transition most commonly known as “Semi-Retirement.” I have to say, it has been smoothing out a bit since the first quarter of the year, which is good news. Don’t get me wrong, I am still stumbling into walls and getting my days mixed now and then, but I am definitely beginning to see new light, and a few doors are opening.

I’ve had two significant dreams that might tell you what’s going on with me better than my consciousness can. One night a couple of months ago when I was particularly confused, irritable, and sad (moods characteristic of transition, good or bad) I dreamed that a huge door – a thick, heavy, medieval-looking door – was ajar. I knew something important was behind the door, and that I was okay with not knowing for now. Sometimes my dreams are utterly meaningless to me, and sometimes they are ridiculously obvious, as this one seems to be. I think it’s saying, “Settle down. It’s going to be okay. Doors are opening.”

And just a couple of nights ago (you’re going to think that I’m making this up!) I dreamed I was walking by myself on a on path through a leafy wood when a golden light began to illuminate the wood from behind the trees. Really! Could that be more obvious? It was telling me, “Pipe down. You are beginning to see the light.”

All I know for sure at this point is that, rather than feeling sad or irritable or confused, I am feeling lighter, freer, and excited about the future. I am having some pretty wonderful days off. It’s a general excitement about vague but very good possibilities, based on a pretty solid list of activities I love, most of which I am already doing to some extent. I will write more about The Love List Exercise in my next blog post.

For me, these activities include: reading, writing, walking, listening to classical music, attending live musical performances (including the Oakland Symphony and Piedmont-East Bay Children’s Choirs), having lunch and deep conversation with good friends, spending more free time with Jim, taking long walks with Jim, and watching lots of stand-up and late night comedy on cable (mostly Seth Meyers, Seinfeld in Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and anything with John Mulaney).

In the slightly more “meaningful” category of activities I love and which bring me joy, I can list: continuing to follow my spiritual path, participating in more activities at our church, and making more room for them. I am also continuing to serve on two non-profit boards: Points of Light for underserved youth in East Oakland, and the James Toland Vocal Arts (JTVA) for young, budding, hugely talented and economically-disadvantaged opera singers. I am also very proud to be a founding member of the Advisory Board for the new Women’s Leadership Initiative at St. Mary’s College in Moraga. And for the time being, I am continuing with certain responsibilities at Bell.

If you or anyone you know is in need of Career/Life Coaching, please email Jane Micallef (jmicallef@bellinvest.com) for a free consultation. For more information about her, please see her profile in the “About Us” section of the Bell website. If you have worked with me before, are in a new transition, and would like to re-engage, (e.g., regarding retirement issues?), please reach out to me: bbell@bellinvest.com.

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