Saturday, May 7, 2016

Soul Searching

It has been a year since I left the corporate health care world. Last Sunday was the one-year anniversary of my decision to start a new life and walk away from the stress of a miserable job. I still remember it vividly. That feeling of freedom as I drove out of the parking garage for the last time and off into the unknown. It seems like a lifetime ago. And yet the time has passed by so quickly.

My life has been in a continual state of transition since that day. I have gone through a series of semi-planned phases of being a yoga teacher, then a yoga teacher and a writer, then just a writer. And now I am working as a retail associate and a writer until I can find a full time job.

A lot of the questions I struggled with just a few short months ago have been answered. I wondered if I should search for jobs in Michigan or Ohio. I wondered if Mark Johnson and I were going to move in together and if so, where we would live. And now, here I am sitting on the couch in Mark Johnson's apartment, except I don't call it that anymore. It is our apartment.

And I am looking for jobs here in Ohio. I have applied for a few things, but so far nothing has seemed to work out. So many of the applications are online. This job search process reminds me a lot of online dating. You put your profile out there, but you can never tell if the right person sees it. Or if the right person is even out there.

To be fair, I haven't been very specific about what I am looking for either. When I sat down to make a list of criteria for my next job, it came out something like this:
  1. Short commute within 10 minutes of the apartment.
  2. Able to wear comfortable clothes and even jeans to work.
  3. Not sitting at a computer all day.
Clearly, I have not yet defined my ideal career path. And that is kind of how I ended up as a retail associate. Frustrated with the online searching, I really wanted to talk to an actual person. I happened to walk into an Anthropologie store and I saw that they were hiring. The store is at a beautiful outdoor mall that is practically around the corner from our apartment.

I talked to the hiring manager and then I went home and filled out the online application. Within a day or two, they sent me an e-mail inviting me to come in for an interview. The entire process of getting hired there took just over a week.

If you look back at my list of criteria for a job, it meets all of them. I found exactly what I was seeking. And with the generous employee discount, it is tempting to stay there forever. But eventually, I will need something that pays a little more money and hopefully with a decent benefit package. I guess I'll have to add those items to the list of criteria for my next job.

The most important lesson I have learned in this process is that my job is not my life.  And yet, I would like to find a job that brings me some level of fulfillment. Or at least a job that does not make me sick. It doesn't seem like too much to ask from the universe.

I often find myself wondering what is my purpose here on this earth. At first I thought it was a mid-life crisis, but now it is starting to feel more like an existential crisis. Some people might argue that they are the same thing.

With all of these philosophical questions racing through my mind, it can make the job search complicated. After spending the last year learning how to slow down, I find it hard to apply for jobs that require the ability to work in a fast paced environment and meet tight deadlines. Aren't there any companies that like to take things easy? Maybe a place with office windows that actually open up to let in some fresh air on a cool spring morning?

Even if I get beyond the application process and I am invited to an interview, I wonder how I would ever have an authentic conversation with the hiring manager. If they ask about my hobbies, should I tell them that I meditate every day to get in touch with my divine teacher? And what about my long term career goals? I don't think "attaining enlightenment" is exactly the answer they are looking for. It would be so much easier if I still played golf and wanted to be a vice president someday, but that is just not who I am anymore. It's really not who I ever was.

Mark Johnson and I have started reading a new book together. It is called "The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire" by Deepak Chopra. In the book, he guides us through similar questions. Who am I? What do I want? What is my purpose in this lifetime?

Chopra tells us that the answers are found at the level of the soul. In order to find the answers we are seeking, we must speak to the part of the soul that is unique to us, while also merging our personal intention with the intention of the universe. One way we can start to discover our true purpose is through identifying and connecting ourselves with certain archetypes. These can be people, such as mythical figures, or qualities that we are drawn to, such as wisdom or compassion.

As we seek to identify and connect with our archetypes, we need to ask ourselves this question:  If these people or qualities could come into my world and express themselves through me, would I be capable of grand and wondrous things?

I absolutely love this concept of grand and wondrous things. It means that when I find my true calling, I will feel it. I will know it. And the world will know it too, because all of the skills and talents that I have will burst into being and create something magical. Something that cannot be explained in any other way, except that I have become my true self.

I've had glimmers of this feeling before. When I am playing with my nieces and nephews, walking in nature, creating something (often when I am writing) or organizing something and when I am helping other people. I have this feeling all the time when I am with Mark Johnson. Whenever our two energies are combined, it makes me feel like together we are destined to do something really special.

But I don't know what it is we are supposed to do, or how we would make a living at it. That's the hard part about trying to live your life at the level of the soul. You have to somehow balance your spiritual quest with your life in the physical world.

I am not sure exactly how to do that yet. Then again, we are only half way through the book.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So glad to have you back. This is the vehicle that started you on your journey to find authenticity.
Sounds like it is going well.