“Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you were put on earth to do with such passion and such intensity it becomes spiritual in calling.” – Vincent Van Gogh
I’ve spent some time meditating around this quote by the World renowned French Impressionism painter. It really speaks to me. I’ve also found that it provides me with a greater understanding of self. I turned 30 this past year. One of the best aspects about being older than twenty-something is that we no longer has to really answer to anyone other than ourselves. Self-Accountability. Of course we have a boss, a teacher, a parent, friends and other important people that hold us accountable but to ourselves is where we really are able to check-in with our own path in life.
We get to be who we are. That is the gift that age gives us.
I graduated from college in 2007 and have been on a journey of non-profit, corporate and small business job positions. Learning important lessons from each – both personally and professionally. But in a sense, those two concepts were always required to be separate..something that in most cases brought me to a wayward path. Finding pieces of myself in each but not truly being able to have myself present in each setting. I’m an entrepreneur. A dreamer. And someone who also very much like rules…my rules just had not been created or moreover refined yet.
Age 30 is a turning point. A time to tune into self. A time to work through the mud of the past to pull a clearing for the lotus.
One lotus revealed natural gifts of healing, gifts needing to be attuned. I decided to go back to school – spa school for the healing arts of massage therapy and bodywork. A career that requires me to attune my personal skills to provide healing and support as a professional.
When at orientation for this part of my education, I was confronted with the ideas of what was acceptable as personal and/or professional. For me, the two are not mutually exclusive. I learned that I may be an all or nothing kind of gal…and the great deal of positivity that can come from letting yourself combine your passion with profession.
We can be anything we want to be as a professional. And we will always be who we are if we listen to ourselves.
Photo by Howard Hu – Hong Kong
It can be hard not to focus on the outcome. The destination. Hard to find the balance between where I am in the multi-faceted external world and where I am within the layers of myself. There is a wave of relief in the surrender to self, the true self that is a guide, brings moments of stillness and peace.
I love meditation. The attention to breathing, the absence of visual stimulation and the feeling after a session. A weight has been lifted off of my brain. This, of course, goes without saying that it can be a process to develop a steady and on-going practice. Good resources are not always easy to find…sometimes the meditation will pull on strings not ready to be worked on just yet or the guide’s voice is reminiscent of a past school teacher who gave a bad grade. These are valid reactions to digging deeper – and a sign there is more there than the initial thought or emotion. When placing myself into a position to open up and work within, comfort and a feeling of nurturance is key.
One resource that I’ve returned to for ideas is the Sounds True catalog – both online and print are available. Last night, I began the guided meditation Radical Self-Acceptance with Tara Brach. Although is had been quite some time since I’d done a complete hour of meditation and guidance, I had no trouble tuning in since I was ready to develop my practice further. Session one on The Suffering of Self Aversion was powerful. It addresses the way we deal with shame and our layered emotions – conscious and subconscious – around our aversions and coping behaviors without judgment on what we perceive to be our own negative qualities. The meditation and talk she gives helps to place building blocks around these qualities to grow in a more positive perceptive.
Sneak peak into the chapters for session one:
- Relating to the anxiety of imperfection
- The root of suffering
- Fleeing from the face of shame
- Strategies of judgement and conformity
- Awakening from your substitute life
- Mindfulness and love
- A meditation on welcoming the guests (from Rumi)
Each section includes literary and buddhist examples to illuminate Tara Brach’s teachings. This guide could be used for variably anything that is happening in life for anyone looking to grow.
The complete set includes a total of four sessions, I’m greatly looking forward to adding this info my nightly routine this week. If you’re looking for something to dig a little deeper, this might be for you.
The House Guest
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
– Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks