Dare to Be Happy
By Daniel Tipton*
FINDING FULFILLING EMPLOYMENT
[as it appeared in the March 2012 Newsletter]
FINDING FULFILLING EMPLOYMENT
I asked: “How important is matching your career up with your spiritual life (Course principals)? Does anyone have experience with working your spirituality into your career? Or how about changing your career to be more in line with your spirituality? I’m making a career change in the hope that I will enjoy work more. However, there is fear that I will run into the same problem if I don’t make more of a fundamental change. I know so far that I am thoroughly enjoying my counseling classes. (I’m enrolled in a Masters program in Community Counseling so that I can be a licensed counselor.)”
It’s funny as I ponder your question… because as I think about it, I don’t really see the job I had as a counselor as lining up with my spiritual principles at all! It was totally stressful and “of the world” like any other job! Instead, I see it as exactly where I was supposed to be at that time in my life for my best learning, my “training ground.” Whether that training ground was counseling, or working in some other profession, it isn’t about the form as much as the choice that I am making in every moment to follow my ego or to follow the Holy Spirit.
Having said that, I grew increasingly unhappy in this position as a therapist. I had a job that had all the appearances of being glorious (the setting I worked in was a very competitive setting AND I had the summers off!) The “picture” seemed perfect, but my discontent slowly grew. The job just didn’t “fit” me anymore. It was almost 2 years ago now, that I “knew” I needed to do something different (guidance was coming in so strongly to quit that I was thrown into anxiety and panic trying to not listen to it out of fear of losing my steady salary). But I HAD to do something more in line with my spirituality. It almost felt like it was killing me not to.
I was guided out of that position and stepped into a role that IS more in line with my sense of spirituality. I’ve been writing about and teaching ACIM – and this is just something I didn’t feel that I could safely do when I was in my former job. I’m now teaching as an adjunct faculty member in a Community Counseling MA program which pays the bills (and which I love!), and writing about and teaching the Course which FILLS me up!! I’m simply where I’m supposed to be right now, and in that is peace.
This is the beauty of the counseling profession – you can do SO MANY things with your degree! So after all that, I guess I would say that practicing the Course doesn’t mean you need to have a job that appears to be in line with it. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be right now. But if you feel a pull to enter the counseling profession, honor it! Your lessons will come no matter where you are or what you’re doing. I’m psyched to hear that you are enjoying your classes!
Since receiving these comments, I’ve had time to consider my work situation some more.
I’ve realized that moving on can sometimes be running away from a chance to heal. This is my second time working at my current job because I left for “something better”. I found out there were the same problems, but worse. Luckily, they hired me back for a part-time position while I go to school. It wasn’t long after returning here that the feeling of discontent and resentment crept back in. This has made me think that there is probably a different way of dealing with this discontent. I started to pray for clarity on how I can be content with my job since I will need to work for at least three more years in a non-counseling field.
What I am beginning to see is that much of my discontent was due to some harsh criticism of almost everyone I worked with. I saw something wrong with almost everyone. This led me to believe that my work relationships might need healing. So I began to pray for guidance on how to improve and forgive my work relationships. After a while, I noticed that I started feeling compassion for people that I had never felt before. I also started feeling more accepting of everyone. This has led to a much happier work day
I don’t think these changes in feelings toward people would have shifted by changing jobs. My harsh criticism had made my work environment full of guilt and fear. I am getting along a lot better at work now and am finding more purpose. Letting go of my judgments of other people has been key. It has taken me much time and suffering to see this but I think I am finally getting it.
On the other hand, I still have a passion for counseling. I will stay in school and finish my degree because I am finding the coursework interesting. However, I feel that this inner work is crucial no matter what I decide to do. Without it, I might go into a counseling career with thought patterns that not only cause me misery but prevent me from excelling in the very career I think is best for me.
are giving you all of their attention and seem to understand exactly how you are feeling. Imagine how honored you feel, how loved you feel, how much you love them for giving you their attention, which is totally at their own discretion. It is not always easy to be a good listener, but it might do wonders for our relationships. Simply taking our attention off of our own thoughts for a minute to really hear somebody might be one of the most rewarding acts we can perform with the least amount of effort.
*Daniel Tipton resides in Omaha, NE and is a member of the Course in Miracles Society study group. He is in his second year of the 2 year ACIM Ministerial Program offered by the Community Miracles Center; Daniel attended the 2011 Annual ACIM Conference in San Francisco and is currently working on a masters degree in Counseling at UNO. He will be attending the 2013 ACIM Conference which will be held in Chicago. More Conference Information here