Career Choice as a Spiritual Choice
Dear Dr. Rosie
Interestingly enough, I’m in a similar situation as Veronica and Usha. I’m looking to change careers after many years as a nurse. I want to go back to school but am being financially taken care of as long as I stay in my current nursing position. The other very real issue that comes up when I think I want to commit to a certain path is that I begin to doubt that this is really what is correct for my spiritual path. . . . Will this just reinforce the ego and distract me or should I accept things as they are and continue from here?
I really enjoy your writing. Thanks!
From Dr. Rosie:
As human beings we have a very complex, multidimensional world to live into. We have our physical needs, our emotional needs and our spiritual need – all of which call for equal attention. Balancing our spiritual well-being with our physical and emotional well-being is quite a practice. It’s the foundation of the work I do with all of my corporate, and individual clients; to cultivate not only awareness of their whole being but to empower them to practice being present to and acting in alignment with all of themselves.
When we think about our physical needs being met we often think that money is an essential requirement. And, for many of us having money also calms emotional needs for a sense of safety, security and stability. When we think of meeting our spiritual needs, however, more often than not money doesn’t even enter the conversation. From a spiritual perspective, aside from tithing or making donations, money is too often seen as the root of all evil and, like Ginger, we begin to doubt that we have the right to live into our passion or calling and enjoy perhaps more affluence. We become afraid that we are choosing incorrectly and somehow we’ll just reinforce our ego and distract ourselves off our spiritual path.
The dilemma is that, in this multidimensional world we are experiencing a physical reality and a spiritual reality simultaneously. We are both spiritual and physical beings at the same time. Can we choose in such a way that serves both in a good way? If so, how do we choose to choose?
Quite often – but not always, people who choose solely based on their physical and emotional needs and desires come up feeling unfulfilled or empty. Those who follow solely their spiritual needs and desires sometimes, but not always, aren’t grounded enough in the physical world to feel fulfilled in the more “human” domain. Each of us has to be present to that choice point where we have to be clear of what we are wanting, what’s at stake, and, is it worth the price?
In the physical and emotional domains, it is definitely scary to consider leaving a situation where we are comfortable and taken care of. Many individuals in unfulfilling marriages or jobs have to come to terms with “is it worth it” to leave, believing that the security will disappear.
As I write these columns I sometime google quotations from different authors. Helen Keller popped up today. Here’s what she says: “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
Now, if building character is important to you then this statement might spur you to be with your choice-points from a more daring point of view. If safety, security and stability are your higher priority, than Helen’s quote will drive you back to that. Each one of us has to take inventory of what our highest priorities are and then be willing to accept that the path in front of us will bring forth opportunities to fulfill those values. Letting go of the “Yes, buts,” and the “What ifs,” becomes a spiritual practice, doing so in such a way that our emotional and physical limits aren’t triggered into such reaction that we become paralyzed.
Are you willing to do whatever it takes to step into your desires – not knowing the outcome? Are you willing to practice leaps of faith and living without doubt? A leap into faith doesn’t have to be jumping blindly off a cliff. It can be taking just one step towards what you say you want and, most importantly, being with what shows up in that very moment. For me, this is the foundation of every spiritual practice on this planet. Take the step and be with what shows up. If it feels too scary, take a smaller step and get support from a community, support group or coach. Hear the voice in your head that says – “Yes, but, I should be further along;” or “It shouldn’t take this long, there must be an easier way!” You’ll hear many conversations like this; most often that is your ego talking. In these moments you have to choose to choose to choose, in service to what you say you want, whether that’s stability and security or something else. And, there is no right way and no wrong way. It’s just the practice of taking the first step, then taking the next first step.
To answer Ginger’s question specifically: It doesn’t matter if you choose to stay in your current situation or choose to change careers. By truly committing to either you’ll begin a spiritual practice. This will include accepting and allowing what is, letting go of what is no longer, intentionally living into your choice, one moment at a time, and letting go of the conversation that you should have or could have chosen differently. Again, there is no right or wrong way; there is just you choosing to choose what you choose and practice living into that, one step at a time.