Archive for the 'mid-life career change' Category

Do Your Work With Your Whole Heart

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Do your work with your whole heart, and you will succeed. (from my fortune cookie)

I love this fortune. It’s so simple yet very meaningful.

The best way to deal with these challenging times is to find the joy in what you do - and put your whole heart into it. If the job isn’t you’re idea of perfect, and you have no other choices, find something, even the smallest part of that job and find the joy in it. The more you focus on the joy, the more things you’ll find that you enjoy in that job.

It’s no different than when we were little and we would tense-up when the doctor went to give us an injection. Tensing up only made it hurt more, but no matter how many times Mom told us that we continued to tense-up when were given injections. Now, as adults we know to look away and remain relaxed when the needle is inserted and we barely feel the pinch, if at all.

When you put your whole heart into something it becomes a joy to do. And, whatever is a joy to do flows with ease. When we tense up with negative emotions such as fear, or anger, for example, we dam-up the flow and actually end up making things worse in our lives.

When in doubt follow the path of least resistance. Resistance is painful, acceptance peaceful.

Now Is The Time to Do What You Love

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Recently, I dreamed of aunt who’d passed away that I’d been very close to.

I was driving around the old neighborhood in Yonkers when I saw her standing outside a local delicatessen, laughing and speaking animatedly to a friend. I was so excited to see her again and at the prospect of hearing her laugh - an infectious laugh she was famous for. I rushed to find a parking spot so that I could go to her immediately.

When I arrived at the deli her face lit up at seeing me, and she smiled warmly. I was about to embrace her when a business colleague appeared out of no where saying he needed my immediate attention. I was annoyed, but felt duty-bound to help him with this work related problem. I turned to my aunt and gestured that I’d be with her in a minute. I hoped to be able to deal with the work issue as quickly as possible so I could get on with spending some quality time with her.

After a few moments with my colleague the crisis was solved and I turned my attention back to my aunt, but she was gone! I was heart-broken to find that she’d disappeared and furious with the work colleague who’d diverted my attention.

When I awoke I was very disturbed about the dream. I decided I would meditate on it to see why it had upset me so much. As I relaxed an answer came to me.

I was upset because, once again, I’d allowed work to interfere with something I loved dearly. I realized that this dream was just a short-hand for my entire working life. I’d never allowed myself to pursue what I loved doing, except for the 3 years I took off to pursue my education, which were 3 of the happiest years I can remember. I’d always placed my passion for writing on the back burner and thought it insignificant compared to the “real” work that paid me well. I also realized I had no one to blame but myself - I could have told my work colleague to wait, but I hadn’t.

I’ve decided my dream is very important and urgent message I must listen to. It’s time to put all my energy into doing what I love - do it or die trying! I’d been contemplating going back into Private Banking again since it would give me a healthy and steady income, but when I think about actually having to do it, I feel weighted down and horribly depressed. I feel the message for me is, “Do what you love - and do it now.”

Has anyone else had a similar experience, or dream they’d like to share?

The Sky is Not Falling

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

Yesterday, I heard from someone looking to buy a new home closer to his work. He shared some exciting news; his current home had sold in only a few weeks and would be closing by Labor Day.

This is great news. Why don’t we hear this from media? The fact is homes are selling, and some still sell very quickly. There is good news out there - even if we have to dig it up ourselves.

Our economy reflects our collective beliefs. It will change when we change. Look around you and find some good news of your own to celebrate. Do it now, and don’t be surprised if you soon begin to notice more, and more things that are going right, rather than wrong.

Is Advertising Making Us Poor?

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

I read somewhere that on average Americans are exposed to between 500 to 1000 advertising messages per day. This bombardment comes to us in from television, radio, magazines, newspapers, the sides of buses, taxis and trucks, labels, logos, T-shirts and the Internet, to name a few plus other sources I may have forgotten to include. Advertisers spend billions of dollars each year to compel us to buy their products – and it seems to be working. We are a nation of debtors living in a nation deep in debt.

This statistic about advertising made me think of how much stuff I already own. In my adult life I’ve moved 8 times, and each time I threw, or gave away things I was no longer using, or had never used in the first place. After getting rid of these possessions not only did I feel lighter and freer, but I never missed them, and not for a second did I wish I’d kept any of it. The other thing that amazed me was that when I went to move the next time, I’d acquired as much stuff as I’d given away all over again.

I’ve now gotten to the point in my life where I no longer wish to add to my possessions. I’ve come to see that owning more stuff makes me less happy as I have to find the means to safeguard all of it. I’m tired of being driven to distraction by all the advertising pushing us to buy and own more and more. In a way, I think all this stuff clutters the mind and obscures the simple essence of what life is all about; enjoying time together and making memories with the people you love and care about.

Currently, the advertisement I find most annoying is one for Macy’s Department Store where every celebrity hawking a brand is in the store checking their wares. I absolutely hate this commercial. I am not interested in making any of these celebrities any richer, nor am I interested in buying their products. When did we all become such suckers that the mere dangling of some shiny object in front of us by some celebrity makes us run out and buy it?

The other thing that drives me crazy - store sales during holidays like Fourth of July, and Memorial Day, and Presidents Day, etc. Just because the store is having a sale must we run out and buy more of what we probably already have? I cannot think of a worse place to spend an afternoon on a beautiful day than inside a mall.

I can and do buy things when I need them, but I have to really need it. In these difficult economic times, I’m thinking more about my purchases and putting back more things than I buy. You can absolutely live without most of the stuff you take to the check-out counter, or order online. And, you can absolutely be happier when you aren’t receiving credit card bills in the mail that you have no way of paying off. Think about it – as soon as you put something on credit you become a slave to it. Is that the kind of life you want?

How much more precious time could you spend with friends and family if you weren’t shopping, storing, cleaning and maintaining more stuff you probably don’t need in the first place?

Unplugging From Materialism is No Easy Task.

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Pure Divine Love is no meek priest OR tight banker. It will smash all your windows. And only then throw in the holy gifts. Hafiz, I Heard God Laughing

Since my last post I received an email and one comment regarding selling my house that I wanted to address since both had to do with “letting go of stuff.” Here are the excerpts:

“One question you could perhaps ask yourself is - If the market were strong today would I definitely sell? Is it just the fact that the market is down - or is it really that you do not want to give up living in the house? I am in the middle of reading Eckhart Tolle’s book that Oprah has been doing the online class for (A New Earth - Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose). It’s really thought provoking.”

&

“I think that your dream was a clear sign that you need to let go of the house and move on to your passion. Trust that things will fall into place to support that choice, which I hear is the one you want to make.

Actually, what you are teaching others is to not make “stuff” the focus of their world because it doesn’t feed the soul. The house that you have become attached to is actually “stuff” too. It is weighing you down with responsibility and making you very unhappy. My advice is to let it go, sell it, get out from under it. There really is no right timing–follow your heart–your passion!”

First, thank you both very much for your insights. I agree that my dream was a clear sign to make the career change.

It’s also true that I’ve become attached to this house. I can go on living here as long as I stay in my current job where my earning potential is greater – and that’s what is weighing me down. Originally, I’d planned on selling after my prepayment penalty expired, and I’d finished the renovations. But, when the market stalled in 2006 I decided to wait to see if it would pick up again and that’s why I’m still here, plus by then I’d developed another attachment - making a profit on the sale. So, the slow market does play a factor in my reluctance to sell right now. If the market were appreciating this decision would be far less difficult. Now, I’m hoping to break even – a new attachment.

I’m almost finished reading A New Earth. I’m finding it much easier to read than The Power of Now. I haven’t done all the online sessions with Oprah and Eckhart, but the ones I did view answered many questions. His explanation of how our egos need to create attachments and identities to stay ‘alive’ is really an eye-opener. I’m working on peeling away the layers of attachment I’ve developed. It’s not an overnight process. Knowing your attached is the first step; detaching takes getting used to.

Over the years I’ve read books by various authors on the topic of awakening from the illusion of the ego, but understanding something intellectually and living it are two different things. It takes mindfulness and a deep spiritual maturity. The first big detachment I experienced was leaving a private banking career to go back to school. It took me years to detach enough to make that decision. The greatest tool I found to date is meditation. Without it I don’t think I could have detached from the identity of my former career. All I can say is that I still have a long, long way to go, but I view each day as an opportunity to try again.

To smashing windows!

P.S. This house has 35 windows if you count the garage.