Over the years, I have gone in many directions with my interests! From the outside this probably has looked like a disarray of ultimately unrelated jobs, passions and hobbies. Personally, my inner landscapes could be compared to the rotating programming within The Maze Runner, or even the clock like landscape of The Hunger Games (of course, without the severe brutality these rotations induced). Seasons change and I heed the call to begin working on new projects, or new ideas, because something within me stirs and wants to begin grappling with some aspect of myself, my community, of nature, in being a leader or understanding our divine nature.
Eventually the internal rotation of these interests will begin to dissolve, showing up a little differently in my life. It’s already becoming lighter, these different aspects beginning to merge in order to make up a whole like this world has yet to see before. The journey has taught me some very important ideas around how we are taught, and as an educator have driven me towards more excitement around concepts such as whole systems thinking.
In our traditional education system, subject matter is often times served cold. Let’s say our education was given to us like a meal. We have carrots, onions, garlic, chicken, olive oil and rice, maybe some rosemary, each representing a different subject. Combined, there are a variety of delicious entrees we could make out of these ingredients. Sauteed, baked, grilled, perhaps a hot soup… We could go in countless directions with how to prepare our dish. Instead though, we are given each singularly. In writing class, I am handed some chicken. In math class I am handed some onion (and who just wants to eat straight onion? No wonder math left such a bitter taste in my mouth). In Social Studies I am handed rice. We continue on and each subject hands us a component of a delicious meal, but we’re never taught how to combine these ingredients to actually cook for ourselves. In so, this educational experience leaves us unsatisfied and confused about our potential. We have no idea how to apply these ingredients because we’ve never seen a complete recipe.
While we may have been handed the ingredients, we were never handed the pots/pans, a heat source and so on that would have set us up to truly thrive. Traditional education typically fails to provide resources on healthy adulting. Subjects such as how to care for your finances, how to have healthy relationships/communicate with empathy, how to handle life transitions, how to participate and build healthy community, how to heal from trauma and how to love yourself (among so many other subjects) we’re skimmed over and left to our homes and religious organizations to tend to (that obviously hasn’t collectively worked out for us very well).
Perhaps this metaphor speaks to you. As we get older, we are asked to choose a career. “I am going to be a doctor.” “I am going to be a teacher.” “I am going to be a dentist.” …We are all familiar with the basic, yet limited list we’re given as children. No one ever told us, “hey, you’re unique and special and there is something that just you are meant to accomplish in this life, therefore it hasn’t been designed yet. It is up to you to combine all the things you love, struggle with, and overcome to show the world a new kind of career path that is perfectly made just for the big, beautiful life force that is you!” While we may be a “teacher,” “police officer,” “fill in the blank” today, life always holds a much more expanded potential than we realize. If you fit into these roles, and are thriving, awesome! Just remember you are not limited to your current career- there is always room to dream bigger dreams and embody more of what you have to offer this world. This is ALL about the journey, and we always are invited to keep moving into our highest expression of who we are.
For those who still feel a bit lost, or are experiencing a stirring inside of yourself that whispers (or shouts!) of something else on the horizon, dial in! What you are doing now is EXACTLY what you’re supposed to be doing to get to that fuller, more expanded version of YOU. We are each so dynamic, but often times see ourselves through a 2-D lens. When someone asks you what do you do, we respond with the job we clock into. I may ask this question, but I am not as interested in your job as I am “what it is that moves you/inspires you/puts purpose/passion into your life?” When someone asks me what I do, often times it depends on the day and how much time I am willing to digress the many layers of who I am, and how deep I sense someone is really interested in going with me.
Depending on when you talk to me and who you are, my responses might span from “I’m an educator at the zoo” to “I’m a blogger/writer/website designer working on providing sustainable resources and inspiration” (…but what I write is often more about what seems like spirituality, than sustainability. What gives?). Maybe I’m working on one of my vivariums and spending a lot of time with my snakes and frogs. Or maybe I’m working on 500 sq. ft. of permaculture forest on the side of my house. Last year I was training to be a doula. During that time I was the Operations Coordinator of a college, and before that did conservation work and service learning with youth. Recently, I worked at a pet store for a hot minute, to gain some retail experience because I want to open up a shop one day. I also want to open up a school. I am also studying and practicing as a healer. The list of who I am, what I’ve done, what I’m interested in and how these things are/will be applied to my life is probably a bit confusing and even obnoxious when viewed from an outsider’s perspective.
So where in the heck am I going? Someone might think, “most of these things don’t relate. You have a limited amount of time. As adults, we should really get a steady job and stick with it; avoid following your whims because this would be irresponsible. You are not going to accomplish anything, because you’re spread too thin,” or “there’s no money to be made in what you want to do.” To all of this limited thinking, I say get out of here, and good riddance. I dare to follow my internal rhythms, despite what it might look like from the outside, because I trust in the internal compass which guides me. In doing so, so openly and without regard to the consequences (within reason) means to live in a quite vulnerable state. It means being okay with being wrong, occasionally failing, not always connecting deeply or purposely with those around me, and sometimes starting over or changing direction. Yet, everything I do provides me with new insights, skills and abilities, ways of seeing the world, ways of interacting with those around me and our environment in a truly POWERFUL and REVOLUTIONARY way. And NOW is the exciting time where all that searching and experience begins to come together, revealing my “true North” in a crazy, cool way.
We are capable of so much more than we realize.
Within us, as I continue to mention, are incredibly unique blueprints, different from anyone else who has ever been here or who will be here after us. Like a scavenger hunt, we must search inside of ourselves, connecting the dots, detecting trace lines between all of the different aspects of who we are and what we are capable of bringing into the world. As we do a little detective work of who we are, we will find truly original works of potential developing, ready to serve our world’s greatest needs and profound, collective healing.
Have you ever noticed how two or three seemingly separate aspects in your life, like a job you once worked, an unrelated course you may have taken and a random idea may have sprung you into trying something new in your life (mix up whatever two to three life events might make sense here, that may have got you into a new hobby, career or relationship)?. Our lives are always whispering to us the clues to our unique life fabric. The tapestries we will weave together will be truly phenomenal.