Monday, October 13, 2008

Why I'm Doing What I'm Doing

After a whirlwind finish to my oldest two kids’ high school years, the dust began to settle and I found myself anticipating the empty-nest phase of my life. I knew that it was time for me to figure out what I wanted to do with my time, what direction I wanted to head in, what my next step would be. I realized that I had all of these bits and pieces of things I wanted to “do” or “be” floating around in my head, but no identifiable title to tie it all together with. I knew that if I could find some way to articulate the thing that I wanted to “be”, I could figure out a way to make it happen. I searched the internet and read magazines trying to find THE thing I was looking for.

In the last year or so, one of my recurring nightmares had been me finding myself 20 years from now, still going to my current job, in my current capacity. Clearly, I could picture myself: pilled stretched out and shapeless brown cardigan; elastic-wasted polyester “slacks”; tight poodle perm; stamping “RECEIVED”, “RECEIVED”, “RECEIVED” on pile after pile of mail (I am not sure why some of my nightmares involve a tight poodle perm or finding myself in clothing I would not normally wear). Sometimes in my dream I would be covered in cobwebs.

Once I finally articulated that dream to someone else and realized how it actually sounded, I did not need Dr. Phil to tell me that I should try to focus on finding a direction to head in.

I knew that I needed to find the work that “fit” me, but not knowing how to name that work was very frustrating to me. One day I got a piece of the puzzle – I realized what it was that I was shaped to “be” after reading an article about some graduates of a program that trains people to become certified health counselors. The graduates of this program had done different things with their certification, but all were motivated by a care and concern for people, as well as a desire to see people living their lives to their fullest potential. As I read about what these people were doing and how the school had equipped them, a huge relief washed over me as I realized that I had found my “fit”.

In December of 2007 I enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, affiliated with Colombia University in New York City. Currently, I am doing mostly self-directed and distance learning. In January I will start going to the school in New York, one and sometimes two full weekends a month. I will be ready to start seeing clients by spring of 2009, and (hopefully)certified by July 2009. Figuring out the logistics of all of this still seems more than a little overwhelming and I am not exactly sure where this certification will take me, but I know that I am finally headed in the right direction.

For a long time I have viewed life as a wonderful gift we have been given. It is important that we are good stewards of this gift, taking as much care with our lives as we would with the lives of our children, or any other valuable things someone has entrusted us with. For various reasons, many people are unaware of how to do this, or don’t think that their lives are worth valuing in this way. I feel passionate about helping others realize how important good health is: body, mind and soul.

While I am very thankful for my current job, I just don’t see myself at it for years on end. I think it is so very important for us to be working on ways that we can find fulfillment in our day-to-day lives. For some, that may mean changing the way we look at food and how we feed ourselves. For others, it may be taking steps to develop healthier relationships or making your spiritual lives a bigger priority. It can also mean making a plan or setting some goals to head your career-life in a direction that brings fulfillment.

Whatever it is that you are looking for, keep at it. Don’t give up or get discouraged.

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