Pain

I know I am human today because I felt a common pain. The thing hadn\’t happened to me but I understood how it felt.

There is a thing happening to many people in our corporation. We are the competent experts who keep the company running; but not given promotional opportunity since clearly our careers are ending. It is like a death to realize you are at the end. Your career has stopped. This is pain.

I talked today to a colleague who just now experienced this problem. I also talked to her about what I am doing in my life. I realized that I am happiest when I discuss having a phase 3 of my life and a new career.

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Stability

Benedictines take vows of Obedience (to a prioress), Conversatio (conversion of morals) and Stability (to the monastery). I was in Benedictine formation and completed my novitiate. So even though I didn\’t make profession, I was completely formed by the Benedictine method. Regardless of public witness of vows, which I lack, I did write these vows out formally and make them to God. So in my heart, I made these vows.

And I\’ve never been able to escape thinking about them for more than 10 years since I made them.

I was thinking about stability this morning. I need stability in the cave of my heart and stability of intention and action. Being stable on the inside seems like it should manifest as stability on the outside. In some areas, like the engineering profession, I\’ve been an engineer my whole career. But not one employer.

So this morning, my small mind was continuing a struggle which is not a struggle. See, I\’m a process safety engineer. I live in Houston where job openings abound. I\’ve almost been with my current employer for 5 years. My small mind wants to apply for a job or two, just to see how much more money I could make. That is a ridiculous idea. I make enough money and I have a great job.

As I type this, I can feel the agitation of my small mind that continuously struggles. Why does it do that? What is the root cause?

For one, there is a dopamine reward cycle involved with achieving change. another dopamine reward cycle involved with self importance, and winning. It is very difficult to resist the lure of dopamine.

I don\’t want to make a change. But I don\’t know how to calm my small mind. Usually, I follow the small mind\’s dictates eventually. But this goes against stability at the present moment. And I want stability in order to continue putting my energy into contemplation and stability of heart. I don\’t want to waste my energy making job changes. My intention is spiritual growth and my actions should be in that direction; not following the small mind and achieving in the world.

How will I contain the constant agitation of my small mind? There are more agitations than job changes. I will continue to return to my prayer word. I will continue to stick to my habits of Conversatio, spiritual study, contemplative silence. I know this is obedience to the Spirit and not the small mind. I am spirit, not a small mind.

Self Actualization

It is Saturday. I\’m about to head out to the park for a few miles. But first, I was doing my spiritual studies and pondering A Course in Miracles. I am reading a book by Marianne Williamson on that topic and that is where the \”self actualization\” came from; as I need to clarify exactly what I want from the universe.

I\’ve been in conflict my entire life about my career. It has always been just a job and source of money; not something I\’m devoted to. Yet I work amongst people who give every appearance of being devoted to their work. I do hold up my end of the productive output at work but I do it just because I do, not because I love it. And the rest of my life has always been my interest: spiritual studies and endurance athlete.

So, I need time to live my life and I continually protect myself from time at work overtaking the daily training. This tension of time causes a mental conflict. This topic came up in a conversation with my boss this week who notices that I am always protecting my life from work. So now I am afraid of him. Today is the boss\’ Christmas party and I know I would only go in order to please him.

But as I pondered this tension in relation to A Course in Miracles, the thought struck me: either stand in your truth or continue to play games. How powerful. I don\’t think I\’d lose my job over this because I am a productive team member. ¬†Accepting average-ness at work is ok because the vast majority of the engineers stay at the level I\’m at for decades and then retire.

But my line in the sand says something.

I need to choose a path: self actualize as an endurance athlete and ACIM scholar or self actualize as an engineer. I need to stand in my truth and give a clear answer to the universe about it. But I also need to ponder my truth more deeply. It certainly is not framed in form but content; and each day can deliver content regardless of form. What is it I really want?

The conundrum continues. I need to go running now.