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Listening to My Heart, Surrendering to Pain – Part 1 June 14, 2013

Posted by Living Abundance in Uncategorized.
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What do you do when listening to your heart means facing incredible fear and pain? Do you turn toward the fear, trusting that your heart is being aligned with the force of love? Do you give into the pain when the pain of not following your own heart is many times more unbearable?

Several months ago, I landed my first job out of university and moved to the city. My new job has been in an office for part time hours, where I spend the majority of my work indoors staring at a computer. The long hours spent indoors has meant that I had to get out of the city as much as I could. I started to get sick of my surroundings after any length of time. I took the few chances I could to escape the city and stay a weekend at my farm several hours away.

When I was back in the wilderness, I would be healed from the sickness that too much city had created in me. This sickness was simply due to being separated from Earth, from the ground of my being that is real and wholesome. I experienced healing as both joyful and painful at the same time.

Healing and being restored to wholeness was joyful when I could again rest in what felt real and true. But healing was also painful because it revealed that I had a sickness or a wound up until that point that needed to be healed. Otherwise the sickness would be hidden and denied for me to see, festering below awareness. This wound had to be hidden or avoided in order for me to function in an urban setting.

After many experiences of the same painful revelation of wounds that seemed to happen in such a similar repeated pattern, I started to question why I was letting this happen to me. Why was I allowing the wound to be inflicted in me in the first place? If this is so painful, why do I continue to repeat the same behaviour that creates it to begin with?

I wanted freedom from suffering, from going around and around in circles of healing and pain. I wanted out. I wanted to cut the pain at the root and avoid the whole process altogether.

The problem was that I felt completely trapped and stuck in this cycle of suffering. I didn’t feel that I had any real choice at all but to stay living in the city. My education and training meant that the jobs that would match my qualifications would be almost all found in larger urban centres. If I wanted to make a “living,” I had to do it in a city.

(Note: Many people have suggested to me the option of living on an acreage just outside of the city and commuting into work, but for the past several years I have decided not to take that option myself. Right now, I consider it unethical for me to use anything other than human-powered or public transportation for daily commuting, due to the effects on my health and our environment.)

Eventually I started to question my hard and firm decision to only make a living in the city. I started to chip away at the huge block of stone that was my firm resolve. I wondered if I really had to earn money using my education and training.

As soon as I really started to seriously ask myself this question, I suddenly felt an intense amount of fear and panic. To consider abandoning my education and training was at the same time to consider killing the professional self, so to speak. The professional self represented the image of Andrea who was a psychology student, a researcher, a master’s degree graduate. That self had all of the labels I had attached to myself as part of my university career, such as smart, intelligent, knowledgeable, resourceful, educated, analytical, and expert.

The professional self had so much invested because I had built up that self image through so many years of very hard work. I had to put that huge investment to good use by working in my field of training. I had to earn money back that had been invested in paying tuition. To throw away or kill that professional self would be similar to throwing away all of that hard work and effort. If I threw away that self, all of the labels attached to that self would be thrown away, too.

To be continued next post…

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Comments»

1. Ella - June 15, 2013

I was really touched by the last paragraph – I went through a similar process a few years back and I’ve still not completely let go of that professional identity. I still say: “I used to be a counsellor (psychotherapist is US English)… I don’t do that anymore”. I am SO LOOKING FORWARDS to the next post.

With metta,
🙂

Living Abundance - June 15, 2013

Hi Ella, Thanks very much for your comments, its great to hear that you can relate to my writing. Sorry for breaking up the posts, I know cliffhangers can be annoying, but its the only way I can write these longer stories that need to come out! Don’t worry, I will have much more to say about working with different self images in the next posts (at least two more). I hope you will find the upcoming posts just as engaging. – Andrea

2. Laurie - June 18, 2013

When I retired from teaching I feared the loss of my identity. If I was no longer a teacher then who would I be? What began, and is still ongoing, was reprioritizing, rebalancing, and redefining success. To put it more simply I feel that it is reinventing oneself.

Living Abundance - June 18, 2013

Hi Laurie, I completely understand where you are coming from. I’m sure those fears come to anyone who is facing retirement. I’m happy to hear you are enjoying the process of redefining who you are, and I hope it has been rewarding thus far! Thanks for commenting. 🙂


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