When Well Known Doors Close
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
~ Robert Frost
I just finished sending the last email to the last client from the job I have held for almost six years as a career development practitioner/workshop facilitator/counsellor.
The contract is now almost over and I have been offered a temporary position doing the same at a nearby city. My (career/employment) future is uncertain.
I have enjoyed each encounter, and memorized so many names, eyes, hands, stories: I have met peoples from countries and cities I barely knew existed. Through them, I have learned about challenges and successes, dreams and hopes of a new life. I got my ears used to new accents and my eyes to beautiful manifestations of the human spectrum. I learned about occupations and professions and their jargon. I shared laughs and tears, I held hands and hugged. More than 500 human beings have met me in this tiny office: some remember me, some have written incredible letters and emails…I’ve been rewarded with crafts from Pakistan, China, Nepal…so many that I can’t count! I have discovered that the phrase “we are all one” is absolutely true..
I am deeply thankful…
As I see doors closing, I also see many tiny windows opening all around me: voices that whisper in my ears and remind me of my many interests and passions of being involved in community resilience; practical steps towards real sustainability and adaptation to this new world that is slowly and sometimes painfully, sometimes inspiringly, shaping.
It is a somewhat funny situation this I am in today: a career advisor/practitioner who is in a crossroads on her own next steps…an incredible opportunity to fully dedicate to the “Right Livelihood” as it is known in Buddhist and now Permaculture circles: dedicating ones livelihood (the “earn of a living”) to something that not only does not further the damage of the world, but also helps healing and creating good for others, including both humans (the social justice piece or People Care, as in Permaculture ethics) and non-humans (the environmental piece, or Earth Care from Permaculture, including all the beings and ecosystems)
My (current) work includes a lot of supporting humans, working with immigrants and refugees. I am also aware that I’m one of the lucky ones who still have a job (even when temporary and more challenging as I will have to commute) and at an organization that deeply respects social justice. I have options ahead.
However, there is this call, this almost “sacred mandate” that has influenced my life in the past few years that also calls for something else (or less?): dedicating fewer hours to “working for a living” and more to real impact at the three ethical levels: social (People Care), environmental (Earth Care) and future/long-term (Fair Share or Future Care)…
For the last three years, I have pushed myself beyond my own physical and emotional/intellectual and social limits to embrace other types of community involvement: I’ve presented intros and modules on Permaculture and living simpler, workshops on Food Preservation, gardening and soil. I have either organized on my own, volunteered, partnered or attended as assistant to many courses and events promoting true sustainability and community resilient. In parallel to all this, I have slowly pushed boundaries at household level to become more self-reliant and resilient as a family and myself as an individual.
This has included furthering skills learning such as getting certified as a First Aid and Emergency Preparedness trainer, Permaculture teacher, Organic Master Gardener and many other small and big skills, all connected to self-reliance and resiliency building.
In my work, I have always had honesty, fairness and caring as priority values. I tend to work really hard and beyond expectations. I am, in many ways, my own “boss”. There are, however, things I don’t want to and shouldn’t need to negotiate when choosing my next step: my impact on the environment, on other people, starting by those who are closer to me, and on my own health.
We are all here for a brief period of time. If we are lucky, we get to touch other beings’ (peoples and ecosystems) lives.
May the stars show what’s next for me…I’ll be waiting, eager to start.
“When one bases his life on principle, 99 percent of his decisions are already made”. ~Author Unknown