Gypsying

I wondered if “employment gypsy” or “job gypsy” might be a term in use already. Upon looking around online for slang terms regarding those who move in and out of jobs the way nomadic peoples move in and out of living spaces, I found interesting facts about types of employment common among various travelling gypsy groups in the world, but also a blog for a woman who refers to herself as a “Business Gypsy.”

As with many things, I realized I am not alone.

Some days I feel the regret of not having a MS or a Ph. D. by now. I regret not having decided on medical school way back in my early twenties so that I could now in my later thirties be conducting research in a medical laboratory somewhere. I regret not having returned to school five years ago to obtain a degree and licensing for counseling. I wonder how life might be if I had settled down much longer ago into a stable, long-term career.

Yet I admit there has been some amount of exhilaration in being exposed to many different work environments, learning how to perform new tasks, operating under different styles of management, and adapting my mind to new types of information. Each time I have left a job, whether something as practical as housekeeping or as scientific as working with laboratory specimens, I take along information, ideas, and experiences that I’m able to plug into other information, ideas, and experiences in other times and places of my life. I feel enriched.

Since I’m not yet licensed in what I would like to do with my life in career terms, I have continued to indulge in the recent years in moving into new jobs when I need a change, and out when I need further experience. I look for a new environment, research its missions and values, and assess what I can learn from and offer to it.

I took an online quiz once to predict health problems I may encounter due to life stressors; each stressor added a point, and of course the more points added up, the more likely you’re looking at adverse health effects up to and including heart attacks and cancer. One of the factors you are supposed to give yourself a point for was “having left your job for new emploment within the past year.” Uh-oh. One can only imagine what adverse health effects might result from five job changes in one year. My life span should be fairly reduced.

But I enjoy the changes. I look to them to grow as a person and as a professional.

There is absolutely something to be said for developing a career early, and maintaining it and having a stable income and lifestyle as the result of a stable career. I admire those who succeed in this. I admire, also, those who take risks on new career experiences that may or may not go anywhere in terms of career, but that always lead to enrichment in their lives. Myself included.

I’ve never fully agreed with the concept “have no regrets.” If we never acknowledged regret, we would not at times have the initiative needed to improve ourselves. Given that there are many things I wish I were authorized to do already (working independently in counseling), authorized to do that I will never be authorized to do (surgery or research as a MD), authorized to do that I might seek credentialing in (involvement in neuroscience), I do have some regret. I find that I’m able to quickly move past it, though, and appreciate the decisions I have made and where they have led me now, at a time in my life when I feel more able to understand myself and others, and therefore apply skills that I do possess–after years of mindful honing, working out the shape they need for effectiveness–to be of benefit to others. I’m able to find contenment and excitement in returning to school for licensure as a clinical counselor, and in working toward certification in meditation and yoga. I’m able to be appreciative of the freedom this world gives us to find our dreams at our own paces, our personal rates of understanding, want, and need.

There are so many experiences in this world, and we are all entitled to follow whatever path or paths bring us where we want and need to be. There is nothing quite as nice as doing something with your life that brings you meaning and happiness in way that fits you, and opens your heart to the amazing presence of your life.

who-works-inspirational-quotes-for-funny-positive-attitude_5007301506303103

A Thought On People

As quoted by author Markus Zusak:

“Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.”
― Markus Zusak, I Am the Messenger

I will jokingly say at times that people are my favorite animal, but there is truth in it. Often, I do look around at all of us, notice the things about us that make us beautiful creatures despite any ugliness we are capable of, as individuals, as a species. There is an unlimited beauty underlying everything. Us included. Sometimes we watch each other with suspicion, hate, fear, envy, negative judgement.

Other times we see each other and are reminded of our human beauty.

two%20people%20dancing

Image courtesy of Beliefnet.

Ahimsa (Non Injury)

The word of the day is ahimsa. It has been drifting serenely–in little ripples like a pond surface lightly touched or the easiest of breeze on clear nights–and purposefully through my mind for days now. I feel like I’m settled onto it, drifting as well in a snug and smooth-sailing, non-roiling vessel, so incredibly full of serenity and refusal to injure and all other good intentions toward all living things of this world.

Until “words, like violence, break the silence, come crashing in,” to quote from a classic, and in certain moments quite apt, song. In other words, this magnitude of serenity and good, healing intentions envelops me until the moment I turn a negative thought into a negative chain of words and engage in life’s simplest of wars, The Argument.

Life can benefit from the act of disagreeing, we do learn, grow, and actually increase durability and intimacy in our relationships through the art of disagreement. Disagreement as an art shows us how to agree when we disagree, to dislike the idea but not the person, to operate with tolerance and accept diversity of personality for the richness that diversity provides. When we learn to disagree effectively, when we maintain both composure and compassion, and some integrity along with a little class, then disagreement is an art and a tool and a positive resource. If an argument evolves, so be it; sometimes it is a good emotional release and still leads us to opening our eyes to a new perspective once all simmers down. When argument evolves into the realms of untrained aggression though, then it is just untrained aggression–a misguided use of passion that grows beyond our control and is more inclined to harm another. To hurt. To injure. If the injury avoids manifesting in the physical, then it is an emotional/mental/spiritual type of injury. It is neither a comfortable or healthy state of disarray to be left in, most definitely not able to be classified among the good stresses we encounter.

hamster

There are many times I simply wish I could live in a world where animals talk, unicorns exist, people smile quite a bit if not all of the time, and dragons can be good friends of ours. A completely idealistic (and of course quite unreal) place of innocence.

fox_and_hound_2_02

Neverending-Story-Nightmare-Spoof-Clip-2

And so a little day of arguing can do such things to our emotional processes at times.

When I come back to myself, within this world and all of its beauty amidst imperfection, I shake away my escapist desires for blissful perfection (including unicorns, dragons, and talking, cute animals) and accept that all trials and tribulations are wonderful opportunities to learn, teach and continue building values. And ahimsa enters my mind once again and without judgement; never judging me for losing sight of its principles for a few moments, never judging me for needing to work extra hard at times to make it an action rather than an idea.

Ahimsa means “non-injury” in the Sanskrit language. I have read about it many times over the years while studying history and spiritual practices related to Hinduism and Buddhism, in biographies of Ghandi, and in seeking inspirational humanitarian quotes to add to the collection in one of my notebooks. I crossed paths with ahimsa again in a World Religions course at a time when I had begun putting more spiritual practices into practice in my own life. It always struck me what a nice coincidence it is that the word is soft and light. Ahh-heem-sahhh. It sounds like a comfortable sigh in a sunny and quiet room inside of any comfortable, comforting place of peace. I like to combine it with my breath at times, say it quietly and with repetition, when using breathing techniques to level away daily stresses and relax. I say it also as a reminder, a post-it note stuck with a big,gold star sticker to the mind’s third eye.

Turn the other cheek. Don’t injure. I want to be a turn-the-other-cheek type of person, in the way the saying, the instruction, was intended, which biblically refers to refraining from an act of retaliation for a physical or emotional attack. I want to keep with me what I inherited from the Christian upbringing I had and all of the glorious, confusing mythology of the Bible that was an unavoidable part of the package. If my personality remains shaped in any possible way by the dogma of the religion I was born into, even though I don’t classify myself within anymore, it is that part of my personality that so dearly wants to contain every harsh word and action I have for others, that so much more dearly wants no one to feel the slightlest trickle of pain inflicted by a fellow human being. That part of me that strives to act, react, and live in peace as to avoid injurious behaviors to anything or anyone living.

Never have I been or will I be perfect. I still at times have temptations to throw down with a few words or a gesture when driving in the highly emotional space of rush hour traffic, and I did recently have to overthrow a few baby insects that appeared to be cockroaches when they showed up in our clean (very clean! I am clinically obsessive compulsive as well as Feng Shui in regard to cleanliness and organization.) apartment kitchen. Mind you, both types of situations bring me guilt and the reminder that there is room for improvement. I definitely call, as much as possible, upon my ahimsa mantra as I see myself falter in some situation with others, including in trying times of traffic, and as I look to kind options for bug removal when possible–usually a small container of any kind is good for transporting said bug to an outside realm that you might both be more comfortable with. The last spider I escorted out inherited a lovely, fragrant box from strawberry/kiwi hookah tobacco. A win-win situation, I’m guessing.

The word of every day, in any situation, should be ahimsa. It’s a good practice, and like practice implies, it means you take on trial and error and develop a skill and expect skillfulness, not perfection. And most certainly, as with anything you would develop your skills for, you don’t hate, judge, or degrade yourself if you find you are unable to maintain good form every single time. Do not give spiteful words to even your own self in those times when you skip the principles of peace you are compelled to live by and find yourself arguing or otherwise inflicting your negative energies on another fellow living being. Harsh words are harsh words; they are no more productive when we place them on ourselves. Non injury also means non-self-injury.

Practice, practice, practice and you will develop the skill for disagreeing with the least amount of negativity possible. I know I have found this to be true. I have found, most often, with consistent practice, the art of disagreement where unbridled agression is disallowed a takeover and not given the opportunity to bare its pointly little injurious teeth. Ahimsa. Non injury. It helps one find peace in this world. Especially on those days when you realize you are just not going to find a magic portal to perfection and unicorns, so you might as well settle in and get back on the horse. It’s much more real.

Maybe.

FaeUnicornwip1

“Fae and Unicorn” image courtesy of ElevenstarArt.com, a lovely art blogspot I encountered which shares the art of Rebecca Sinz. http://elvenstarart.blogspot.com/2012/06/unicorn-and-fairy-wip.html

Lyric quotation in paragraph two courtesy of Depeche Mode, “Enjoy the Silence.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMfV0sVQ_VU