Tuesday, February 3, 2009

To Thine Own Self Be True? Or Not?

Janie saw her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches.
From Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

More to this job hunt business than I thought. Perhaps I shouldn’t be putting so much thought into it. But after years of pursuing my passion and seeking contentment within myself, seems I should be able to employ the skills and smarts I’ve compiled in the past twenty years. How do I bottle that and put it out for sale?

I recently completed a study on individuation. A Carl Jung word created to describe the process of becoming aware of oneself and discovering your true being. I am not a philosopher. Nor am I a big fan of the entanglement of long words. Saying the word “individuation” tripped me up, hindering my understanding of what I was supposed to be learning.

As I searched for a simpler definition it finally dawned on me that this concept wasn’t anything different than a year-long study I completed some eleven, twelve years ago. Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach – a book that changed my life. Prior to that journey, several moves, nine years of diaper changes and hours spent pushing boys in a swing brought me to an eclectic mix of uncertainty regarding myself: a lover of Andrew Wyeth as well as the light and color of Renoir. Lover of the tall spires of a larkspur along with a compact bed of waving pansies. Lover of Earl Gray tea or a shot of tequila.

By following the simple processes Breathnach proposed, like listing daily gratitudes (which some days consisted of 'The sun came up' or 'Thank God the dog only goes into heat every six months’) and the illustrated journal (magazine pictures of things I loved or simply caught my eye), I noticed a pattern. A road map of sorts, that even though I was all over the place, a connection of my sundry likes existed. With that new knowledge of inner self, I pursued many of my passions—like writing—and found gratification and comfort in the pursuit.

Where does that success serve me in finding a job? Can I find work with a steady paycheck that holds true to my authentic self? My passion? My progress in the individuation process? Do I sling hamburgers for a paycheck? Or does it simply depend on how hungry we get? What's your answer?


  1. Hey, don't forget, Lover of the vino. While sitting on the patio, overlooking your dock, under a full summer moon. Oh, wait. That's me enjoying your stuff...

    I wish I had the answer -- the easy one, at least. I am still groping for how I can combine my art, my passion, with a paycheck. So far, it's been a dismal match, and I've come so far down this road that I'm currently somewhat directionless.

    Is it ever easy? Is it ever a clear vision? Why have we set ourselves up, society-wise, in a system that demands we do things we prefer not to (or hate) instead of the things that bring us joy AND money together.

    All right, who's in charge???

  2. The easy answer to this question is that you must be "she who faces reality". You gotta eat so just scatter shot far and wide and trust that God will guide you to the right target. You are not alone with this. . .

  3. Yes, how true and wise to remember that. Why, oh why could I not have been a math major? Seems everything would fit neatly in that world. I hate reality. Scatter shot without a clear vision. Okay.


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