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Author Topic: Spiritual Beliefs and Career  (Read 6463 times)
Aisling
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harvestmoon13


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« Topic Start: May 12, 2007, 11:20:40 am »

Food for thought... I've noticed most of the talk about career and belief revolves around those horrible situations where there is a conflict between the two. 

What I'd like to hear about is the flip side of this.  Are there ways that you've been able to positively integrate your spirituality as part of your work or make it your entire life's work? 
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« Reply #1: May 12, 2007, 12:02:44 pm »


What I'd like to hear about is the flip side of this.  Are there ways that you've been able to positively integrate your spirituality as part of your work or make it your entire life's work? 

Yes and no.

Yes: My beliefs go with me wherever I go and make me a much happier person.  I've had people ask me what religion I am because I seem so happy, but I think lots of alternative people have heard this question.

Yes and no:  I was priviledged to be in on the founding of a New Age Bookstore.  For the three and a half years we were in business it was tons of fun (and work).  We gave classes like Wicca 101, divination, ritual design, etc.  I learned more than I ever would have expected, but the biggest frustration (aside from the obvious financial ones) was realizing that most people don't really want to take charge of their lives.  They say they do, but really what they want is to turn the decision-making over to someone else:  a teacher, a psychic reader, a guru.

Of course, some people were inspired by books and classes and understood that they were in charge of their lives.  That part of it was pure joy.  I'll always remember those years as being some of the best.  But making a LIVING is not what I did--in that regard, I failed miserably. Smiley
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« Reply #2: May 12, 2007, 12:58:05 pm »

Food for thought... I've noticed most of the talk about career and belief revolves around those horrible situations where there is a conflict between the two. 

What I'd like to hear about is the flip side of this.  Are there ways that you've been able to positively integrate your spirituality as part of your work or make it your entire life's work? 

What like opening a nice 'head' shop with lots of inscense and jewellery and stuff or making a living at some alternative therapy?

My experience is that my career and my belief system don't come into conflict. I did dream of becoming a herbalist- or to be posh phytotherapist, and was offered a place on a presitgious degree program. However I had to combine it with work and their idea of part time and mine was different.

I have come to accept because I believe in Wyrd, that where I am now is where I am meant to be and that everything I have strived for and done before has been to bring me to this point. My belief system moulds everything I do, getting to the stage in my life where I accept my belief system instead of fighting against it, has made me a much more tranquil person.

There have been times when dealing with an issue I have felt I might be able to offer an alternative solution, but I have hesitated in doing so. It is not for me to put my beliefs on someone else. As I work with very vulnerable young folk I have to be especially careful, and a lass who comes to our local moot and works also for social work hides who she is for fear of her job. She would rather work quietly for religiopus equality and tolerance all round than draw attention to a specific problem.

WHen doing my qualifications on one assesment I had to write a bit about what I felt was the quality most in line with the care values we espouse- I asked others and was told it was my empathy.
I think that my faith and beliefs are what suit me to my job, and the fact that having agreed to do a temporary 2 night contract at the unit where I work to cover sickness I am now full time days because I was asked not to leave- despite my saying they'd drag me there when hell froze over Huh

Is that a possitive for you  Smiley
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« Reply #3: May 12, 2007, 03:06:16 pm »

Are there ways that you've been able to positively integrate your spirituality as part of your work or make it your entire life's work? 

Most definately.  Live in the now and make the most of every moment...make a difference in people's lives...that's my philosophy.  My spirituality is there with me, every step of the way...no matter what I may be doing at the time.  We may not be in an 'ideal' job situation, but we can choose to make the most of it...or not. 

I'm not in an ideal job situation at the moment, but I've made some great friends...and it pays the bills, I never forget that, and it gives me tremendous confidence just knowing that I'm contributing to my family's well-being, happiness and health.  Sometimes it pays to look at the positive side of things and not to dwell on the negative. 

I've no desire to change my job at the moment...it suits me...sorta.  It's a 5 minute walk from home and it's as 'safe' and 'secure' as any job can be Smiley

Of course, I'm always  'striving' towards my 'ideal' job....

 Grin
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« Reply #4: May 13, 2007, 10:44:37 am »

What I'd like to hear about is the flip side of this.  Are there ways that you've been able to positively integrate your spirituality as part of your work or make it your entire life's work? 

I'm currently finishing graduate degree work that lets me do this. Smiley

One of my real passions, and one of my religious obligations to M'Lady has to do with a particular kind of approach to information and helping people find it. This fits incredibly well with being a librarian (or at least a number of library-related jobs.)

The bit that seems to be most important to her is about helping people learn skills to find the information they need (this is best described by the phrase "Reach out to those who thirst")

This has lead me away from looking at jobs relating to cataloging, corporate libraries, or things like metadata and search engine work - but that's okay. (Or, at least, *will* be okay once I get a professional level job to go with the degree: I've currently got a paraprofessional position where I get to do a lot of the stuff that matters to me, but not as much as I'd like, because I'm also doing stuff like shelving and processing.)

Interestingly enough - this doesn't mean I feel pulled to massive education in Pagan settings. (I belong to an oathbound tradition, albeit one with a strong teaching focus. I'm looking at hiving within the next year or so, and I suspect I will be leading a much smaller group, etc.) My role in those settings has turned into doing a bunch of discussion online. (hi!), and then doing much more extended work in a smallish group setting. Different focus, but it's still about giving people the tools that they're interested in working with and learning to use.
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« Reply #5: May 13, 2007, 10:55:57 am »

What I'd like to hear about is the flip side of this.  Are there ways that you've been able to positively integrate your spirituality as part of your work or make it your entire life's work? 

I work in finance, which oddly enough requires alot of patience and compassion. Yes the numbers are just that.. numbers, but the amount of pain those numbers can cause a person is pretty signifigant. I use the compassion that I've learned for our fellow humans quite a bit. I wouldn't be as empathic if I didn't follow this path, not only to eachother but to the land. It is interesting.

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Aisling
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harvestmoon13


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« Reply #6: May 13, 2007, 11:12:13 am »

I learned more than I ever would have expected, but the biggest frustration (aside from the obvious financial ones) was realizing that most people don't really want to take charge of their lives.  They say they do, but really what they want is to turn the decision-making over to someone else:  a teacher, a psychic reader, a guru.

I've had that experience in the process of doing healing and cleansing work for others.  It's not a career and it's only something I will do if someone approaches me and asks for help.  I've found that a lot of folks want me to do either the motherly "kiss it and make it all better" thing or the priestly "I absolve you of your wrong-doing" without ever taking any responsibility for their own well-being or actions.  Taking responsibility means exposing yourself to pain, hurt, and potentially draining situations, not to mention deeply examining what you're doing. So many people want a quick fix without the "drama".  It's beyond frustrating when you're the teacher, guru, reader, healer, etc...  Angry <Stepping off my soapbox now>
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Zahirah
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« Reply #7: May 14, 2007, 02:30:59 pm »

Are there ways that you've been able to positively integrate your spirituality as part of your work or make it your entire life's work? 

I like to think so.  Check out my Chaos Shrine I erected in my cubicle.  Wink  Of course, now Cthulhu has a beanie pink flamingo sitting atop his head, and I have more dragons sitting on the top shelf.  People used to walk by my cubicle, pointing and asking "what is that?!", to which I'd reply "that's my shrine to Chaos."  Nobody asks me questions like that anymore, they're quite used to me by now.  Kind of worries me. . .

On a serious note, while my personal rituals and conversations with my deities are done in private, I strive to integrate my spirituality into every single facet of my life.  My niche apparently is to speak truth to power, question authority, and to tear down inefficient, broken processes and aid in creating something better in its place.  These views are why I've been hired, as well as why I've been fired.  (Apparently, there are some 'powers' who do not like it when people point out flaws in the system, even if it is done privately and in the most gentlest manner possible.  Meh, go figure.)  These acts integrate both my Discordianism philosophy as well as devotions in serving my Kemetic deities in ways that both honor Them and emulate Them, while at the same time benefitting the community at large. 

Since I take my spirituality with me everywhere I go, I am able to integrate it into every job I've ever had.  I've been heralded for my fearlessness while in the presence of celebrities and head honchos of ranging clout; I defer them the respect deserved for their position, but I'm not afraid to (respectfully) question or correct them.  It makes people uncomfortable, but it's only when people are uncomfortable that things will ever change.  Plus, apparently, many head honchos of ranging clout LIKE IT when people bring contradictory information to their attention.  Too many bow to their whims that they're not always sure they're getting all of the correct information.  They know that if they ask me what I think, I'll tell them.  I may not always be right, as there may be key information I lack, but I'm honest, and many appreciate that.

The ones that dont can suffer the wrath of my plushy Cthulhu.
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« Reply #8: May 14, 2007, 03:08:42 pm »

What I'd like to hear about is the flip side of this.  Are there ways that you've been able to positively integrate your spirituality as part of your work or make it your entire life's work? 

I run my own business so as to do just that. I have always been too bloody minded to work for anyone else, this is my second career and my former was my own business as well.

My old career (training horses and riders for 3 Day Eventing) was created because:

1. It allowed me to ride 4 - 5 horses a day, which was my passion and develops intuition.

2. It allowed my growing children to never go to daycare, they simply came out to 53 acres to play everyday after school. I was a horribly neglected child and vowed I would always be available to my kids, being my own boss allowed that to happen.

3. It allowed me to teach my kids about all the wild herbs and critters in the wooded part of the ranch, to respect Nature and to 'talk' to animals (of course they all had ponies), birds and bugs and to be directly involved with each outdoor season.

4. It allowed my kids to grow up in a wealthy part of the country and attend excellent schools (most of my clients were very wealthy) and grow up surrounded like-minded (read Pagan hippies) people so our beliefs did not stand out as odd or unusual. Their elementary school celebrated Winter Solstice and the Equinoxes, had an organic garden, and was heavy on field trips. It even put on it's own Renaissance Faire as well to raise money! I never 'told' my kids they were Pagan, I let them make their own choices, but they all grew up aware of the natural world around them as simply part of life.

My business now allows me to:

1. Support Pagan celebrations and create Pagan friendly products.

2. Allows us to be exactly who we are; me, a weird old lady with grey braids down to my waist, Hunny Bunny, a strange old geiser with greying hair he has to get out of the way to buckle his belt.

 3. Hire multiracial, tattooed and multicolored dread-locks folks to work for us.

4. Create products that celebrate and honor the Earth (i.e. I deal with fair trade companies only, use natural renewable raw materials, recycle, include barter as a viable option whenever possible, drive a van that has excellent mileage and can use biodiesel etc.). My life philosophy does happen to be earth- centered, I know of course that many Pagan beliefs are not.

5. Make choices on where our business will go based on our ethics.

I know working for yourself is not for everyone, but for us it works.
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« Reply #9: May 14, 2007, 03:12:11 pm »

My niche apparently is to speak truth to power, question authority, and to tear down inefficient, broken processes and aid in creating something better in its place.  These views are why I've been hired, as well as why I've been fired. 

This is an honest question and is not meant to be antagonistic, but how can we be sure that we're nudging authority in a positive way?  By this I mean that some people can question authority and rules in a way that brings positive change; others question the status quo in a way that brings division and actually hurts the organization's mission. 

I guess that one way I try test my questioning is to analyze my true intent (what's in it for me?)  Sometimes, I see that I'm questioning because I want everyone else to know I'm smart  Embarrassed ; other times, I realize that I wasn't as knowledgeable about the group's mission or history as I thought I was.  Sometimes, my questions seem really valid and motivated by positive factors.

How can one be sure where the line is between leader and trouble-maker?

« Last Edit: May 14, 2007, 03:19:00 pm by Star, Reason: Fixing quote code. » Logged

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« Reply #10: May 14, 2007, 03:46:33 pm »

This is an honest question and is not meant to be antagonistic, but how can we be sure that we're nudging authority in a positive way?  By this I mean that some people can question authority and rules in a way that brings positive change; others question the status quo in a way that brings division and actually hurts the organization's mission. 

How can one be sure where the line is between leader and trouble-maker?

Not antagonistic at all!  In fact, that is a VERY good question!  Here's how I see it:

Structures are built upon foundations, then things are added to the structure making it taller, rising up and up.  Nudging authority rattles the structure, gives things a little shake.  If the foundation the structure is built upon is sturdy and strong, the structure will survive.  Maybe a piece may fall off here or there, but the structure stays strong.  This is a good thing, and is validation for those invested in the structure.

If the foundation the structure sits on is weak, or doesn't exist at all, then the structure will collapse.  This is also a good thing, although the result may seem violent or even possibly unnecessary.  With the structure collapsed, it allows those invested in the structure to rebuild, this time creating a strong and sturdy foundation taken from lessons learned the first time around.  The structure can be rebuilt, bigger, better, stronger, and when the next rattle comes, the structure will remain.

Departments, teams, corporations, organizations, etc, should not be treated with kid gloves for fear of rattling the structure and causing the whole thing to collapse.  Doing so will only prolong the inevitable, and sometimes its best to collapse and restructure early on, than wait until it happens when it is more costly and adversely affects innocent bystanders.

Also, when the rattle comes from the inside, by one of the departments' own people, it also allows the department to mitigate the damage so everything is transparent to the customer or stakeholders.  The structural damage can be handled quietly and internally, which is infintely better than a public fallout in front of the customer.

I am reminded of a class exercise where everybody was given a stack of printer paper (recycled), and our task was to - in groups - create a structure out of this paper.  The goal was to create the tallest paper structure we could; however, each structure was tested by dropping a folded dollar bill on top.  If the paper structure remained standing, it was measured, and a winner was declared.

The tallest structure, visually, collapsed over quickly when the dollar bill was dropped.  Other structures remained standing.  One structure, while not the tallest, it was certainly in the top three, was strong enough to remain standing even when a hard-cover textbook was placed on top.  (That was my group's attempt. *flex* TECH GEEKS ROCK!)  We were confident in our structure because with each new level we created, we tested the structural integrity before creating the next.  We could have added to the structure indefinitely, given additional time.

That is the role of the departmental troublemaker -- to test the structure.  Of course, part of the structure's damage mitigation plan may be to fire the troublemaker, that is a risk we take when we challenge the status quo. 
« Last Edit: May 14, 2007, 03:51:49 pm by Zahirah, Reason: Edited to correct typos. » Logged

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Aisling
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« Reply #11: May 14, 2007, 03:55:04 pm »

The ones that dont can suffer the wrath of my plushy Cthulhu.
I love it! Wherever did you find him?!?

To clarify... the plush, not Cthulhu himself.  Grin
« Last Edit: May 14, 2007, 03:57:33 pm by Aisling_Faa, Reason: Clarification » Logged

Aisling
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« Reply #12: May 14, 2007, 03:59:35 pm »

My business now allows me to:

1. Support Pagan celebrations and create Pagan friendly products.

2. Allows us to be exactly who we are; me, a weird old lady with grey braids down to my waist, Hunny Bunny, a strange old geiser with greying hair he has to get out of the way to buckle his belt.

 3. Hire multiracial, tattooed and multicolored dread-locks folks to work for us.

4. Create products that celebrate and honor the Earth (i.e. I deal with fair trade companies only, use natural renewable raw materials, recycle, include barter as a viable option whenever possible, drive a van that has excellent mileage and can use biodiesel etc.). My life philosophy does happen to be earth- centered, I know of course that many Pagan beliefs are not.

5. Make choices on where our business will go based on our ethics.

I know working for yourself is not for everyone, but for us it works.

That's a beautiful thing!  If everyone could be so fortunate (or determined!), the world would be a happier place.
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« Reply #13: May 14, 2007, 04:11:25 pm »

I love it! Wherever did you find him?!?

To clarify... the plush, not Cthulhu himself.  Grin

Several places!  I got mine at GiveMeToys.com, but ToyVault.com also has a very nice selection.  I also found a stash of different Cthulhus at a comic book store.  I almost picked up a Secret Agent Cthulhu for the boyfriend, as the Cthulhu resembles a character from Resevoir Dogs.
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Aisling
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« Reply #14: May 14, 2007, 04:16:49 pm »

Several places!  I got mine at GiveMeToys.com, but ToyVault.com also has a very nice selection.  I also found a stash of different Cthulhus at a comic book store.  I almost picked up a Secret Agent Cthulhu for the boyfriend, as the Cthulhu resembles a character from Resevoir Dogs.

Thank you!  I have some birthday shopping to do... tee hee.
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