The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” – C.G. Jung
In the tapestry of human existence, our professions often weave intricate threads into the fabric of our identity. The roles we play in society, the titles we hold, and the responsibilities we shoulder become not just a means of livelihood but an integral part of how we perceive ourselves. This entanglement of identity with profession can lead to profound grief when we decide to embark on a new path, especially one that challenges societal norms or is perceived as a departure from our established trajectory.
At times, this journey invites us to traverse unknown landscapes and embrace roles that challenge the very core of our identity. My journey involved the transition from the noble mantle of a teacher to the compassionate realm of a caregiver, and my path to self-discovery was illuminated in that sweet spot where both professions collided.
This shift in my 50s from the revered profession of teaching to the undervalued role of a caregiver was both agonizing and complicated. In this metamorphosis, my ego, that complex construct of self-importance, had become inseparably intertwined with my professional identity and thrived on external validation together with societal recognition. It relished the applause and admiration garnered from the roles I played and felt threatened and bruised when I was no longer held in high esteem.
In the realm of caregiving, a profoundly humane endeavour, my ego was challenged by society with its myriad perspectives, which seemed to veil the sanctity of caregiving with a shroud of undervaluation. The perception of stepping into a role considered “beneath” my prior profession cast a shadow on my soul, and in so doing obscured the innate light that wanted to radiate through my actions.
To liberate the soul from the clutches of this dark cloud of grief, I embarked on a spiritual journey of self-discovery and transcendence. Realizing that the ego, though a facet of my being, is not my entirety, helped me to unravel the threads that had me tethered to the past.
The ego is a passenger on the journey of life, not the captain.
At the heart of this transformation lies the practice of mindfulness and self-awareness. By turning inward and examining the motivations behind my grief, I started to uncover the layers of attachment to external validation.
Gratitude became a potent elixir on my journey. Gratitude for the experiences of the past, for the growth that it had facilitated, and for the newfound opportunities that had arisen in the present. Cultivating gratitude allowed me to shift my focus from what was lost to what has been gained, from my ego’s lamentations to my soul’s expansion.
Meditation also emerged as a guiding star in this quest for liberation. As I practised sitting in stillness I observed the fluctuations of my mind, the whispers of my ego, and the deeper currents of my soul. Through meditation, I was able to cultivate a sacred space within, a sanctuary where my ego’s voice softens, and my soul’s wisdom resonates.
Affirmations, those gentle yet potent seeds of transformation helped me reshape my self-perception, and remind me of my intrinsic worth beyond my teaching identity.
“I am more than my profession. I am a vessel of love, compassion, and light.”
When I started to realize that progress was not a linear path defined by societal measures but rather an expansive spiral leading me deeper into the heart of my true self, the shift from grief to liberation became a testament to my innate resilience.
The journey from teacher to caregiver is not a step backward, but a leap forward into the boundless expanse of the heart. The tapestry of our identity expands, interwoven with threads of humility, service, and love. In this sacred evolution, we discover that the soul’s journey is a symphony of roles, each contributing to the melody of our existence.
So the next time you feel that life has let you down remember that…
Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it. – Buddha