Four years ago I left my job. I had a profound spiritual awakening and I couldn’t stay. I couldn’t keep working.
Because I realized it was killing me.
I had been sick for the previous four years with what I believed was Lyme Disease. I had also been medicating myself with antidepressants to shut down the voice inside me that said something wasn’t right with my life. I was fully immersed in the American dream – career, mortgage, car, vacations. I was doing what society told me would bring me happiness. This voice knew that the way I was living was not for me but I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to listen to myself.
See, I had heard this voice before. It came in the dread I experienced waking up each morning in graduate school, the sadness that this was now my life and the knowingness that my chosen career was not right for me. This was the path, the way everyone said life had to be. I assumed something was wrong with me. I thought I shouldn’t be having these feelings. So because I ignored them, the voice showed up in unexplained anxiety right before my graduation.
I say “unexplained” because I didn’t know then what I know now. The anxiety was there because I wasn’t listening to myself. I knew my career or even having a job wasn’t right for me but I ignored that. Everyone said that this was how life was. You had to get a job to survive.
So, I did what society said was the good and right thing to do when you get anxiety: you take medication. I medicated that anxiety away until it showed up as an illness.
My body began to break down as I continued to work in my career. The medication made it seem like everything was ok. Maybe this job isn’t so bad. Maybe this really is the way life is. Maybe I really can do it this way like everybody else.
It started with a dizziness returning that I had experienced earlier in my life. It quickly escalated to a full-on body meltdown with heart palpitations, tremors, fatigue and a myriad of other terrifying symptoms. This I couldn’t ignore. My body was telling me loud and clear that something was not right in my life.
But guess what? I was REALLY stubborn, strong-willed and determined. Even that amount of body breakdown was not enough to stop me from working. I prided myself on my strength and determination to get through anything. Who was I if I was not the “hard-worker” I identified myself as. Who would I be then? Everyone admired that about me. Society puts those people on a pedestal. Who would love me if I just quit?
I took a month off and then gradually re-entered my career, pushed along by a new antidepressant. But this time the voice couldn’t be medicated away completely. Now I could see that I was merely surviving, not living. I was fully immersed in a self-imposed prison of “the way life is.” The part of me that knew there was another way to live was getting stronger and stronger each day until that spiritual awakening four years ago confirmed what I knew was true all along.
I then quit my job and moved across the country to rest and spend time alone. I had to get away from the world to get in touch with myself again. I began listening to that voice inside me that I had ignored for so many years. But I still wasn’t really living. I was in a metaphorical cave. This was necessary and vital at that point in my life but my body wasn’t getting much better. Many of my symptoms were still there. Though I grew and expanded tremendously in that three year period, my body stayed mostly the same.
Here’s what’s really healing me and bringing me back to life: Living. Truly living. Getting back out into the world and doing whatever I want with my time. I eat delicious food. I go for walks and take naps. I laugh. I listen to music. I dance. I connect with people. I explore nature. I make love. I travel. I write. This is what’s healing me. Living the truth I know deep in my soul is bringing a profound level of healing that I didn’t believe was possible until now.
This is what I know and have always known: Life was meant to be LIVED. We are here to enjoy ourselves, to experience the sensual nature of life as a human being. There is nothing to work for, earn, fix, save or change. We are here to experience joy and spend our days as we please. Jobs are the antithesis of this.
So now that I’m feeling better each day and have $100 in my bank account, I’m asked by family members and friends, “When are you going to go back to work?”
The answer is, I can’t. Because I know with 100% conviction that if I force myself back into that life, my health will deteriorate again. All the progress I’ve made will be reversed. Because now, I know better. I can’t ignore that voice anymore because that voice is so much a part of who I am. That little voice is now a deep knowingness that I don’t need a job to survive. In fact, I will thrive without one. It’s beyond just getting a job that I “enjoy” doing. I can’t make myself do any job. I know there is another way. My mind doesn’t understand this, but my heart does.
I tell everyone this and they still ask, “But how are you going to survive?” I tell them I don’t know, and I really don’t. But I do know this: I haven’t worked in four years and I am still alive. I still have food to eat everyday. I still have a warm, cozy bed and I still have clothes to wear. I’m happier than I’ve ever been. All of this entered my life because of my willingness to let myself receive it AND by loving myself enough to know that I am WORTHY of receiving it.
Please know that I’m no victim here. At a soul level. I allowed myself to experience all of these things – putting away my intuition, choosing my career, getting sick, all of it. I chose it for many reasons. Mostly for the experience but also to get this place right here – where I can tell you my story so maybe it doesn’t have to be so hard for you. Maybe you can begin to start listening to yourself sooner before your body forces you to listen. You all know exactly what I know. The magic is real. It becomes real as soon as you believe it is.
So no, I will not be going back to work. Because I want to live. My life depends on it.
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