One of the really common conversations I have on my travels working shamanically is with people who are unhappy in their work.
I am not sure whether people are drawn to talk to me about this because I have for so many years felt the same, or whether it’s just something that loads of people are feeling.
In my life it’s not that I haven’t enjoyed the content of my work as a sustainability professional – I love designing and delivering training, providing advice to organisations on how to create an environmental improvement programme, and working with people on a one-to-one basis. In doing this work I am helping people become aware that their actions are having any kind of impact at all – I call it ‘becoming Earth aware’.
But if I am to be completely honest, it has been actually working in corporations that I have really struggled with, and I have worked in some very big and diverse businesses so have given it a good go. I still haven’t quite put my finger on why, other than that there is a huge culture clash between their ethics and mine. A corporation’s model, right at its core, is to make as much money as possible as quickly as possible, which ultimately means that people get caught in the cold harsh reality of the commercial world. My model is very very different, and I basically just didn’t fit in, as hard as I tried.
So, for many years, and those people who are close to me or come to our drumming circles will know, I have been working on finding a way out. It has not been easy by any stretch. I could have made it easy on myself I guess by walking away and saying I would never go back – I call that ‘the Elastoplast Method’. But I am risk averse, and I found there were all kinds of things playing around in my mind which made me feel I needed to stay in the game. Money was the big one, but there were many others as well, after all this is a sector which has sustained me for fifteen years. This is my career, and I have worked so hard to get to where I am.
So, what was it that eventually pushed me away last month? This I find remarkable…
… a bird fell out of the sky.
I was driving to a business development meeting when a female blackbird hit my windscreen and fell to the edge of the road. On my way back I stopped to pick her up and she is now buried in my garden. I put it to the back of my mind as ‘one of those things’, but it just didn’t feel right. I was on my way to green another organisation, which was a good thing right? Yet I had killed a bird on my journey there. Ignoring the signs and the uncomfortable feeling in my body I carried on as normal, wrote the proposal for my potential new client and went on with life, experiencing the same knocks, the same highs, daily, and just thinking this is how it just needs to be.
Then… just a few weeks later I picked up and read Snowy Tower by Martin Shaw. It’s the great Welsh myth of Parzival, and early in the story Parzival’s mother hides her son in the forest to protect him from the same fate his father met, fighting in battle. As Parzival grows into a young man, upon a chance meeting with three knights from King Arthur’s Round Table, he starts to get the urge to become a knight himself, as his father was. His mother in her anguish instructs her woodsmen to strangle the birds in the trees and they fall to the floor.
It was this story, this analogy, and the bird falling out of the sky on my path when I thought I was doing the right thing, which was the tipping point. Over the next week other things happened. Blackbird visited our bird table for the first time, and then came back again and again. Twice I pulled the Blackbird card out of my Pagan Animal Spirit Guide deck, which has the message of going from the Outer to the Inner. Finally, I told my first story ‘Finding Your Battle Cry’ over and over again and it all became too much. I realized it was time to step out, turn my back on the corporations once and for all and walk out into the unknown.
So here I am, just a few weeks in, and so many doors have opened such as Journey Well Ceremonies, drum making workshops, my shamanic one-to-one sessions and more workshops and retreats, all of which I couldn’t be in the right space to do if I was still in the corporate world. Things that make my heart sing. The synchronicities of things that are happening are extraordinary – I could go on for hours.
I find so often that I need to firmly close one door so I am not tempted to walk back through it, and once I do the universe gives me so much in return.
Nervous – yes. Excited – yes. Relieved – yes.
I feel like I am finally on life’s adventure, and that road in front of me where I can’t see what is ahead anymore – that road I was once so afraid of – I am finding that a truly exhilarating and am bouncing off the walls. How indeed the universe works in mysterious ways…