Reach for the sky

“What is my truth? Does my truth change over time? Or is there a deeper unchanging truth in me that I haven’t yet discovered?” I’ve often been asked these questions while teaching the Dharma Diamond workshops. A short story about a young law professor I recently coached suggests possible answers.

Dr Máire O’Malley* was born with a big purpose. Máire was convinced from a young age that she had an important mission to fulfil. Luckily, she has a personality to match. Her friends describe her as ‘positive, confident, energetic, driven, competitive and goal oriented.’ ‘She has a great sense of humour and an infectious laugh.’ More or less what you might expect in a young lawyer who loves her extreme-sports adventures.

Her real passion, however, is teaching. Her students say she is tough, demanding, uncompromising, fair and inspirational. All the same qualities she expected of herself as a student, except perhaps the fair-bit. She drove herself hard, from one goal to another, from one year to another. And she excelled, achieving everything that she put her mind to, including graduating at the top of her class and being invited to address the state legislature. She was unstoppable — until she wasn’t, which was when she came to see me.

“I’ve been in a funk lately. I’ve lost my mojo. I feel my motivation slipping away, as though my natural inspiration has evaporated,” Máire told me. “It’s like I am losing a part of me, a part that defines me and that I’ve relied on my whole life.”

“Has it affected your performance at work?”

“Hell no! It’s not that bad. I am a compulsive overachiever, even when I am not at my best. Giving in to a sulk is not who I am. However, even though I continue to perform, I feel flat inside and I wonder what it’s all about. I need to make sense of it and I thought you could help.”

“I’ve had a look at your chart, which I think will give us some perspective,” I said.

“Well that’s good. I worry that the truth that has defined me for so long might be changing and I don’t know where that is leading me. I feel like I am going through a transformation, but a transformation to what? I am adventurous, but I also like my security. I need a steady base to operate from.”

“I don’t think your truth is changing as much as it’s deepening. In other words, you are being called to become more of the real you. Let’s have a look at the symbolism in your chart, which I think will tell the story.”  

I explained to Máire how we all experience different cycles of time in our lives, seasons of life that have various qualities that theme our experiences. I told her that only six months earlier she had started a cycle that would bring in new themes and new directions. I suggested that the period, which lasts many years, would call her back to the sense of mission she had in her youth.

“It’s a time of change” I said. “One that will shift your attention to serving the needs of the underdog and the disadvantaged. The focus of this service could include, women, women’s rights, environmental issues and the rights of displaced persons.”

“That is so interesting! I’ve always been concerned about those issues.”

“Yes, well maybe that is why I said that your truth is not changing but deepening. It sounds like you are rediscovering a forgotten part of your passion.”

“I think you are right. I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am. I enjoy my work, but I think that in my zeal to achieve, I’ve forgotten an important part of why I wanted to study law. Having said that, I am not sure how to transition to those areas. Are you saying I need to change my job?”

“No. Not at all. I suggest that you stay where you are and use your position to teach about these issues. Do your best to raise awareness of their importance. Everything will follow on naturally, because you will remain true to the part of you who is a teacher, while going more deeply into the part of you that feels called to make a difference.”

“I do love my job!”

“Yes, keep your job. But get your ‘mojo’ back by doubling-down and recommitting to the social issues that inspire you. Make it a mission. Set some big goals. Reach for the sky.”

“Yes, that is the kind of person I am. I need a challenge and something to motivate me. I will talk to the chancellor of my university and propose some ideas I’ve kept on the back burner up till now.”

“I think you are feeling flat because your heart is calling you to revive your passionate spirit. What better way than by trying to make a difference for those who need it? The principles of Dharma teach that we are at our best and operate at our best, when we remain true to who we are. Your truth is that you are someone who needs a mission.”

“You are right. I agree that I am not changing as much as I am being called to evolve further. I am feeling the inspiration rising in me already.”

“That is what the Dharma Diamond is all about. It helps us fully evolve to our deeper truth.”

—Michael

 

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