My friend Maria and I were talking about our job searches over breakfast yesterday. Maria recently closed her cheese shop, and she’s looking to make a career change. With college tuition looming in the near future I’ve recently begun full-time job searching in (sort of) earnest.
As a yoga teacher, I’ve had a taste of a job that feeds my spirit. I’ve had the privilege of holding space for people to make great changes in their lives, one breath at a time.
Once you taste the explosive flavor of a soul-feeding job, it’s hard to go back to bland. So I’m looking for a full time job that continues to feed my spirit and invites me to serve in a positive, world-changing way, even if it is a small way.
Oh, and it has to pay well. Not too much to ask, right?
I don’t know exactly what I want to do, but I know the kind of things that light me up. I have finally discovered my dharma, my right path, and my new job has to line up with that dharma.
There are some people in this world who are dharma warriors. They know where they are heading from a very young age. Maria is that person in my life. I met her when she was 14 years old and she told me she was going to be a chef. She knew it. In her heart, deep down, she already knew it. So she got a job working in an upscale kitchen as soon as she could get working papers. She won a Seventeen Magazine recipe contest. She was on a straight and narrow path towards chef-dom!
Maria moved from restaurant jobs to kitchen management jobs. She wrote a cookbook, and owned a cheese shop. Every step she took kept her on that straight and narrow path.
Meanwhile I meandered from short order cook, to mental health worker, to corporate America, to yoga. I veered off course for long periods of time, taking detours to sit down by streams of consciousness and scribble in my notebook.
We continue alongside each other on this road trip, and now we both realize that we don’t need to plug a destination into the GPS. We know deep down, no matter which way we travel, and no matter where we turn, we’re all heading in the same direction.
It’s kind of like ‘All roads lead to Rome‘, except not. All roads lead to death.
No matter where we pull off, pit-stop, explore, break down, we’ll always get back on this same road. Whichever path we choose, however fast we move, we are all going to get there, so none of that really matters.
What matters is how we deal with the detours and obstacles that arise, how we conduct ourselves along the way. If we stay true to ourselves and let our lights shine along the way, if we allow our souls to be fed by the experiences, then we can be happy no matter what the road throws at us.
We left the cafe determined to be happy no matter where the road took us. We were ready to take on the world! And we were fueled by much caffeine!
We walked around the square and went into a savory pie store. It was cozy and warm and filled with the most amazing smells. I could see people working behind the counter, chopping things, rolling dough, but no one was smiling. No one looked up from their work to see us. Maria made a small purchase, forced some conversation with the cashier, and we left.
“I don’t think that’s their dharma,” I said. Maria agreed.
“We should go on a mission to find some true happiness,” she suggested. And so we did.
We went to the book store, where we browsed for 15 minutes and no one even said hello. We went to pick up menus at the Chinese restaurant, the deli and the “Friendly Convenience” store, which was neither friendly nor convenient. Not a word, not a smile.
We walked into each new business with big smiles on our faces, eager for someone, anyone(!) to say “Good morning” or “Can I help you?” But they just couldn’t seem to muster the enthusiasm. They were obviously not enjoying the ride. We just laughed as we left each store and rushed off to the next one.
We decided that we won’t let anyone else drag us down, and we won’t get discouraged. We will embrace the obstacles and continue moving forward.
Happiness is not at the next rest stop. Happiness is now. It has to be. Because the road isn’t endless. Some day, too soon, the road ends.
After our adventure I was off to run errands. The bank teller at the drive-thru was not having a good day. And then it was off to Shop Rite, which I usually dread, but I was on a mission to stay happy.
As I was picking out some frozen peas I heard The Whistler! I have heard him many times before. I don’t know if it’s his dharma to work at Shop Rite, but every time I’m shopping I hear him whistling the songs that are playing over the speakers. He is always there, smiling and whistling in the frozen food aisle. He makes me smile every time, and so I decided to tell him so.
“Hello Whistler!” I said as I smiled, “How are you today?”
“I’m good and how are you?”
“I am great, now that I heard your whistling! It always makes me smile.”
“Ahhh,” he said with a big beautiful grin, “if I can make one person’s life a little brighter, I’ve done my job.”
“Well then, you’re doing a great job!” I said.
I meandered on my way, and soon found myself whistling by the cavatelli.