July 2
Joy of life seems to me to arise from
a sense of being where one belongs. . .
of being foursquare with the life we
have chosen.  All the discontented
people I know are trying sedulously
to be something they are not,
to do something they cannot do.

David Grayson


Today's Meditation:

In my life, I can never seem to be "where" I belong if we're talking about geography--life just keeps pushing me in different directions that don't always make sense.  But part of the reason for which I'm being pushed to different places geographically is that I made a decision a few years ago to start teaching high school instead of college; I feel very strongly that this is where I'm supposed to be with the life that I've chosen (for now, at least).  There's a great need for effective teachers of our young people, and I know for sure that I am an effective teacher of high-school aged students.

In doing what I want to be doing and working in an area where I know my true talents lie, I definitely give up other things, such as large paychecks and job security.  I have to deal with more stress than most people I know because of the ways that our country now treats its teachers (basically, as second-class citizens, but that's an entirely different story), and I don't receive nearly the respect that I used to receive as a college teacher.

I'm fine with these things, though, for I know that I'm not trying to be something I'm not, and that I'm not trying to do work that I'm really not fit for.  I know people who are doing both of those, and it frightens me sometimes to see the amount of damage they do, both to themselves and to other people who are affected by their work.  When we try to be something we're not, we're setting ourselves up for disaster.

This isn't the same as taking a risk and stepping out of a comfort zone.  There's much to be said for trying new things and not fearing the consequences.  But the world is full of stories of people who were miserable for years because they hated the work they were doing, only to finally find contentment when they changed their work to something that matched much more strongly with their authentic selves.

Try to find your calling--be what you were meant to be.  Be authentic.  These are all pieces of advice that teacher after teacher tries to share with us, but that only we can decide to follow or not.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many people get involved in work that is at odds with who they are as people?

What are some methods that you might use to determine what kinds of work might fit your authentic self? 

Where do you belong for sure?  Are you there?

For further thought:

It is finally when you let go of what people expect you
to be and people's perceptions of you that you're able
to be the version of yourself that you're supposed to
be-- like in God's eyes.  It doesn't matter if you're half
crazy, or eccentric, or whatever it is-- that you have to
be true to who you were born to be.

Gwyneth Paltrow


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