Staying Spiritual in Difficult Times
Updated: Oct 3, 2019
Hey there people
Welcome back to my daily blog post! Today, I'm writing about something that is going on with me internally. It's happening in my soul and in my head. There's a battle going on!
First let me say how grateful I am for my wonderful life. I'm in a place in my life right now where 80% of my time is peaceful. That is fantastic for me because I am a chronic worrier.
So let me give you some background to how I came to be internally conflicted (20% of the time). This year my family and I made a big move. You can read about it here. We moved from the heart of Dublin to the (deep) south of Italy. We've all (my husband, my boys and I) gone through a period of adjustment. Life here is very different to what we were used to in Dublin. There is silence here, something of which in Dublin there is very little. Well, my experience of Dublin that is. We were in the centre of Dublin and so there was always background noise - here it's silent a lot of the time.
To be honest, I think I am adjusting the best of all of us. Even though my husband is Italian, he interacts a lot more with the people here and as always things get complicated sometimes. I, on the other hand, have taken a bit of a back seat in terms of interaction as I am not a native speaker. Although, I can converse quite well in Italian.
Anyway, I digress! The reason why I am telling you this is that over the last 10 months or so, our lives have changed dramatically. Mostly for the good but there is one thing that has happened in my recent past with which I am still struggling.
The question I want to pose in this blog post is the following:
How do you stay truly spiritual when something that you have been working on achieving for almost twenty years (it doesn't matter the length of time - let's just say a long time) does not materialise?
I consider myself a positive person and I have always believed that if you work hard and truly want something, the lord or the universe will bring it to you. This has worked for me in my life for the majority of things that I have looked to achieve. However, recently this philosophy let me down.
From the first day of entering into a university for my undergraduate degree, I realised I wanted to be an academic. I wanted to spend my life learning and being surrounded by young people. I loved the energy of university life and the enthusiasm for life of the students and I still do.
Over the years, this desire has only gotten stronger. So, I have worked for a long time towards becoming a lecturer. I did my PhD and I wrote a number of research papers. I lost some time during the early years of my career because I chose to stay at home and care for my beautiful boys. This decision I'm glad to say that I will never regret!
It took me 6+ years to complete my PhD. Afterwards, I struggled with developing an academic network because the school where I did my PhD was small and I had to look outside to create my network. I went to conferences and applied for funding and did all the necessary things to add to my CV in order to merit a lecturing position. I took part-time lecturing and wrote more academic papers and book chapters. I kept myself very busy trying to become as expert as I could in my chosen topic. I applied for any and all lecturing positions in my field over the years. I came very close on a number of occasions. I came second in at least three competitions. However, I never got that lecturing job. It culminated last summer (2018) when I was let go from two part-time academic jobs within the space of a month. One of those jobs I had had for eight years. It took a simple email to end my time there.
At the age of 45, I was officially unemployed. My CV is a fairly strong CV. I've ticked most of the boxes. The people that I have worked with in academia have all given me good references. I've asked the opinion of many of my colleagues about why I keep missing these opportunities and they have all said that I have been unlucky.
I am actually still writing proposals for research funding but now it's for free. The people that I used to work with still want me on board, so I have agreed to help them out. Why not? It keeps me busy.
Maybe it's my age, my gender or maybe I'm just not that good? Who knows? The long and the short of it is that I have run out of steam. I really have no more energy to keep trying and I'm feeling the loss of a dream.
On the upside, I have my wonderful blog that I write every day and that keeps me happy. Maybe my life has gone like this so that I can spend more time writing with all of you guys? Maybe I am right where I am supposed to be at 45?
Anyway, I thought the question above might make an interesting blog post. I'm curious to see how others have dealt with similar situations? It takes strength to smile through loss of any sort.
I often think of Oprah Winfrey as I have struggled through this. I like her approach to life. She believes that if something in your life is a struggle, then you're on the wrong path. I take succour in this idea. Even though it looks like I've been on the wrong path for a good part of my life, I believe that I am on my way to fulfilling my life's purpose and that this loss is necessary. It will make me stronger and more empathetic to others. It will, ultimately, guide me to my purpose.
When you think about the bigger picture, we do not control life and instead of trying to force something, we should listen to our internal whispers and follow them. My internal whispers are telling me to spend time on what I love. What do I love? I love to write. So here I am! This is about as much as I know, right now. I know I love to write!
So to answer my own question - how do you stay spiritual when a dream of your does not materialise?
The answer is you work at it. You never give up on working through those feelings of frustration/hurt/loss/pain to find the meaning in the experience for yourself. Through that process, you truly grow. As Oprah once said, turn your wounds into wisdom.
I just want to say, as well, that no matter what you are going through, look around at everything that is still wonderful in your life.
Be grateful for the blessings that you have. I am grateful for the fact that I am happily married and I have two wonderful children and an extremely dashing cat named Charlie. I admit, I am not thankful enough for the blessings I have in my life. When I lift my head above the noise of everyday life, I see just how truly lucky I am.
Thank you universe for all my blessings!
A friend of mine gave me the well-known prayer below on a card that I carry with me in my handbag. I say it often. It brings me much peace.
Namaste my beautiful people