This is a work in progress. It’s one of those things I recognise, but I’m not there yet.
I have, for a long time, been aware of a kind of hierarchy in spiritual life. So it’s seen as good if you have a spiritual practice, it’s better if you embody that in your life and work. that’s the message. On another level I know that we all have different skills, abilities, gifts and whatever we do is fine with God/dess. But. It’s a message which runs deep. It’s like the message I took in through long years of church life. It’s good to be a Christian, it’s better to be a Christian in ministry. Even better if you’re a priest.
It is of course a human thing. The desire to create a hierarchy, a system we understand and that makes sense to us. A desire to know who is in our tribe and who isn’t. It speaks to instinctive needs and to our lesser selves, encouraging us to “other” our brothers and sisters, to see the differences not the similarities.
So I’ve been wrestling with this on and off for the past thirty years or so and most recently in my current work. The work which makes my soul sing is my healing and guidance work, supporting and nurturing others on their path to wholeness both physically, emotionally and spiritually. This work, although it fills my heart, is a small part of my week and, at a practical level, a small part of my income.
The rest of the time I work in education. I’m an independent special needs consultant and assessor. I work with schools and parents. I believe this is important and valuable work and I put in a lot of effort to get here. But I have still, for years, had in my mind that it isn’t my “real” work, that at some point it will get set aside and the other elements will grow. And until that happens I have felt like I’m not doing my “real” work. Which leads to inner conflict and struggle and dissatisfaction.
Have you read the Tiffany Aching series by Terry Pratchett? Tiffany is a witch, she was my gateway witch. She lives with her parents on a farm when her story begins. And she works in the dairy. Her job is to make the cheese. This is what she does to support herself as her journey unfolds, she makes cheese.
It occurred to me one day, when I was moaning to myself in the car about why I hadn’t got to the point of doing my “real work” yet, that this, the education work, is my cheese. It is worthwhile, needed, valuable, and it keeps a roof over my head and food on the table for my family. It is a crucial part of my life and witching. I am working on embracing this. My cheese. Perhaps most importantly for me it keeps it real, grounded, helps me stay connected in earthy practicalities. Which means that the “real” work is already right here. Now. I’m doing it. You are to. Wherever you are right now. That doesn’t mean we won’t develop, grow. That there won’t be shifts or changes in our patterns of work and life. But this is where it is. With all its blurry and messy lines, all its inconsistencies.
Say cheese 😉