I know that my true calling is to work in a spiritual field, but for years, I’ve been working in a very high-paying, high-stress job for a large corporation that is loathed by the public for some of its practices. I make a lot of money but I’m embarrassed to tell people what I do, and I absolutely dread going to work because it’s getting more and more stressful. Lately, one thing after another is going wrong in my life. I’d give you a list, but it would be a really long one! My heart is telling me that I need to quit this job and do something I believe in, but I’m afraid to give up the big paycheck. I’m wondering if I’m somehow cursing myself by working for this company. Do you think that when we ignore our inner guidance, we curse ourselves? Or does Spirit try to show us the right path by making the wrong path totally miserable?
In my experience, when we are following our inner guidance and listening to our hearts, things tend to work out in magical ways. Similarly, when we ignore our inner guidance, we tend to experience one setback, obstacle and problem after another.
If you want a smooth and happy journey to personal fulfillment, following your inner guidance is essential. There is a difference, of course, between ignoring your inner guidance and ignoring your conscience. Ignoring your inner guidance can leave you feeling vaguely lost and unfulfilled, while ignoring your conscience can line you up for a world of hurt. In my experience, ignoring your conscience is indeed a recipe for feeling cursed. If your conscience is telling you that whatever you’re doing is wrong but you ignore that out of greed, a desire for revenge, self-interest, fear or plain old laziness, you will eventually end up regretting that choice, even if you’re not conscious of the connection between that bad decision and whatever eventually unfolds as a result of it.
It is your inner guidance that is telling you to work in a spiritual way in the future; it is your conscience that is telling you that what you’ve been doing is not the right thing to do. You can ignore your inner guidance by not working in a spiritual way and still be okay; you may not be totally happy and fulfilled, but you have plenty of time to figure all of that out. You can’t ignore your conscience and expect everything to be okay, so if your conscience is telling you that what you do for a living is not the right thing to be doing, I urge you to listen to it!
The further we go down the wrong path, the harder things tend to get. This is because the Universe is trying to get our attention: if we ignore subtle signs that we’re heading the wrong way, then the Universe will send us bigger and more dramatic signs until it gets through to us. These hardships also motivate us to change course: when everything is going fine, we tend to get into ruts where we just keep going along, doing the same job, staying in the same relationship, and following the same old routine. It’s only when things get really unpleasant and difficult that most of us get motivated to open up to new possibilities and explore new options.
Choosing the path of fear over faith is never wise. The path of fear is deadening because it is limited and literally a dead end; the path of faith is enlivening because it is limitless and expansive. We all choose the path of fear sometimes; we may then stay on it until it gets too painful to endure any longer. Here are some examples of the many ways that people choose fear:
- Bill knows he should quit his job but he’s afraid he won’t be able to find something better and thus won’t be able to take care of his family and pay the bills. He ignores how bad the job feels and ends up miserable for years.
- Sarah knows she needs to leave her unhappy marriage, but she’s worried about upsetting her children. She’s also worried about being able to support herself on her own, and that her extended family will think she’s being foolish or selfish, so she hangs in there and grows more and more depressed and unhappy every day.
- Keith’s body keeps telling him that the hard hitting form of martial arts he has practiced and taught for years is no longer good for him, but it’s such a huge part of his identity that he feels lost just thinking about giving it up, so he keeps practicing and suffers constant physical pain.
As you can imagine, I could go on and on in this way: You have only to look around you to see people who are stuck in unfulfilling, deadening and/or painful ruts because they are allowing fear to hold them back from letting go of what was established in the past in order to align with whatever would be a better fit for them now.
Often, people get stuck because they have no idea what they would do instead of whatever they’ve been doing, and they only break free when they realize that they’d rather be broke, alone, out of shape, or whatever it is they fear than to continue on the path they’ve been on. You’re ahead of the game here, for you know that your inner guidance has been calling you to go into a spiritual line of work instead of continuing to do what you’ve been doing.
Even if you’re not exactly sure how you might go about fulfilling your calling, you have only to tell the Universe that you’re ready and willing to summon the courage to change for things to begin to shift. When you’re ready to let go of what isn’t working and move forward without knowing every step of the path you’ll travel in advance, that is when the magic will kick in. All sorts of interesting things will then begin to happen: You’ll meet new people; you’ll receive meaningful signs and messages; new ideas, paths and possibilities will open up to you. The more you continue to find the courage to follow your heart, the more help and guidance will flow in.
Whenever it seems like the path we’re pursuing is a constant upstream battle, we’re wise to stop whatever we’ve been doing, question the assumptions underlying our choices, and then let go and allow ourselves to be guided. This takes great courage and faith, but it’s the only way to find what will work best for us on all levels.
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