Resignation

Today, I am handing in my resignation…

…not to any external employer, but to myself.

From today, I resign from all external management jobs.

Apart from the research and community engagement work I do at the uni, which is not really like working for someone else because I get a lot of say in what we do, and it pays my bills, I am no longer looking after projects for other people.

Instead, I am going to bring all that management experience and turn it on my own work. Finally.

The shift started last year. I was explaining what work I do to my then new boyfriend ‘I am an artist – I make performances, but I can’t really make a full living from that, so I do all this other stuff to earn money.’ He was a bit baffled by it. But it’s what so many of my artist friends also experience. Artists and art are simply not valued very highly in our economy. Although we can apply for public funding to support our work, it’s project-based and sporadic and increasingly competitive.

I started to take another perspective after our conversation – I began to realise that unless I change something now, then I could spend the next 20 years squeezing my creative life into the sidelines, into pockets of spare time, whilst always needing to prioritise the jobs that pay my bills, which I often really enjoy, but I know I have more to give. I’m 41 and I have worked like this for 20 years.

Being in service is fundamental to my sense of identity. In fact, I find it impossible to imagine work that is not in service in some way. But what I’ve learned over the last few years is that it is possible to be of service to the world and also to fulfil my own soul’s calling. I started to explore how I could make a business out of my creative practice. What can I offer that people would be willing to pay for? How can my offering also be fulfilling for me? What is it that fills me?

Over the years, I have done copious amounts of online quizzes to find out my ‘purpose’. I have read books about mission. I have had tarot and palm and psychic readings. I look at my birth chart regularly. I want to find something in there that will tell me what my highest offering in this lifetime can be. But I get in my own way because I question everything! What is my soul anyway? Is the narrative around mission and purpose just a new age spin to sell self-help books? What evidence can I see from the writers of said-books that they are ‘living’ the wisdom they impart?

And yet, behind the ongoing mental enquiry is a deep longing.

And I’ve also questioned this! What is longing? Where is it in my body? What can I learn from it?

Here’s what I know…

Longing comes from my heart, my physical heart organ. When I feel longing, my heart stretches forward in my chest, supported by my breath behind it. It is reaching towards something outside my body. It is easy to become cut off from my sense of my body in an attempt to reach the object of longing. But if I stay with the sensation of longing what I discover is that my heart is open, like outstretched hands. It wants to receive. It wants to connect. My mind gets involved and then begins to attach to the things outside…. longing for my lover, for a new house, for my family….

What is it that you long for? And when you discover what you think it is, slip behind that, and then slip behind that. What do you find now?

As I write these words, I connect to my heart and ask, what is this longing? The sensation is almost painful in my chest. I place my right hand over my breast and the answer comes.

This.

Me.

I long for myself.

And so, I turn towards myself and begin a new kind of service.

I begin by asking what are my values? What do I spend my time thinking and talking about? How do I already fill my life, my home, my relationships? Rather than looking outside for some sort of revelation, I realise that the answer is here. Right now. It is in the life that I’m living. This is where I begin.

If you want to work out what your own values are I found Dr John Demartini’s method very helpful:

Demartini Value Determination Process – Demartini (drdemartini.com)

This weekend I’ll be sharing my usually-private honouring to St Brigid as an online community event. If you would like to join us, please book here.