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Dare to Be Happy

By Daniel Tipton*

FINDING FULFILLING EMPLOYMENT

DANIEL TIPTON:

I asked: "How important is matching your career up with your spiritual life (Course principals)? Does anyone have experience with working your spirituality into your career? Or how about changing your career to be more in line with your spirituality? I'm making a career change in the hope that I will enjoy work more. However, there is fear that I will run into the same problem if I don't make more of a fundamental change. I know so far that I am thoroughly enjoying my counseling classes. (I'm enrolled in a Masters program in Community Counseling so that I can be a licensed counselor.)"     

NOTE: I graduated from the culinary institute and work in food research but was bored. It wasn't supporting me in what I really want to do. I'm now at UNO in the Master's program for Community Counseling and am hoping this is the right choice. 

    When I was working as a legal secretary and feeling very unfulfilled, I prayed sincerely to God to give me meaningful work and the first thing that happened was He told me I was an undercover minister and was a source of Light for everyone at the law firm where I was working--from the biggest executives down to the mailroom guys. I was astounded as I thought everyone there had more than me (I was single, no children, very lonely, not living up to my potential, etc) ... but then there was the shift in perception and I "got" that it was true that I could be their undercover minister. I accepted that quiet role and let myself glow around the office [:D] The next thing that happened was I was guided to go back to school and become a Gestalt psychotherapist (I was in therapy at the time and healing a lot from it) so I did! I excelled in school in a way I never had before--everything came easily, I did really well. It was four years of demanding schoolwork and financial obligation but I managed it and began my private practice in my 2nd year of school (most people waited until after they graduated). My career has been very rewarding emotionally. ... Hope this helps! 

  

CORINNE ZUPKO:

I'm happy to share my experiences as well! I was led into the counseling field when I was in college. Through my own healing in therapy, I knew it was my calling to help others (though I later realized this was all about healing MY mind.. i.e. "The sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept atonement for himself."). I ended up working as a licensed counselor for 10 years in a busy counseling center. Although there was really no way to openly talk about Course principles, I found that I practiced these principles whenever I could, to find my own sense of inner peace (the job became increasingly stressful over the years with an escalating amount of crisis situations occurring). There were definitely some clients who were into exploring their spirituality, and it was really fun to work with these folks. But by far, most of the Course work I did in that job was not verbal but was IN ME (willingness to see my clients differently, willingness to hand over the judgments, what I thought was best for them, willingness to recognize them as my "brothers", etc.).

It's funny as I ponder your question... because as I think about it, I  don't really see the job I had as a counselor as lining up with my spiritual principles at all! It was totally stressful and "of the world" like any other job! Instead, I see it as exactly where I was supposed to be at that time in my life for my best learning, my "training ground."  Whether that training ground was counseling, or working in some other profession, it isn't about the form as much as the choice that I am making in every moment to follow my ego or to follow the Holy Spirit.   

Having said that, I grew increasingly unhappy in this position as a therapist. I had a job that had all the appearances of being glorious (the setting I worked in was a very competitive setting AND I had the summers off!) The "picture" seemed perfect, but my discontent slowly grew. The job just didn't "fit" me anymore. It was almost 2 years ago now, that I "knew" I needed to do something different (guidance was coming in so strongly to quit that I was thrown into anxiety and panic trying to not  listen to it out of fear of losing my steady salary). But I HAD to do something more in line with my spirituality. It almost felt like it was killing me not to.

I was guided out of that position and stepped into a role that IS more in line with my sense of spirituality. I've been writing about and teaching ACIM - and this is just something I didn't feel that I could safely do when I was in my former job. I'm now teaching as an adjunct faculty member in a Community Counseling MA program which pays the bills (and which I love!), and writing about and teaching the Course which FILLS me up!! I'm simply where I'm supposed to be right now, and in that is  peace.   

This is the beauty of the counseling profession - you can do SO MANY things with your degree!    So after all that, I guess I would say that practicing the Course doesn't mean you need to have a job that appears to be in line with it. You're exactly where you're supposed to be right now. But if you feel a pull to enter the counseling profession, honor it! Your lessons will come no matter where you are or what you're doing.  I'm psyched to hear that you are enjoying your classes!

DANIEL:

Since receiving these comments, I've had time to consider my work situation some more.

I've realized that moving on can sometimes be running away from a chance to heal. This is my second time working at my current job because I left for “something better”. I found out there were the same problems, but worse. Luckily, they hired me back for a part-time position while I go to school. It wasn't long after returning here that the feeling of discontent and resentment crept back in. This has made me think that there is probably a different way of dealing with this discontent. I started to pray for clarity on how I can be content with my job since I will need to work for at least three more years in a non-counseling field.

What I am beginning to see is that much of my discontent was due to some harsh criticism of almost everyone I worked with. I saw something wrong with almost everyone. This led me to believe that my work relationships might need healing. So I began to pray for guidance on how to improve and forgive my work relationships. After a while, I noticed that I started feeling compassion for people that I had never felt before. I also started feeling more accepting of everyone. This has led to a much happier work day

I don't think these changes in feelings toward people would have shifted by changing jobs. My harsh criticism had made my work environment full of guilt and fear. I am getting along a lot better at work now and am finding more purpose. Letting go of my judgments of other people has been key. It has taken me much time and suffering to see this but I think I am finally getting it.

On the other hand, I still have a passion for counseling. I will stay in school and finish my degree because I am finding the coursework interesting. However, I feel that this inner work is crucial no matter what I decide to do. Without it, I might go into a counseling career with thought patterns that not only cause me misery but prevent me from excelling in the very career I think is best for me.

*Daniel Tipton resides in Omaha, NE and is a member of the Course in Miracles Society study group. He is in his second year of the 2 year ACIM Ministerial Program offered by the CommDaniel Tiptonunity Miracles Center; Daniel attended the 2011 Annual ACIM Conference in San Francisco and is currently working on a masters degree in Counseling at UNO. He will be attending the 2013 ACIM Conference which will be held in Chicago.
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