A Modern Mystic

Musings on life, work and contemporary spirituality


Mystic job hunting: yes is the new no

Sky's the limit, photo by Carrie Ure

Sky's the limit, photo by Carrie Ure

On Monday morning I hit the ground running. DAY ONE of serious job hunting. I make a short list of networking calls, read Internet articles about how to get a job in the current economy and research how to be a master job-hunter on craigslist, all before 9:00 AM.  I polish my resume and write a punchy tagline for my cover letter: “Can-do attitude meets your communications and customer relations needs.”

I am reacting to a pep talk from a friend the morning before. He had told me that it was time to get a job, think practically, put my writing career on hold while I focus on making an income from a “high probability source.”

“You have simply taken a wrong tun on the path and it’s time to retrace your steps to find a more practical direction,” he quipped.

“You mean Starbucks?” I ‘d sobbed, reaching for a box of tissues.

“Yes, if you must. It’s time for the Mystic to experience a reverse transformation.”

The next morning I sit with my iPhone and a cup of tea, to start virtually pounding the pavement. I grab for the low-hanging fruit: capable, successful people I have worked with in the past, people with whom I have stayed in touch, people who like me and who’ve been supportive.

The first person flat-out tells me that she can’t help me because she is busy making a living herself and the rest of the time is devoted to her spiritual practice. Okay.

The second tells me that Starbucks is really not that bad and that hard times demand drastic action. NO!!!!

The third, a friend of 15 years, has worked with me in two different industries.  A well respected and highly motivated entrepreneur and normally ebullient person, he launches into a whine about how our former employer professionally slighted him several years before. YIKES!

Not one of these informational networking calls is the slightest bit helpful.

Discouraged, I call my dear friend Holly, psychologist, astrologer and wise woman extraordinaire. She reminds me that no plan without a good intention is worth pursuing. Acknowledging that times on the material plane are tough, without faith and self-love, nothing is possible, she says. I think about my path. Is there anything to do but keep trudging forward with dogged determination and steely strength?

Then I remember Yes Man.

The 2008 film, directed by Peyton Reed, tells the story of Carl, played by Jim Carrey. He’s a depressed loser. Divorced and in a dead-end job, he spends his time alone in his apartment, shunning the daylight and the good intentions of his best friend. When he accidentally runs into an old acquaintance and is dragged to a New Age spiritual revival meeting, Carl agrees to a magical contract to say yes to everyting. Hilarious situations then ensue involving homeless people in his car, dates with mysterious women in berkas and well, you’ll have to see it. The film ends with a wiser and more compassionate Carl transported to the life of his dreams.

Impressed by Holly’s unshakable faith in a new future and my intuitive compass pointing to Yes Man, I decide to forgive the movers and shakers I know who are shaking in their boots right now. I relax and stop resisting my experience. I decide to just say yes to the rest of the day.

The phone rings immediately. My ex-husband. Yes. Could I interrupt my job-hunting to do an errand for our son that we’d been putting off? Yes. He picks me up five minutes later and while we wait in line at the bank, Hal tells me that he googled my name and found my blog. His wife was so enthralled reading it that they were late for an appointment. Wow!

“We didn’t realize how well you write,” he says. “We’re sure that you’re going to do well in your new career.” Yes.

I get home just as another friend calls. She had suggested a few weeks before that we prune an unruly pine on my back patio. Was today (prime job hunting time) a good time? Yes! Is it okay if she has a sandwich first? Yes! (You diehard TO DO list job hunters out there, stick with me!)

A half hour passes, just long enough to find me preoccupied about craigslist and all the job hunting opportunities missed while I field a call from my sweetheart, who also happens to be looking for work. Could I spare a few hours from my computer to meet some of his friends at an outdoor concert this evening? Yes!

An hour later, Geri hands me the chain saw and hops down from the tree. I can’t believe how many branches have been removed, what a chore it will be to haul them away and how far off my path I have wandered today. Not only that, it’s almost time to shower and get ready for my evening out.

“Should we take off that one big limb?” Geri interrupts my self-obssessed reverie. Yes!

She scrambles up the fence and takes one last whack. I step back to take in the view and there from my living room and patio, is a beautiful view spread before me, a park-like setting with nothing but huge trees. And in the center, a gorgeous red Japanese Maple sits beside an illuminated path leading up a hill. I had never noticed the path until now. Yes!

Suddenly I know that I am on the right track and that I should keep my faith in myself and keep moving forward.

Brian and I arrive a few hours later at a beautiful sunny park. Yes! Cha cha music blasts, children scamper on the lawn amidst overflowing picnic baskets. Would I like some pink wine? Yes!  I sit among new friends spread out on blankets and survey the scene. Yes!

Within a few hours I have met three new friends, exchanged contact information and one of them gives me an idea for marketing my writing to a new audience, in an industry that is thriving despite the economic downtown. She even offers to take the time to give me research leads and to meet me to discuss my options. I promise to follow up the next day. Yes!

I get home to find my first ever paycheck for my writing. Yes!

Job hunting? Stay true to your path and just say YES! Let the universe take care of the pavement-pounding.


Early Sunday morning riff

The Poet

The Poet

I’ve gotten to the place I’ve heard many artists describe and there’s no return. Once the terror of trying to express oneself is met and overcome, the compulsion to live takes over. Is there any difference between the addict and the artist? How many artists have gone mad trying to express the inexpressible?

I crave being alone to create my art, which apparently is my life. I may express myself in words on a page. Or perhaps through the lens of my inexpensive camera. Sometimes it is by putting two friends together who really hit it off. Again and again I find myself having a moment, being right here, awake to something new arriving.

When did I quit being passive, waiting for life to enter me? Why do I choose to wake with the birds most days, stalk my life like a cat it’s prey?  How did I come to understand that it’s all play?

Like arriving on the deserted island, blue skies, warm sand, luscious fruit for the picking and nothing to distract except the fragrant salt breeze. And even here, a sense of being trapped. A longed-for freedom, barely savored, when suddenly I realize that they’re not coming to rescue me! I will never see a ship on that horizon.

And the panic returns. Temporary insanity! Here I sit, alone on my beautiful island.


The Coward confronts Father Time

“Fear is a symptom of loss of authority; when we give away our authority, we should be afraid.”  Caroline. W. Casey, Making the Gods Work for You

This month's full moon is in the sign of Capricorn

This month's full moon is in the sign of Capricorn

I celebrated yesterday’s Super Full Moon in Capricorn with a full-on, no holds barred Saturnalia. If you’re visualizing party favors, drinking games, sumptuous feasting and orgiastic pleasures, uh hum, get a grip on yourself. Saturn gives us what we need, not what we prefer. Mine was a more serious celebration.

I started the day by reading Holly Alexander‘s fine Examiner.com article on the subject, praising myself for really tuning in to the vibe of the day. After all, I have been feeling a renewed interest in setting career goals and working hard to tick things off my TO DO list, a very Saturnian mind-set. Of course I should have known better than to get smug, for that is exactly the thing Saturn least tolerates. After working all morning I swaggered to the mailbox around midday to find a large envelope from the IRS and a jury summons. My solo Saturnalia was officially under way.

The other thing Saturn despises is a cry-baby. What to do?

Risking everything, I ranted to my cat Loki, named, ironically, for the Norse God of mischief, no doubt another Capricorn trickster at my side!  I raved about the injustice and insensitivity of large government agencies while Loki napped, secure in his zero-income tax bracket. I left a voice mail for my accountant, emailed my astrologer and had myself a little pity party. That’s when I looked up to see the pile of books a friend had recently returned to me. At the top was the fine book, Making the Gods Work for You, by renowned astrologer Caroline. W. Casey.

Mid-sniffle I opened to the chapter on Saturn.

One thing I love about Casey’s work is her understanding of how difficult it is for the modern urbanite to swallow astrology whole. She insists that astrology is not a belief system, but rather a language that “provides the vocabulary with which we can begin a detailed investigative exploration of the psyche.”

Casey goes on to say that all acts of belief, even in science (gasp!), are superstition. This idea conforms nicely with Buddhist thought. And Saturn would agree. As Casey puts it, “even if, owing to some fluke, we happened to believe in the ‘truth’–it would still be a booby prize, because the act of belief is an abdication of autonomy.” Didn’t the Buddha say the very same thing we he stated, “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own common sense”?

Here’s the point about Saturn as the ultimate mascot for achieving mastery and authority over one’s life: sooner or later we all have to deal with the boundaries of form, structure, time, laws, discipline, and responsibility, and this is a solitary endeavor. We can choose to tackle Saturnian realities head-on or we can let their shadows loom over us in the form of depression, inertia and fear. Via one method or the other, whether conscious self-inquiry or shadow-boxing with demons perceived to be outside ourselves, Saturn will have his way with us.

I know this first hand. With Saturn in Capricorn, in the first house, directly on my Ascendant, my most pressing life project has been to face my fears. On my path to complete authority over my own life, I have repeatedly encountered bullies. I am finally beginning to understand that it is only in facing my own fears that the bullies will retreat.

There is certainly no bully feared more than the IRS. If I understand the teachings of many spiritual traditions, the closer we get to resolving an issue, the harder it seems to bash us on the head. Perhaps this means I am finally ready to let go of the big fears about setting my own rules, being worthy of earning a right livelihood and becoming the true author of my own life.

Yes, I celebrated in true Chronos (another traditional name for Saturn) style yesterday. I quit crying and got to work. I filled out the Jury Summons Deferment form, citing my need as a sole proprietor to focus on my small business. I then called the IRS and spoke to the supervisor of the auditor “handling” my case. He apologized profusely for bungling the paperwork during my recent audit and assured me that it was unlikely that I would hear from them again. Hmm.

Scratching my head, I got back to work, one more fear checked off my list.