Easy Come, Easy Go
Shortly after writing my last Blog post on August 27th, I was presented with an unexpected opportunity. Knowing that I was looking to increase my client base, my mentor, therapist, and independent supervisor RT put me in touch with CL, the Chaplain for a local hospice organization. R’s thought was that C might know about opportunities for which I would be imminently qualified. Surprisingly, C is planning on retiring, and has been searching for a replacement. Due to our mutual backgrounds (we both trained at Daihonzan Chozen-ji), and similar outlooks, he asked me in for a talk, which turned into two, after which he asked me if I were interested in applying for his position. Initially I said not, as I was committed to making a go of my private practice, and definitely didn’t want to go back to working in a corporate environment. As we discussed further the opportunity of working with the dying, I began to feel a growing joy at the prospect of being of deep service to a wider range of people, as hospice work includes not just the patient but their family, too. In addition, the chaplain position would also include counseling for the caregivers and other employees. It was quite an amazing opportunity, indeed.
I decided to give it a go, and promptly dropped keeping up with my blog and newsletters, as well as promoting for clients. Preparing to apply for this position was almost a job in itself. There was my resume to update, as well as an application process for a certification component that included an enormous amount of writing. I began the slow and careful interview process, meeting again with C, and then one by one other heads of departments. At each juncture a green light flashed, and I began the transformation process, readying myself for a completely different lifestyle than what I’ve crafted over the past 20 years. I admit there was some hesitation, as I didn’t know what the reality would be regarding bee swarms in the middle of the day. Although everyone knew I was on call with the fire and police departments, the subject of how my time would be handled with regards to that hadn’t been specifically discussed, and I contemplated losing that aspect of my beekeeping.
Eventually the call came and I was happily offered the position pending final interviews and a completion of paperwork. The following day I received another phone call, this one not so cheery. “Can you come in to meet with us? Something unexpected has come up.” The ‘something’ was an advertisement for a Shibari workshop I’d organized and promoted in 2007. A google search had turned it up under my married name, and apparently it had caused quite a stir. In answer to their questions, I described the events that had led up to me exploring that avenue and the growth it had engendered, specifically regarding the sexual molestation I’d experienced as a child. And while they stated that they understood, they also stated that they were rescinding the job offer.
Seriously? Seriously?? We were almost two months into this process, and we all had a pretty good idea of who we each were. In addition, it had been made abundantly clear that I was extraordinarily qualified for the position. However, there was concern that if the press or public ever found out about my past activities, the foundation could lose it’s funding. Then the words came that started to cause a slow burn in my belly. C described what would happen if he were accused of pedophilia, linking that immoral and illegal activity with healthy consensual sexuality between adults. Once again, people were sitting in judgment of my choices regarding exploration into human sexuality and sensuality. Something unleashed itself in my heart as I took in the fact that these two people were attempting to shame me. My mouth opened, and some of the most beautiful and empowered words I’ve ever spoken came out. Far from being ashamed, I was pleased and proud of the strength I had within to move through the world following the authentic trail of my personal healing. The training I’d undertaken in Zen had given me wings, and with them I’d flown through myriad heavens and hells, until there was little differentiation between the two. It is precisely this ability to meet all manner of people precisely where they’re at that enlivens and authenticates my work. The talks were over, and with sad hugs all around I left the office.
So, with a deep breath I’ve spent the past week working to get this ship moving again. Hence today’s blog post, as well as prepping for my first workshop, which starts next week! If you haven’t already heard about it, head over to the events tab and click on Howling Woman. Or just click here.
It’s been a wild two months, and I’ve come away from it all with a renewed sense of just how easily I can be distracted from my heart’s desire. As my dear friend T said, “The idea of a regular paycheck was mighty tempting, but since you weren’t really looking for it, your integrity from the past helped you to keep your integrity in the present.” Wise words, my sweet friend, wise words.