Have you ever wondered what happens when we fail to see what wants to manifest in our lives? When we don’t connect to the natural flow that results when we use our talents in the way they are supposed to be used? Or perhaps better: want to be used? When we don’t live the life that we are called to?
To be honest with you I wonder about this a lot and I would be the last to confess that I haven’t been struggling with that myself during various phases in my life.
In my work as coach I see this rather often. Well at least, the early stages. As you may know by now this has something to do with the stories that we have created about ourselves, the world (universe), how things take place there and how we relate to that. But not always. It may also be our context that prevents us from deploying our talents in flow, for instance as was the case with the German painter Emil Nolde. During World War II the Nazi’s forbid him to paint as his paintings didn’t fit their ideology. As a result from being deprived of the possibility to let his creativity flow freely he fell seriously sick and he created a possibility to continue his painting albeit at a smaller scale and of course he had to do so covertly. So he found a way to continue living the life he was called to. But what happens when our stories become so strong that they block that flow? When we block ourselves from seeing our calling? When we no longer see it’s just stories we’re telling ourselves?
One of the first things I observe is blaming the environment and when that doesn’t help people start turning grumpy, cynical, sarcastic and eventually they grow sick. In his development journey, Peter Woudenberg (http://www.geerthofman.com/glass-dome) bumps into a former colleague which seems to fit this picture. Have a read:
They opted for a simple meal in the restaurant of one of the department stores in the city centre. Just as Peter was settling the bill he heard someone call his name.
“Peter. Peter Woudenberg, is that you?”
He turned around and recognised Patrick Lawson, a former finance manager at AU in Amsterdam. He only worked with him on one or two projects and there he had not been too impressed by Patrick’s contribution. Peter knew Patrick had been thrown out because of his lacking performance.
“Patrick! Good to see you! How are you doing?”
“Good to see you too,” Patrick said, then coughed and came up with a question that sounded more like a statement.
“So they got rid of you too, right?”
Peter felt unpleasantly touched by Patrick’s opening.
“Well, if you want to put it like that: yes, I no longer work for the company,” Peter said noticing the grumpy and disappointed, harsh cynical looks in Patrick’s face.
He studied Patrick’s appearance a bit more and noted that he had essentially become scruffy. He stood with his back bent, had his shoulders hanging and the clothes he was wearing looked anything but crisp.
“Yeah well, I call it getting rid of people. That’s what they do. Bastards, that’s what they all are,” Patrick commented.
“Not all of them are, you know that too, don’t you?”
“All of them,” Patrick said with a bit more vigour and coughed again. “They’re all covering their asses. Cowards, that’s what they are.”
Peter tried to change the topic.
“What are you doing these days?”
“Not much,” was Patrick’s answer filled with cynicism. “I tried to find a new job by myself but I’m too old. It’s true, once you’re over 50, you’re too old. And I’m 56, so…… They don’t need you anymore. Yeah, for some underpaid work for which I’m way too overqualified, perhaps. And by the way, it’s the same everywhere. Everyone is trying to cover their ass, sucking up to their boss and kicking down to their staff. They all squeeze the life out of people.”
“Why don’t you ask for help?” Peter tried.
“Whom from? Outplacement companies? I don’t have that kind of money,” he moaned while making a rejecting gesture with his arm. “They charge you god knows how much and still nothing is guaranteed. You know that I was only on a very average salary and my package wasn’t so great that I can retire. Most of it is gone anyway. No, it’s sad but clear. I’m simply too old,” Patrick said and coughed again making an awfully rasping sound.
Peter wondered if Patrick had started smoking the way he coughed. And he thought that Patrick had been grossly overpaid but apparently the latter’s self-image was that it was an insult, the kind of money AU had paid him. Peter also felt the heavy, downward spiralling energy Patrick had around him and registered how it was starting to get him down as well.
“What would you need to change in order to find an appropriate job?” Peter tried once more to change Patrick’s mood.
Patrick gave him a dark look and a sarcastic smile.
“Ha! Change my age? No, there’s nothing I can change. I wouldn’t know what. I mean, what should I change when the jobs are just not there? Doesn’t make any sense, does it? And I’m not in these networks of high-ranking guys like you are. But anyway, I need to go as I’m meeting my wife in a bar nearby. She would collect my pills at the pharmacist’s. I got lung problems, you see? I can hardly breathe sometimes. But, hey, it was nice meeting you, Peter, “ he said and attempted to put a smile on his face.
“Take good care of yourself,” Peter said as they shook hands.
How does this look on your end? Do you see any of the signs of not living the life you’re called to? Do you see those with people around you? What would be possible to get closer to that life? Wanna talk about that?