I was recently interviewed by Julie Shubin, a labor law attorney and adjunct professor at George Mason University, for her labor blog Helitzer Blouse Girl: A Modern American Labor Journal, where she features a “day in the life” series of people from all walks of life. In her profile, Julie called me “a modern day renaissance woman, finding a way to fit all her passions into a small business.”
I was incredibly flattered by this description, because I don’t really think of myself that way. But as I thought about it a little more, I realized that I’ve been on a journey of following my bliss for more than two decades now. Since my current bliss involves writing about and working with cats, and since cats played a significant role in finding that bliss, I thought I’d share a little more about my journey today.
It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I started my professional life by translating manuals for a computer manufacturer. Then I wrote and translated ad copy for a magazine about diesel and gas turbines (can you stand the excitement?). After that, I worked as a travel agent for a while. Eventually, I ended up at a large financial services corporation, beginning as a receptionist and working my way up into middle management.
After fifteen years in corporate America, I had enough. A couple of life changing events propelled me toward an active path of discovering my passion.
For the next twelve years, I worked in various facets of the veterinary profession. I loved every minute of it. I did everything from cleaning cages to answering phones to giving injections and placing catheters. Eventually, I managed a veterinary hospital for eight years. During the time I worked in veterinary clinics, I gained a thorough understanding of pets’ and owners’ needs in what can often be a stressful and emotionally challenging environment for both.
My passion for educating pet owners and my love for animals led me to realize my dream of serving pets in a more hands on and individual capacity. I started Healing Hands, which provides Reiki treatments for pets and people. As a Reiki Master Practitioner, trained in traditional Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki, I integrate Reiki with my natural intuitive abilities and I tailor each session to develop the best experience for each individual client, be it human or animal.
As part of marketing Healing Hands, I began to write and publish my free online newsletter News for You and Your Pet, and even though I had been writing in some shape or form all my life, this made me realize just how much I really love writing. In addition to writing and publishing the newsletter, I started The Conscious Cat, and began writing Buckley’s Story.
The cats along the way that inspired all of this were Feebee, who was responsible for my transition into veterinary medicine, Amber, who inspired The Conscious Cat, Buckley, who inspired an entire book, and Allegra and Ruby, who keep the inspiration going each and every day.
I’m often asked how I did it. How did I figure out what I wanted to do? How did I find the courage to give up a lucrative corporate job for the uncertainty of self-employment?
Everyone’s journey is going to be different. The important part is to start somewhere. If you’re unhappy with your current life, or your job, start taking steps to figure out what makes you happy now.
The following tools helped me along my journey, maybe they can help you on yours.
Journaling. As a writer, this one came naturally to me, but this is a tool that can benefit everyone. Write about your dreams, your fears, your wishes. Journaling can be a great way to start planting seeds for change in your life. One of my stepping stones way back when was working through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. A key part of Cameron’s program are her “morning pages.” Every morning, you sit down and write three pages in longhand, whether you feel like it or not. It doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you write. It’s a truly transformational practice.
Dream. Allow yourself to daydream without censoring yourself. What does your ideal life look like? What would you be doing? Where would you be living? Who would you be with? Don’t think about how you could realize your dream – just let yourself imagine.
Creative visualization. This takes dreaming one step further. Once you’ve zeroed in on something that really resonates, refine that dream. The example I often share is that when I visualized my perfect job when I was trying to leave the corporate world, that visualization always involved a cat sleeping on a sunny spot on my desk. When I started my job at the animal hospital, it came complete with an office cat named Virginia, whose favorite sleeping spot was next to my computer, near a sunny window.
Make a vision board. The process is simple, all you need are scissors, glue, some free time, and a stack of magazines. Start cutting out pictures that appeal to you and that represent what you want to manifest in your life. This goes beyond just things, you can also use pictures to represent less tangible desires such as love, peace, fun, fulfillment, abundance, and happiness. Making a vision board can be a powerful transformational tool.
Surround yourself with people who are living their passion. Connect with others who love their work, and their life. If you’re only around people who are unhappy with the status quo, you’ll tend to get mired in their negative energy, and it becomes harder to make changes in your own life. Find people who do work you think you might enjoy, and ask to spend some time with them. Take them out to lunch, ask whether you can shadow them on the job, or volunteer for their business (that’s how I got my start in veterinary medicine). Network with like-minded people online.
If there’s an aspect of your life that you’re unhappy with, whether it’s your job, a relationship, or the place you live in, start taking small steps toward change and find your bliss.
What will you do today to take the first step?
©2012 Ingrid King/The Conscious Cat – All Rights Reserved