The Call: Part 1

I’ve known from a young age that I belonged in the healing and helping professions. How did I know this? Well, it started out with the countless horoscopes that pegged me as a champion “nurturer”. I’d read about my inborn maternal instincts in the zodiac section of the newspaper and think to my (twelve year old) self, “Sure, that sounds like me.” At the time, I was an ace babysitter (!), sometimes caring for seven (!!) children at the same time (!!!) and practically peeing my pants at the thought of making a combined NINE DOLLARS AN HOUR (!!!!). “Helping professions– no prob”, I thought, “I’ve totally got this.”

Image sourced from cafepress.com

Image sourced from cafepress.com. It’s like they know me!

Fast forward a few years, and I still had confidence that I belonged in the healing and helping professions. By then, I was working as an intake counselor at a sexual health center in Calgary, guiding women warmly through sensitive experiences like pregnancy tests and answering delicate questions about birth control methods, fertility, and pregnancy options. I. Loved. This. Job. I started at the center as an unpaid volunteer and practically peed my pants when I was offered a paid contract to cover a year-long maternity leave. “You mean I’m going to make actual MONEY doing this job?”, I screeched in the Program Manager’s ear when she told me the good news, unable to conceal my sheer delight and using all of my restraint not to kiss her square on the lips. “Helping professions, no prob!! I’ve seriously got this!”

Plus I got to meet my BFF, Gloria Steinem. Perfection in a career path!

Plus I got to meet my BFF, Gloria Steinem. Perfection in a career path!

Shortly after finishing up the mat leave contract, I went back to university and completed a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies. There, my very foundations were shaken. My core beliefs disintegrated– replaced with GPAs and a thesis advisory committee– and leaving me standing in ashes of confusion and uncertainty. Suddenly, I wasn’t sure what even qualified as a “healing or helping” profession anymore, but one thing was now certain: I didn’t have the right credentials to be that sort of professional or to do that sort of work. What good was an MA in COMS, after all? I couldn’t graduate and become a Professional Communicator. (And even if I could, how lame would that be?) I wasn’t a Psychologist. I wasn’t a Clinical Counselor. I wasn’t even a Coach or a Registered Anything of Importance. Basically, I determined, my degree was worthless and I had just wasted two years of my life. Healing and helping professions, so long…

... but I know y'all are dying to read the riveting thesis I wrote, right? My Supervisor: What's the title of your thesis going to be? Me: Can I call it "Who gives a sh*t"?

… but I know y’all are dying to read the riveting thesis I wrote, right? My Supervisor: What’s the title of your thesis going to be? Me: Can I call it “Who gives a sh*t?” No? Okay, then I’ll call it the next lamest thing: “Communicating About Contraceptives”. Ugh…

*     *     *     *     *

Around that time, I started getting cozier with psychics, palm readers, and astrologists. (And, on a related note, I practically peed my pants when my favorite astrologist, Georgia Nicols, started following me on Twitter. Not that I’m ever actually on Twitter, mind you, but just having her follow me was a thrill!)

Anyway. Psychics and palm readers. Yes.

Dana LH 1

I had my palms read for the first time in the mall in 2008. (Don’t judge). Sandra talked at length about me belonging in the helping professions, and I was all, “Does working at a non-profit organization count as helpful? If not, should I go back to school and invest four more years and fifty thousand more dollars into further education? Should I become a psychologist?” (At that point, I’m pretty sure Sandra just took her fifteen bucks and sealed her lips forevermore). The Era of Over-Thinking Things had begun.

Do you want to work at the Harbour like me? Come on, I know you do...

Do you want to work at the Harbour like me? Come on, I know you do…

In 2010, when I decided to leave the world of non-profits and work full time with my Beloved at our now infamous art booth, I consulted with my trusted psychic medium to make sure that I was heading in the right direction. I certainly was, she said, and then I proceeded to riddle her with tangential questions about getting other training, degrees, certifications, or Officially Sanctioned Skills under my belt so I could legitimately work in the healing and helping professions at some point again. Poor psychic medium. She told me (nicely) to stop over-thinking things, and I interpreted this as “Yes. Training. Get more.” Heh.

So I decided in 2013 that I was going to become a Holistic Nutritionist. (Remember that? Hahaha.) An interview was scheduled. A tuition deposit was even paid. And suddenly? It didn’t feel right anymore. A quick call to my trusted psychic confirmed the intuitive ‘no to Holistic Nutrition School’ hit and also yielded a now familiar nugget of advice: “Healing and helping professions. Stop over-thinking things.

Me: Stop over-thinking things? What does that even mean? I wonder if it means I should get certified as an EFT Practitioner. Or maybe I should take a coaching course! Should I get coaching done for myself? I should probably get more online business training, that’s for sure. Maybe I should take that Crystal Healing qualification course, too? Or wait until I’ve got some Transcendental Meditation experience under my belt. Maybe I should try yoga finally? And then get certified as a yoga teacher, yes! I wonder how long it takes to become a Reiki Master. Or an intuitive healer! Can you get a degree in intuition? Maybe I should get a Ph.D. in Metaphysics. And then write a book!

Not over-thinking things– no prob! I’ve totally got this. 😉 

To be continued…

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21 responses

  1. I would definitely read a thesis called “Who Gives a Sh*t?” Thanks for the giggles this morning.

    I can relate to so much in the post, Dana. I have two degrees and still no clue what I’m really supposed to do with my life. I’m certain I need to be in the healing profession, but in what way, I’m not sure yet. However, I do have Reiki level 2 under my belt and my goal this year is to become a Reiki master (it really doesn’t take that long). Too bad I couldn’t make a career out of that!

    • Maybe you can make a career out of it? (DO EET!) Or, at the very least, you can definitely incorporate Reiki into your nursing work. You strike me as a deeply intuitive, highly attuned woman, Darla, and FOR SURE you belong in the healing professions, too. 🙂

      (PS: I would have won Most Awesome Thesis Ever if I had called it ‘Who Gives a Sh*t?’ If only I could go back in time and tell my former self what my current self believes now…)

  2. Blessedly, blasted BRILLIANT! Oh, and don’t forget Theosophy – I briefly considered a path that included that tongue-twister. But, at my core, I’m still *just* a writer. 😉

    • Theosophy– yes! I’ve never even heard of that before, but now I must get official certification as a Master Theosophist. It’s essential, really, and the rest of my life should be put on hold while I amass such important qualifications. 😉

  3. It is very hard to feel “qualified” to do what you do best in a society that demands credentials and certification. I listened to a friend yesterday rave about a communications specialist who took their accounting website page from “bean counting” to “Maximizing federal resources to support the homeless”. Communication does help. Your job is out there, trust yourself.

    • I’ve finally (FINALLY!) come to the realization that my job is IN HERE, not OUT THERE like I’ve always thought it would be! Shifting my perspective from external credentials and such to a more internal “owning” of my interests, talents, and skills has been transformative for me. New paths: opened! 🙂

  4. Some of us never figure out what we’re going to do when we grow up…I used to think the helping professions was where I wanted to be. (And did so much spiritual counseling in the 90’s). Suddenly, just as suddenly as your change of heart, it all dissolved. No desire to help anyone anymore, except when it happened organically. You know, Dana, maybe you help people by just being you. (However I don’t know what that means in the earning-a-living world.)

    • That’s where I’m at right now, Kathy. I’ve decided to stop (or at least “try to stop”) focusing on the “hows”: how can I make a living at this? How should I be proceeding?, etc., etc. Pushing publish is good enough for me for now. Writing feels excellent, connecting with others feels fabulous, and I’ll let the hows sort themselves out on their own. Yes!

  5. Pingback: What do you want to be when you grow up? | Lake Superior Spirit

  6. Charmingly brilliant! I followed Kathy, and Robin did over to see what miss you stirred up to cause Kathy to consider what she wants to be when she goes up.
    I am at this moment in the process of putting together a Holistic Practice with A Shamanic Reiki Master base. I don’t have degree in anything, I have intuitively known this is my path for a long time.
    Hopefully you put in the the mix of being a writer as well. Laurie can help you with both of those fields.

    • As strange as it sounds, Jeff, I often feel envious of people who don’t have degrees. Maybe it’s because I invested myself so completely into external validation and measures of success at school (which was exhausting and disheartening!), or maybe it’s simply because I wonder what could have been had I exercised my imagination as much as I exercised the logical side of my brain. In any case, Shamanic Reiki Master-based Holistic Practice– go for it!! The world will be a better place with you stepping up to your plate. 🙂

  7. Weighing in from Kathy’s blog…six degrees, all in different fields and now at 76.5 I wonder what it was all about. Never grow up! Keep being who you are!
    Higher education,etc., in my opinion seems to kill all of the creative juices within our soul.
    Just my thoughts.

    • My thoughts as well, purpleborough. (Thank you for stopping by!) It’s been eight years since I completed my MA, and I’m finally feeling capable of detaching completely from the academic experience and the intellectual expectations I inherited from the almighty university. Time to reconnect with the parts of myself that I shut off in order to excel at school. I’m excited!

      (And… six degrees?! Phew! Today, thanks to your comment and new perspective, I’m feeling grateful that my intuition kicked in after ‘just’ two degrees. Thank you!)

  8. Dana you are hilarious. I love your over thinking paragraph. Go with your gut, that’s what I always fall back on. When I quit my last job it wasn’t a completely OBVIOUS decision because things weren’t bad enough to make it that black and white but the bottom line was that it FELT WRONG for me to be there.
    Looking forward to your update….

    • Some of my biggest life decisions have been gut-based, and even though they made no “sense” at the time, I’m so glad I followed my intuition instead of rationalizing myself into a pathway that didn’t feel right.

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