Friday, January 8, 2010
Continuing Along the Path to Wholeness
I was still working with the Golden Dawn, but was always open to learning something new, so when he introduced me to Native American Wisdom teachings, I was more than eager to delve into what he had to teach me. I was also reading about Zen Buddhism, but couldn't develop an interest enough to continue further. But Native Americanism, that was another story. I was hooked and couldn't get enough. I enrolled in a course on Cherokee Wisdom and expanded my library to include books on the Medicine Wheel, Native American Mythology, etc. I was fascinated with their earth-based spirituality and realized that this was the first time I had been exposed to beliefs that all things on earth were inter-connected and that it was possible to communicate with nature. The Rosicrucians had taught that everything was alive, but they mainly concentrated on the evolution of the mineral world to man. I was also introduced to Goddess and was infatuated with such mythological figures such as White Buffalo Woman and Changing Woman, and having been introduced to the Goddess, of course I wanted more.
By 1994 I was ready to change careers. With the encouragement and support of my new husband, I set off in an entirely different profession--in the helping field . My first job was working on an ACT team. This is a mental health team--social worker, substance abuse counselor, nurse, case manager--that meets the client where they are at. Our clients had failed at all traditional treatment and our team worked in the field...we went to their homes...to the shelters...wherever they lived to make sure they were taking their medications and eating properly. And we had some of the most difficult clients to deal with--Mentally Ill Substance Abusers with HIV; we were the first HIV ACT team in the state of New York.
It was devastating for me....watching so many of my clients die...so many hospital visits, the suffering. I wanted to tell those who were just barely hanging on that it was okay to go to the light, but I wasn't allowed to because of my job, so I could only watch them suffer. It was unbearable being able to do nothing...and then when I went to the hospital to visit a client who only a few days before had accompanied me to the ice cream parlor for a strawberry shake...only to find her hooked up on machines...well, that was the final straw. I decided I wanted to do something more, and I came to the decision that the best way to help these people was to become a minister and to work with them in the hospices.
I chose to become an Interfaith Minister and enrolled in a two year course which was better than I had expected. It included such courses as--Goddess Earth-Based Religions, Native American Religion, Jung and Depth Psychology, African Religions, Basics of Ritual...as well as Judiasm, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism,...the list is endless. I could go on and on. Needless to say, I was in my glory. Each course was better than the previous course. I graduated the school, but alas, by then, I had burned myself out. Dealing with so much death had drained me. I realized that, my problem was that, unlike doctors, nurses, ministers, bereavement counselors, I was unable to separate myself. I became too personal; if I client had no family, I became their family. It was taking its toll and it was time to let it go...so although I am ordained, I have never become a practicing minister.
It was time for a change in careers.
To be continued....