Saturday, February 20, 2010

An Epiphany

Pardon the interruption in the explanation of the Lover's Path Tarot Deck, but I felt the need to blog about my day yesterday.

I had an epiphany of sorts.

The day did not have an auspicious start. In fact, it was downright awful. After teaching at the college level for over 15 years, doing what I have always loved to do, and what I am incredibly GOOD at doing, I was told that I was not good enough to stay at the institution that had eaten my time, energy, and yes, my soul, for the past six years.

Although I knew this moment was coming, and in fact had known since October that the inevitable outcome would be that I would leave this institution, the final letter, in black and white, pierced me like the spear in Christ's side.

And the timing of this event was also quite unfortunate. It came on the last day of final exams of our term, when I am swallowed in a pile of research papers that must be graded before final grades can be posted on Monday. I am under a heavy, pressing deadline.

And now, with this knowledge, they expect me to focus and get grading done by Monday? It seemed, yesterday, to be utterly impossible.

Oh, and did I mention that this is also the weekend that my husband, Dave, who has been supportive and by my side without fail since the day we met, had to be in Harrisburg yesterday and today? So, here was my big bombshell, my Armaggeddon, and I was forced to face it alone.

I admit, I spent about 30 minutes in tears, with my office door shut, after I read the letter. I felt defeated.

I thought, "this is it. I will never be a teacher again. This is my huge exit from academia, and my exodus from teaching." It was not a move I had ever contemplated. All of my life, I knew I was going to teach. From the age of four, when I began teaching my dolls on the front porch, I saw my life's work plotted out before me. I never considered anything else.

So, you might ask, in all of this wallowing, sorry, and self-pity, where's the epiphany?

Well, here's the amazing thing: I was reminded last night that our true purpose ALWAYS emerges, no matter how hard we try to suppress it.

As I have discussed here on this blog, I have been reading tarot, privately for myself and friends, for a number of years now. I was never confident enough in my abilities to take it seriously, although I had been told time and time again that my readings are always "spot on" and that I am "amazingly insightful" in my advice. Yet, I doubted myself.

I was scared.

Scared to find out if I could really do it.

Scared that people might not approve of my work.

Scared that it might affect the rest of my work (ie: my work at the college).

But as this tenure process has unfolded, I began to think about what comes next. What do I DO, if I am no longer teaching college level history, as I have done or thought about for over 20 years? That was such an intimidating question, with no immediate, logical answer.

Until my friends shook me up (figuratively) and said, "DUH! You need to do tarot readings and dream interpretation! For MONEY!"

So, several months ago, I began preparing to launch into this new venture, spending more time with the cards. I have begun studying runes, another ancient divination system. I have done more investigation into dream symbolism. I have cultivated my knowledge and skills.

All in preparation for my big premiere.

And the unveiling was last night. Last night, in the wake of that horrible finalization of my career in higher education. And my hubby was gone. I was alone to face my Goliath. I was nervous. I was afraid. I almost decided I couldn't do it. But that would not have been fair to my two good friends who had organized the event and have supported me from the very get-go.

So, onward I went. Determined to at least put forth my best effort, and hope that I didn't shatter my nose when I fell flat on my face.

I did seven readings last night, in the space of about 3 and a half hours. It was exhilarating, exhausting, and challenging. It made me feel alive. It made me fly. And I realized, as I sat at the table with these individuals who had come to me seeking guidance, direction, and answers, that I was still teaching. That I was making a difference. That I have a special gift that I can share with others that might help them find their true paths in life. And I was transformed.

One of the women for whom I read, a friend of the hosts, told me that I was "amazing," and she was visibly moved by the reading. She walked out of the room, to rejoin the rest of the crowd, and she jokingly remarked "Well, you two obviously called her and told her exactly what to tell me!"

I saw things for all of my querents that were blatantly obvious to me, things that they had tried to hide from the world and themselves. I urged them to face these challenges and tap into their own power. I gave them "homework." I was still teaching. It was beyond amazing.

So, this day that began with the closing of one door, ended quite clearly with the opening of a new one. Last night, I found my bliss.

Ironically enough, it was at the house of the woman who writes the BlissChick blog. How cool is that? Who knew, that to find my bliss all I had to do was go visit the BlissChick?

Though I had refused to recognize it, my path in higher education had me beaten down, defeated, and confined, long before I received the negative tenure review. Had I been truly listening to myself, perhaps I might have taken this new road several years ago. What is important, though, is that now I am listening. I am embracing this self, this purpose, this path. And I am excited to see where it takes me.

Oh, and I know that, wherever I go, Dave will be ever faithfully by my side.

Find your passion. Find what makes you fly. The tops of clouds are an awesome sight.


Christiana Spiritguide said...

Oh, Chris, this is Beautiful. I am so happy that you are finally able to see yourself as others have seen you all along, and that you are able to see the value of this amazing gift that you have! :) YAY!

The Other Laura said...

What a wonderful and inspiring post. I am happy for you.

How about doing tarot readings online too?!

Christiana Spiritguide said...

Laura - I am working on that, yes. I have to set up the site to be able to accept payments online through paypal, etc. But eventually, yes, I will be offering an online option as well.

Thanks for your input, and I'm glad you liked the post!

Hope you keep tuned into the blog!

Christiana Spiritguide said...

And Christine - you left your comment as ME! How funny is that! But thanks, too, for your comments. I appreciate all the wonderful support. Truly.

Megan Potter said...

Maybe you also defined Blisschick's bliss too: showing other people their own bliss... hmm...

I'm so glad it went well. I'm part way in your boat, but don't have lovely people to throw me a party so I can dive in like you did. (I'm learning to love runes almost as much as I love the Tarot too!)

There are all kinds of teaching, and I know you'll be just as fabulous at this new kind of teaching as you were at the old.

Oh, and, I always find that when people put off making the change themselves God steps in and forces it along - can't tell you how many friends and clients I've seen get fired because they were too scared to jump... Know you are just being prompted in the right direction.

I think I'll stop blabbing now.


p.s. if you don't mind, could you follow the link in my name and take my survey? Can really use the input!

Anonymous said...

What kind of airhead is this CHICK!? HA! I adjusted your comment form and then remained in disguise -- as YOU -- to leave my own comment. SORRY!

(For everyone who is confused, the first comment here is really by me, The Blisschick. :) )

Miles said...

Inspiring post Chris. I knew exactly what you'd be sharing as soon as I read the title.

Perfect, and WELL written!

Christiana Spiritguide said...

Thank you, Miles. Your comments mean a lot.


WrightStuff said...

What a great story. It reminds me a bit of the scene in Up in the Air where George Clooney gives the bad news to a guy that his job is no more then softens it by telling him he is giving him an opportunity to start afresh - to fulfill dreams. OK, so his character was being paid to say that, to soften the blow, but it's true. We allow ourselves to be stuck on one path without exploring others equally rewarding. Go girl!

Eco Yogini said...

what a fantastic evening! This IS a fantastical opportunity, and yes you ARE still teaching. This teaching may bring you so much more.... there is something about directly helping people lead happier lives that is satisfying.

Many Blessings Chris on your New Journey!!! :)

Christiana Spiritguide said...

Thank you so much to all of you who have written comments supporting my transition. It's exciting and energizing to know that there are so many people - far more than I dreamed - who think I can succeed and do good (and also do well) in this new role.

I wish peace, joy, and a sense of completion to all of you.


just me said...

Blessings to you on your path. Sometimes, I find, God gives us a kick in the pants to head in the direction we are meant to go. I see your doors and windows flying open!

Anonymous said...

How cool for you! I used to be interested in Tarot, waay back in high school. I no longer have my deck, and personally, even though I no longer believe in the supernatural (of course I admit I could be wrong ;-) ), I think the cards themselves are lovely and interesting, and I certainly think they can be a tool for insight. I think it's great that you have a gift for helping others gain insight into their lives, and great that you are pursuing it! Best wishes to you in your new endeavour!

Brooks Hall said...

What a compelling story... Go for it!

Christiana Spiritguide said...

Amy - I suppose it depends on how you define "supernatural." There are those who would say God is "supernatural", since he is above the natural forces at work in the world. I personally do not see the Tarot as "fortune telling," by any means, but rather as a means of examination, insight, and self-discovery that can help us better focus our energies and discover the path or paths that lie before us.

As with any form of meditation, there are no easy answers, just waiting to be discovered. Any path takes time, energy, and devotion to find and to follow. I simply hope to play a role in that discovery process. And as I told one of my clients the other night, we do know the answers - they lie within us - we just don't always know what questions we should be asking.

Thanks for your comments, Amy, and I hope you keep following my blog!


Anonymous said...


What a great story!

I'm doing the Happy Dance for you!

Can't wait to come back that way so I can have a reading with you in person.


Anonymous said...

Teaching knows no boundaries, and those that teach are taught through the act of teaching.

Congrats on discovering your new path! May it continue to unfold in surprising new ways :)

Helen RScP said...

This is fabulous!! And "coincidentally" I just tried my very first 4 spread? (I'm not sure if that's what it's called) tarot reading today. It was incredibly helpful to me at a pivotal point in my relationship with my daughter.

I'm so happy that you're free to follow your bliss and offer your gift to the world!! Love, Helen

Kiki said...

I found this post via BlissChick, just at the time when I'm finishing up my Ph.D. and making the decision to do something else rather than stay in academia. What you said about feeling beaten down and confined long before The Letter arrived is something that I have struggled with while completing my degree. Also like you, I have an innate desire to teach on a one-to-one and interpersonal level that I'm looking to parley into counseling and coaching, and a silent secret history of reading the cards as well.

It's so inspiring and encouraging to see how someone so like me is coming out on top of this transition away from university teaching, even though that's what we've been trained for. Coming across your post on the same day I submit my dissertation for defense is a powerful reminder than I can follow my instincts out of academia. Thank you!!!

Christiana Spiritguide said...

KiKi -- Thanks so much for your comment. I wish you all the best with whatever path you choose for the future. Completing a PhD is not an easy task, in any field. To actually come to fruition, a dissertation requires great energy, time, devotion, focus, and sacrifice. Even if you leave academia, this process will have served you well.

It is ironic, however, that in a profession (higher education) that is supposed to be opening up young minds to a diverse realm of ideas, we instead see a very narrow, rigid, and monolithic mindset prevailing. At once, we are supposed to entertain, enlighten, engage, and entrance our student body, but only so long as we don't tweak anyone's sensibilities. Oh, and it also helps if you are male.

As I have watched the state of our educational system plummet over the past 15 years, I have finally reached the point where I can say "enough is enough" and find new ways to teach that actually make a difference.

To those who are still optimistic about higher ed, I say "please do what you can and don't give up!"

To you, Kiki, I say follow your bliss. Go where you heart leads you. Be true.