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Volume 9 Issue 5
Jan/Feb 2004

Living in Balance
The Art of Taking Care of Oneself

Let's Eat Pumpkin

Ayurveda – The Science of Life An Ancient Medicine

Jin Shin Jyutsu
A Journey Toward Self-Knowledge and Harmony

Your Inner Voice is a Key to Career Planning


Your Inner Voice is a Key to Career Planning
Natural Reflections
by Jennifer Holmes

"Follow your passion!" "Don't be shy, just be yourself!" "You're so good with children, you should go into day care." These are common pieces of advice from armchair career specialists. They have good intentions and they genuinely want the best for you. However, I challenge these statements. They are contradictory, not complete, and presumptuous. For example, "Don't be shy, just be yourself!" is something I heard a lot when I was young. If you are shy, you are being yourself. "You're so good with children, you should go into day care." No one has the right to say what you are good at, what your interests are, and what skills you should utilize. This brings me to the first statement, "Follow your passion!" This is easy enough advice to give, but many people choose to seek career planning because they are unclear, or out of focus, and need to first discover what their passion truly is before they can follow it.
Career Planning is about deciding what your passion is and how to fulfill it. You know what it is but the knowledge is buried underneath, inside your gut. You can tap into this source by visualizing, centering, and analyzing your dreams and symbols. Intuitive people can be adept at analyzing their dreams and understanding what message their subconscious is trying to convey. The trick, however, is to remain silent. This is why dream analysis is so effective. When we sleep we shut out all outside stimuli. Then our unconscious speaks. There are tricks to remembering and interpreting your dreams.

If you prefer concrete clues and facts, then use all of your senses to heighten the awareness of your surroundings. Do more research into what seems to interest you.

Writing and using art is an extremely powerful way to hear your inner voice. When you paint or draw without conscious effort, your hand takes over. Your hand has a direct connection to your heart. You may not understand what you are drawing. It may not make any sense. Do not resist. We often draw pictures upside down so be sure to rotate your drawing. Look for consistency. What does this symbol mean to you? Remember that two people drawing butterflies will have two different interpretations.

Listening to your inner voice gives you clarity and focus. I only recently discovered that by denying myself the right to create, paint, and write, I was not being true to myself. I always thought I needed to be in a helping profession within an artistic setting. I have since decided it is the other way around. I need to be creative and expressive in different ways, inside an environment where I can help enrich the lives of others.

In order to follow your heart, you must learn to trust your intuition and what it is saying to you. Trust yourself and do not let others dissuade you. If you decide to share your dream with others, start with the people you feel will support you and who will not judge you or your dream.

Nurture yourself. This is non-negotiable. We have been raised in a society where the priority is others. I grew up with such a strong desire to please others that I neglected myself. By nurturing yourself, you become open to hearing what the inner voice has to say. You gain self-esteem, self-confidence, and happiness, and this is obvious to an outsider. People want to surround themselves with other happy people.

Nurture yourself any way you see fit. It need not cost money. Go for a walk alone or with a pet. This really opens the door to your inner world. Take a bath. Go to the library to read a book. Listen to your favourite music. Light candles. Paint. Draw. Do this for a minimum of half an hour a day. Or if you prefer to do it less than everyday, do it two to three hours a week. The key is to relax your mind, body, and spirit.

Tapping into your inner voice can be stinky business. Along with your passion, your gut holds all your unaddressed emotions – good and bad. Grudges are kept in there until they are dealt with for good. I have come to the conclusion that if you want to make it to the brand new green lawn in the distance, you must wade through the manure, pick it up, deal with it, and move on. Manure is a fertilizer for your growth. Just remember, when you get to the new green grass there will always be cows crapping all over it. These are the people you would rather not deal with, but you must deal with them in order for you to grow. You have no option other than to bury your feelings temporarily.

No one has the right to say what you are good at,
what your interests are,
and what skills you should utilize.

Listening to yourself and understanding what makes you happy leads to strong self-confidence and high self-esteem. When these are healthy, you do not question or judge your plan of action. Enjoy yourself. If you are miserable, you are unproductive, depressed, and pessimistic. You help yourself and others more when you are doing something you love. This is why tapping into your inner voice is vital to career planning. It is the essential ingredient to a successful career choice. Your career choice, no one else's.

Jennifer Holmes, of Saskatoon, is a career planning specialist, facilitator, and entrepreneur. She founded Career Strengths Consulting in 1999. While searching for her own inner voice she rediscovered her passion for the arts, writing, animal totems, and dreams. This has given her the confidence to pursue these professionally. In January she begins a weekly drop-in dream group to empower others to find their true voice. To contact Jennifer phone (306) 244-5520, email: jholmes@careerstrengths.com.

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