I was a senior at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, doing my best to keep up with the demands of endless homework. I knew that students with a high GPA got hired quicker. So, for 4 years I toiled at my desk, crunching numbers for calculus, reading books and memorizing dates for history class. My scheduler was packed with activities and actions I needed to complete. I ended up graduating with a 3.9 GPA, magna cum laude.
One day, I heard that an alumni of Aquinas College was coming to campus to recruit students. Jeff was a manager at a Fortune 200 automotive corporation. Since I wanted to practice my interviewing skills, I set up an appointment with him. The only part of the conversation that stayed in my memory was me talking about tomatoes in Azerbaijan, a country where I was born. I was sharing with him that tomatoes in the US didn’t have much flavor nor taste and they couldn’t compare to the ones from the sunny country of my birthplace. I didn’t think much about the interview in the days to come.
I found out later, that I “passed” the initial interview and that I was being invited to Southfield, Michigan for the next step of the process. I drove for two hours on a freeway to the corporate headquarters to meet for a second round of interviews. I saw 6 people that afternoon; three of them were managers of the Customer Financial Department. I thought that since they took the hiring process so seriously, that this job must be really demanding and they need someone who is very smart.
After a few days I was excited to find out that that I got the job! I was nearing my graduation date and I realized that I still haven’t received an offer letter from the company. I contacted Jeff and he told me that they were concerned that I might get bored with the job. I assured them that I wouldn’t. I needed to start earning money and the pay was really good. At that time I thought that was enough to keep me happy.
After three months on the job, as I moved through the learning curve, I DID get bored. Sitting in a grey cubicle, calling customers and collecting money for past due invoices wasn’t why I was born into this world.
I just KNEW THAT!
Most of the days I would come home from work and cry. I complained to mom, to my brother and to my friends. I felt miserable and I didn’t know what to do. One day, as I was once again complaining to my friend on the phone, I couldn’t listen to myself anymore. It’s as if some other part of me showed me that I was done with blame and being a victim of my circumstances.
I started exploring the possibility of transferring to another department. My manager told me that transfers were allowed only after a year of employment. “I can wait” I thought. After a year passed, their policy changed to 2 years. Even though my soul didn’t feel at home, my fears were stronger. I wore black clothes to work, as a sign of defiance and I hardly spoke to any of my teammates. One day, I just couldn’t take it anymore.
I started searching for a way out.
Thank goodness, I am a lover of books. In the library I stumbled upon books written by Paulo Coelho, Carl Rogers and Carl Jung. These three wise men guided me. Their writings awakened my heart and resonated with my soul. I, for the first time in my life, got a glimpse of a world that fascinated me. They opened my eyes to parts of me that I didn’t know existed. It’s like looking at a clock from the outside and one day realizing that I can open the clock; I can see the mechanisms, wheels and gears from the inside.
I immersed myself into my inner life. I started to listen to myself. I felt the pull of my soul towards something greater, although, I couldn’t quiet pinpoint it. I suddenly knew that I needed to move from Michigan to California.
I started with something very simple.
At my work computer I changed the background image to one of the beach with a gorgeous sunset and palm trees. Every morning, as I would type in my login and password, that picture would greet my eyes. In one of the books, I read that I needed to take action. It made sense that just by staring at an image, I wouldn’t suddenly be transplanted to California. I searched on-line and applied for jobs in that state. I even bought a plane ticket and flew to Los Angeles to attend a career fair. I got an offer for an interview to work for the CIA. I gave it some thought but turned them down. Living a double life wasn’t part of my destiny.
One day, as I searched through the company location map, I discovered that they had an office in California. I applied for an administrative job. They flew me there for an interview!!!! After a high wave of excitement, I dropped into disappointment. I didn’t get the job. I; however, got hired for another job in a small town of Mission Viejo, working for the same company.
When I flew to Orange County to search for an apartment, I decided to drive down the coast on PCH1. I parked by car by the beach. I walked onto the sand and then stood on top of a huge rock, looking out into the blue ocean. I stood still, captivate by awe. In that moment, I realized that I was inside the picture I was looking at every day for a year. Here’s the ocean. Here are the palm trees and the sunset is right in front of me!!!
This experience changed my life and I became aware of the power that resides within me when I follow my heart and soul. I learned that when my dreams and the Divine force are in alignment, miracles CAN happen! I found out that I COULD change my life!
As I settled in Southern California, I felt called to study psychology but not the traditional kind. I enrolled at a university and after 2 years of deeply transformational work I got a Master’s in Spiritual Psychology. I became a certified coach and took dozens of courses in self-development and transformation. My fascination with the inner world continues to fuel me. Just recently I came back from a trip to Israel where I completed a yearlong training, learning how to heal and integrate collective and intergenerational trauma.
I now work as a coach, supporting people who feel disconnected and like they don’t belong anywhere and who are longing for belonging and a sense of true home. My life isn’t devoid of challenges, yet I feel deeply aligned with my calling now :-) I feel like I am coming home to myself and the world in a deeper way with each day!!!