(Before I begin, let me just say that Morpheus doesn’t make an appearance in this story. However, it does include plenty of wisdom from my guides.)
I was having a bleak start to 2021. It was mid-January and the holiday spirit was long gone. My mind was in a negative tailspin. I was reflecting on my aspirations as a fledgling life coach. 8 months prior, I had joined the family company out of desperation. My coaching gig wasn’t working out and I needed a “real” job. I felt like I was regressing spiritually. I was part of the corporate game once more and it seemed like a major detour on my spiritual path. My family is in the retail business. We sell everything from luxury cosmetics to spanking new household appliances. Everything felt superficial to me.
One day, I was speaking to my brother, who also happens to be the CEO of the company. I was on the verge of tears. I didn’t want to be masterminding sales strategies. I didn’t want to create digital content about trendy products. I didn’t want to spend my days analysing e-commerce data. Eff you, google analytics. I felt like the job was detracting from my life purpose. I wanted to be a lightworker. I wanted to talk to people about their life struggles, their childhood traumas, their feelings. I wanted to nurse them back to emotional health, like a 21st century Florence Nightingale.
My brother interrupted my emotional rant. “Hey, have you thought of HR?” He has a tendency to bypass the emotions and offer annoyingly practical solutions. The idea took me by surprise. Say what?
He said, “Yeah, HR. Maybe a role in training. You can help people. Think about it.”
“Okay, I’ll think about it,” I said.
One month later, I accepted the role and submitted a proposal outlining the mental health initiatives that I intended to implement. I was advocating compassionate leadership. I wanted employees to have access to mental health care. I wanted to build social support systems at work. I wanted to destigmatise mental illness. We agreed that I would wait another 6 months before I could make the transition. There was an important e-commerce project to complete. In the meantime, I was panicking. I had major doubts about my abilities and my brother had big ideas. “We need to change the culture. Screw the old rubber plantation mentality. We have to show people that we care. And I agree with you about the importance of mental health. You will be an ambassador for the family.” What he meant by “rubber plantation mentality” was the prevalence of authoritative systems that put senior management on a pedestal at the expense of employees who had little say. My brother is the sort of man who roots for the underdog. He can sniff out entitlement like a hound, and his razor-sharp intelligence can finish off an enemy in one fatal blow. I’m glad I’m his sister and not his enemy.
I couldn’t stop the waves of anxiety. What have I just agreed to take on? Am I making a mistake? A little voice in my head trembled, “This is a bad idea. Your dreams are too big. This is way beyond your capabilities.” I’ve never conducted a training session before, let alone been in charge of training a company of hundreds of people. Oh my god, how much of this training can we outsource? And what am I doing talking about mental health in a corporate world? I needed to quiet the mind.
I plugged in my earphones and played the soundtrack to Bridgerton. You know, the new series on Netflix about debutantes finding love? I’m a huge fan of the show.
As I closed my eyes, I envisioned myself in a ballroom exactly like the one in Bridgerton. Jesus appeared before me. “Oh, it’s you again,” I said. He smiled silently. He had a twinkle in his eyes. We twirled around the ballroom and the room began to spin. It’s a weird feeling dancing with an ascended master. I should mention that I’m not a Christian and it didn’t feel sacrilegious at all dancing with a holy man.
The scene transformed into a misty forest. I was led to a clearing. A single lonely tree came into view. The branches were bare and it looked like it had survived a tough winter. Next to it was an empty wheelchair. “I hope that’s not for me,” I thought. As I looked over to the left, my grandfather appeared. He was standing on his own two feet! My grandfather used a wheelchair to get around in his twilight years. By the time I was born, he was 85 years old and too frail to walk.
Before I continue, let me share a little background information. My grandfather emigrated to this country at the age of 22. He earned a living peddling goods on the streets. After several years, he earned enough money to set up shop. Then the war broke out. My father says he survived on a diet of tapioca and sweet potatoes. Times were hard. When the war was over, business boomed and he went down in history as one of the best rags to riches stories in the country.
Under the boughs of the tree, I was in the presence of the legendary man once more. He stood there silently without saying a word. I was left alone in the vast cosmos. There were images flying past me, like a picture show. I saw the land, the sea, the planet. I saw images of tribal people. My grandfather communicated without words, “Your worries are but a pinprick in the universe.” I felt the enormity of all the stories of humanity weaving together and layering one on top of the other. I was told that as soul families we carry these stories and recurring themes with us through space and time. My grandfather’s role was huge for my soul family, because he set up the “operating system” for future generations to come in and fulfil their earthly mission. I received the knowledge that in this incarnation, I am meant to transform lives through the business. I still have trouble believing that, but that’s what I was told.
My grandfather was a staunch Christian and he used his faith to help many people. In that moment, he made me feel the impact he had on others. I felt the emotions of those he touched. He showed me that it was the lives of the people that really mattered, not the business itself. He began throwing clothing and furniture into a bonfire. “What are you doing?” I asked. He said, “When we strip away the material things, when we stop thinking about profit margins and the dollar value, what is left? The people.”
He told me that I have a mission to finish the work that he started. The work of touching people’s lives. I believe this is the reason why my soul has chosen to return to the fold in a different capacity. My first stint with the company lasted from 2012 to 2014. I left too soon, before my mission could be accomplished.
I asked him, “How do I find my voice? Sometimes I don’t even have the confidence to speak up in meetings. How am I’m going to take on this training role in HR?” He said, “Your compassion for others will awaken that voice. When you begin to see the impact that you are making on people’s lives, it will give you the courage to speak up even more.”
I was back in the ballroom dancing with Jesus. He looked into my eyes. “Dance with life,” he said. I’ve forgotten about the beauty of life. I was too hung up on the spiritual “downsides” of working for a corporation. I was looking for the perfect conditions to begin my role as a lightworker, but the opportunity was right under my nose. Sometimes we take life too seriously. We get caught up in our purpose, and we forget to enjoy ourselves.
Every waking moment is a golden opportunity to dance with life.
Image credit: The Dance by Yongsung Kim
[UPDATE: A couple of weeks after the discussion with my brother, he rang me up to say that their Training Executive had resigned unexpectedly. Apparently, he had found better opportunities elsewhere. We had originally planned on me being an extra headcount in HR, but now there was a real need to fill a gap. The company convinced him to stay on for another 6 months, so that I could assume his role after completion of a major e-commerce project. I felt obligated to continue with the project, even though my heart really wanted to make the move to HR sooner rather than later. “I wish things could happen sooner,” I thought. A few days ago, my brother rang me up again to say that the Training Executive didn’t want to stay on any longer. It looks like I’ll be starting my new role next month. I was stunned. I felt the power of an unseen force, moving all the variables in my favour. I will keep you posted on whatever happens next.]