As this logistics and planning trip to establish our neurologic music therapy practice draws to a close, my thoughts are turning to the journey ahead. In a couple of days I will go back to Iowa for about a month. In that time I need to organize the pragmatic areas of my life, spend as much quality time as I can with my wife and my children, then pack as much of my life as will fit into my Subaru Outback and head off for the Pacific Northwest and my future. This is one part of the Warrior's Journey...the physical, or outer journey.
The outer journey will consist of over 1900 miles of driving, several rest and fuel stops, truck stop food, motel stays, lots of scenery and lots of podcasts. That journey will also include a stop to meet, in person, fellow music therapist and social media friend Faith Halverson-Ramos. All of these things are sure to be an adventure, but they are all secondary to the most important journey...the inner journey.
All examples of warriors' journeys and heroes' quests we find include the physical/ outer journey. What we find though is that the truly important part of the process is the inner journey the warrior takes. I believe this to be true with my own journey.
There are many places I could say this journey started, but I will begin the tale with losing my last job. Almost three weeks earlier, to the day, I proposed to L. I was elated! I was ready to be in a lifelong relationship again. I was designing and teaching Reiki classes at work, and starting to realize my vision of a staff wellness program through rhythm. Things couldn't be better! Okay, I constantly dealt with anxiety for a reason I couldn't figure out. But I was dealing with it.
Then everything changed. No job, no insurance. The reasons for the position ending are unimportant. In my word against their word situations, I like to remember that each viewpoint is skewed and that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Right away I applied for a couple of jobs...no luck. I kept looking and applying, but days turned to weeks, then months.
I entered a very dark place. I found myself in a deep depression; a depression like I had never known before. My self confidence and self worth were non-existent. I truly felt worthless. If I couldn't be a music therapist, what good was I? I was a financial and emotional burden to my fiancée, I was no fun for my kids to be around...
I looked the very blackest part of my psyche in the eyes and it scared the hell out of me. I didn't know if I could come back from that place. I very nearly lost myself forever.
That amazing woman that I am proud to say is my wife now kept right on loving me, supporting me...even crying with me.
One day in February she said the words that truly became fateful: "I think you should do a national job search."
If you read Part 2 of this series, you know what happened next.
So what have I learned so far on this journey? I learned that it is foolish and dangerous to tie your sense of self to a job or even a career path...Eckhart Tolle reminds us that none of the external ways we identify ourselves have anything to do with who we reallyare.
I learned that anyone who supports you through your darkest times and loves you for who you are even when you are at your worst, deserves a lifetime of love and devotion...and to see you at your best.
I also learned a new way to look at human potential. It can be best expressed with a quote from Bruce Lee:
"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus and you must not stay there...you must go beyond them."
I decided not to accept limits anymore.
In this lifetime, the most powerful adversary I will face is my own dark side. My journey is far from over. This warrior musician lost faith and hope for a while, but there are many battles left to fight. There are neurologic impairments trying to steal quality of life from people in Oregon and I cannot let that go unchecked.
I now pledge my skills and expertise to this cause. I will not waver from my quest.
I embody these words from Steve Vai:
"I am fearless in my heart They will always see that in my eyes I am The Passion; I am The Warfare I will never stop Always constant, accurate and intense"