My Sad Story
BPD Impairment 5 – Instability in goals, aspirations, values, or career plans
Up until the summer after my grade twelve graduation, I had planned to be a priest. Part of this was, of course, to please my mother who was convinced that I was special because I was the seventh son, and being special, of course, meant the highest calling, the priesthood. I also attended an all-boys Catholic high school where I was taught by priests (with the exception of my Physics teacher who was a lay person). About twice a year, Father Gocarths would come around and interview and counsel and encourage the boys who had hopes of becoming priests. Because of my near perfect grades he informed me that I would spend one year in a novitiate in Ottawa and then move on to studies in Rome. However, it was during my Grade Twelve year that I discovered women.
Because of my interest in History and Social Studies, I was selected to attend a provincial mock United Nations as a role diplomat from Chile. This brought me into contact with a brilliant and attractive young lady from my city’s neighbouring high school. She asked me out on Sadie Hawkins day and that was the beginning of the end of my plans to be a priest. The summer after my graduation I made up for lost time and dated thirteen different young women, decided that I had to give up my career choice, and applied to university as a pre-med student. That lasted one year when I realized I did not really like sciences and the sight of blood caused an emotional reaction. The next year of college I entered into general arts with a major in English Literature and a minor in classical studies. I became a poet and a philosopher. The third year I decided to become a lawyer and took classes towards that end.
During the summer of that year, I got a job as Public Relations Director for one of the Liberal candidates in the federal elections of 1968. After the election, I got a job as reporter and news announcer at my town’s local radio and television station. During that year, I was offered an Executive Assistant position for one of the cabinet ministers in Ottawa, where I could proceed with my plans to be a lawyer on the side. But by that time, I fell in love with the receptionist at the radio station and decided to postpone my plans to go to Ottawa for a year.
I never got there. The next summer we got married and we decided that I should become a teacher so we could do lay ministry activities while teaching with the First Nations Schools in the north. This led me to the search to find better ways to help students with academic difficulties, first as a reading specialist, and then as an educational psychologist. Looking back, none of these career choices were my own. Priesthood was to please my mother, medicine and law were to prove that I had external worth, and teaching was to please my wife. If I could do it all over again, I would be a professor of classical studies.
From my book Bi – My values were all borrowed. I had attempted to become a priest to please my mother even though my mind was consumed with erotic thoughts. I had married a woman who had clear views of who she was and what she wanted to do with her life. I had become a missionary teacher in a remote First Nation’s village even though my heart had been set on becoming a constitutional lawyer. When my life imploded, I had to set my heart free to find out what it truly valued. I drew a blank.
There are no values left in this dry and thirsty land.
They have all died, dried up and blown away
In the hot, dry desert winds of yesterday.
There is no sense of right and wrong allowed to breathe.
The cruel hands of fate have grasped them by the throat,
And choked them into blue-faced fleeting submission.
There is no way to choose what I need to choose;
The traitor that controls my decisions lives by lies,
Leaving the self with no truth to believe in.
And so the journey goes on with no light to light the way,
Just a dim candle in the absolute blackness of space.
As the fragile flame sputters,
The last sense of hope fades into darkness.
The Silver Lining
So what good can come of not having our own values and aspirations, setting our own goals, and choosing our own careers? We have to look at the whole journey not just count the steps along the way. The journey to Self-actualization is a process that starts with discontent. Because we can never please all the people all the time, this process soon wears thin and we get less and less joy out of our choices and life pursuits. This results eventually with us sitting down with ourselves and taking stock of our lives and what really matters to us. We grow by the process, the journey not the destination. It is a journey that others may never take. This journey inevitably results in becoming aware and conscious of our higher self and it is only through being in touch with our higher self that we eventually come to realize the things that make us truly happy and lead us into harmony with the life force around us. Only then can we make an honest and selfish decision to do whatever we find pleasing and refreshing to our own souls. We choose our occupation and plan our life to expand and grow as a conscious and awakened human being.
My five suggestions for borderliners
- Let’s do an inventory starting with values. In our journal, we do a brain scan and write down the things we value most in life. No evaluation, we just write down what comes to mind. Now we get in touch with our higher self and prioritize the five things we value most (aside: there is magic in five. It is the number of things our conscious mind can comfortably hold in short term memory while working on the concepts as a whole). Beside each we decide if it is your own value or a borrowed value. If there are some here that we have borrowed, we take possession of them and make them our own, if not, we discard them and choose others.
- Now using the same process we make a list of our five aspirations. Again these cannot be borrowed, we have to take possession of them or choose another. These are our life time hopes and dreams. We don’t evaluate or worry about whether or not they are practical or doable. We just write them down. Start now. Do the following activity and post it somewhere that you will see it throughout the day.
- We take these five aspirations and make five one year goals based on these hopes and dreams. We next decide on one thing we can do now or in the near future to start us on the path to making our dreams come true.
- We take a look at our present career choice and decide if it is our own or borrowed. If it is borrowed we take a look at what it is that we would really like to do as a career to make our hopes and dreams come true. If we decide that we have to stay with the present career, we make plans to own, love and enjoy it. (Aside: dare to dream big. You have the amazing power of the universal mind to help you make your dreams come true. If you are interested visit my wife’s website at dtlc.ca. She is a dreambuilder coach helping people build a life that they would truly love to live.)
- One we awaken and become aware of our higher self we realize that we are beautiful and powerful human beings. Everything is possible. We look at life in general. Are we living our dream? If not, it’s time to be true to ourselves and live our own life, one that we truly enjoy living. This includes where we live and work, our time freedom, our hobbies and pastimes, yes, and even our relationships. Everything should lead to joy and expansion. If we are living a joyless restricted life, we need to make the necessary changes so that our spirit can grow and expand.