The Job of Your Life with Karen Schaffer

Get out of your rut and find your passion

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Nice Long Juicy Thoughts from Deepak Chopra

Posted by Karen on October 11, 2009

I think this is a brilliant quote…there’s so much richness in these ideas. Learning how to “be” with your hurt is the only way through to something different – the way to happiness through freedom of emotion. The more you accept what is, the more spacious and wonderful life is. Enjoy.

“Unhappy people are always confused when they are told to try and be happy.

Their minds are occupied by grievances; there seems to be no room for new experiences that might be uplifting, and even if they came along, they would be seen through the gray haze of one’s misery.

So the search cannot be for happy experiences. Those are already available in abundance. The search is for an opening that allows happiness to become your experience. This opening comes about very differently from the way most people suppose. Most people try to make themselves happy by forcing their unhappy feelings underground, or by turning their backs on them or pretending that they don’t exist.

If you have a closet stuffed with junk, the best way to find room for new stuff is to clean the closet. In this case the closet is the nervous system, and one cleans it out at the level of awareness.

Communicate your desire to be free of this hurt. Ask for inner guidance to The healing process isn’t mystical; it involves well-known practical steps.

Look directly at what hurts you and let it show you what to do. Listen to what you feel, but don’t give in to it. Know for certain that you can remove old hurts. Be patient, since you will have to return to your old hurt many times.

Most people feel trapped by their resentments because their behavior runs counter to these steps. They don’t look honestly at their hurt but focus instead on blaming someone outside themselves. They don’t communicate a desire to let go of their anger but keep nursing it. Instead of listening to what they feel in the moment, they replay the same tired reactions from the past. Instead of being patient, they take a few stabs at healing only to conclude that there’s nothing to be done.”

Adapted from: Peace Is the Way, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2005).

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Life Can Change In A Moment

Posted by Karen on September 4, 2009

If you’ve been following the Bryant case in Toronto, Judith Timson of the Globe and Mail wrote an excellent article analysing how perceptions keep changing as we learn more about each man on that tragic night. She concludes with a great point:

How frustrating that we will have to wait at least until mid-October to know the end of this sad tale, that in the meantime we will have to deal with more ambiguity and nuance, with not knowing which details matter and which are just the easy ways we have come to typecast our heroes and villains – not to mention voice our own frustrations. We may finally have to acknowledge that notwithstanding a Harvard degree or an alcohol problem, both of these human beings gave in to the wrong emotion at the wrong time. Yet of course only one lost his life.

Told that way, we are left with no clear villain – only colossal misjudgment in a human tragedy that reminds us what we don’t want to think too closely about, lest it happen to us: Our lives are completely hostage to human frailty. That isn’t the satisfying moral conclusion we want to draw from this story. But it’s the one we’ve got“.

I have also been fascinated by this case and for the reason Timson identifies, which is that in a flash of anger or fear or upset we can make terrible decisions that can impact us for the rest of our lives – or cause our deaths. I think what makes the story a “hard-to-look-away” story is that by the grace of god goes all of us – one bad decision, one temperamental moment and it’s over. And in this case, that goes for both men. No matter what the end result, each of them made bad decisions that compounded into tragedy.

How do we stay grounded when our tempers are flaring? How do we walk away from an ego moment? How do we know when it’s best to let go, even if it means the other guy might get the upper hand?

A Life Changing Moment

The practice of what Landmark Education calls “getting unhooked” and all spiritual practices talk about in some form or other is the practice of being able to “let go” right when Ego has us in its grip. The practice of ego detachment has to start long before the penultimate confrontation. It’s a daily practice of letting go in the moment…letting go of being right, letting go of being understood, letting go of the outer world asserting that we’re okay.

I have a really extraordinarily calm relationship with my husband, which I credit to our mutual practice of being able to let go of anger and upset within moments and quickly moving to communication and resolution. . And it helps that we both do it…over time we have come to trust that letting go on one side will lead to the other person letting go as well.

The ability to let go in the moment after an upset didn’t come for me all at once though. I was practicing that skill long before I met him in ways big and small – with everyone from family members to the person who cut in front of me in line. It’s a commitment to peace. Inner peace. It  didn’t come easily and I failed often. But little by little I got stronger in it, where an upset didn’t have to last days or even hours, but I could work through in the moment what had triggered me, why I wanted to react and get to a place of being able to share that without making the other person the enemy.

I haven’t always been successful. Who is? It’s hard to do when you’re tired or vulnerable or full up from other emotional situations. It’s hard to do if you have an unsafe history with the other person. It’s hard to do when a stranger is screaming in your face, because you’ve never built up trust with that person and have to trust in yourself to create it in that moment. But the way is always there and it’s practice that gets us there faster.

It’s not about giving up your ground.

On the contrary it’s about honouring the other person’s ground and then sharing your perspective. If you’re yelling your “perspective” at someone or you’re trying to getting across to them while you’ve got them in a headlock, it’s probably not going to get through. It would take the Dalai Lama to peer out from under your arm and say “You must be really upset I took your special cupcake from the fridge. I apologize for depriving you and I want you to know I did it out of extreme hunger”.

But if you practice letting go, of calming down, of not allowing that flash of anger and hurt to create your reality but to acknowledge and then step away from the feeling and look for another path that would honour you both, that is where inner strength and inner peace is created.

And it’s that very inner certainty that will hold you stable in a chaotic world, and keep the people around you – the ones you know and the ones you don’t – safe from harm, no matter how they behave.

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It’s been a long wait…

Posted by Karen on July 27, 2009

Thanks for your patience as I juggle a busy summer of moving, minor surgery and work. I’m sure there’s many a post I could share on the old “work/life” balance conundrum. Overall, the blog may be a little barren in recent posts but life is full, rich and wonderful…thanks for asking!

I’ll be back soon…working on a post on spaciousness versus drifting…

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On Being Sick II

Posted by Karen on May 13, 2009

Due to the small germ incubator I live with, I have been sick more times in the last 5 months than I have for the last 5 years. I’m told this stage of constant viral visits lasts a year while Freddy’s immune system has a little party with every bug it encounters. Having been through chicken pox, stomach flu, two different respiratory viruses and most recently laryngitis (for FOUR days…try not talking for FOUR days…especially if your work and home life relies on the talking!) I’m not sure quite what else is in store (I’m crossing my fingers that swine flu will not be on that list).

Still, the upside of sickness is feeling the energy return. My apologies for the radio silence…I’ve got all kinds of ideas and interesting things to tell you about and to reference, which will start emerging as I regain my energy and enthusiasm.

And the lovely counter-point to all the germs he brings home is watching my son bloom. I had no idea how much fun it would be to witness a human being coming into his own awareness. It’s such a privilege. Watching Freddy explore language and numbers and stories and his boundless imagination, and then seeing how he takes these experiences and begins to connect them together and create context is an extraordinary experience and well worth all the yucky bugs. And the potty training. And the early morning wake ups.

Wait, why did I have a kid again?

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Finally…this makes me happy

Posted by Karen on April 5, 2009

After eight years of watching this kind of stuff being dismantled, it is so joyful to be able to report this story.

If you wonder how it relates to your career, here’s the connection:

I believe that the more connected you are to your career path – awake and alive to your true calling – you inevitably begin to open up the pathways inside yourself that connect you to your body, your community, and the earth. Finding your place in the career cosmos is another way of finding your place in the actual cosmos. As your Spirit aligns with the deep satisfaction of doing a job that’s right in your “sweet spot”, the Ego subsides and authentic confidence emerges.

In short, I’m making the leap between the discovery of one’s calling and a desire to protect the earth.

Is that too big a leap? All I know is that the clients I’ve had over the years, the ones struggling to find what fits them at their core…the biggest internal shift is that their values have changed. And the values never, ever change to in the direction of Ego. They always shift towards wanting to make a difference, make an impact, do good. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to make money – but they want their money made in a way that corresponds with their deeply people-centered values.

And as soon as you care about those outside yourself, you care about the protection of nature. It goes hand in hand.

So I’m very happy about this story. It’s a great news story. It may not save the economic system (which is a whole other discussion) but it’s a lovely story nonetheless.

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The Job of Your Life…and Mine

Posted by Karen on January 19, 2009

the-job-of-your-life-cover_jpgHello there fellow explorers.

Welcome to The Job of Your Life blog.

Here’s how I’m envisioning what goes here: this is my place to capture things I’m thinking about around work, career exploration, job search and the emotional blocks to getting what we want.

I will also be tracking the release of the 10th Anniversary edition of The Job of Your Life and be able to interact with those of you, around the world, who keep finding and loving this dear book of mine. I love it too and I’m so glad that it is available again to share with you…(now available with more Job-of-your-lifeness!).

I’m also loving the new cover, designed by Craig Francis of Craig Francis Design.

Okay…that’s the set up…stay tuned for more insightful and entertaining posts. And please feel free to comment or get in touch with your thoughts.


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