The Alchemist.

I’m sitting in a small village called Brookville, located in Long Island, New York. It’s almost midnight, and I am relaxed, ruminating, and reflecting. The big three R’s of the introvert.

I’m working in Manhattan tomorrow morning with a group of students.

I help coordinate trips with international students who are here for a summer academic/travel program. We visit Manhattan and the surrounding areas. It’s amazing.

This trip was as surprising to me as it was to everyone else I told. Most found out right as I was packing my bags and hopping into my “Soul.” I love that word: Soul.

Fitting, isn’t it? I love that. My car allows me to expand my soul through travel…

**

Three weeks ago, I was working at the YMCA, day in and day out. It was a steady office routine that was, in fact, slowly poisoning my spirit. And I didn’t recognize it.

I was hired on to initially do something beneficial to my community — offering financial scholarships so people in need would have a place to “nurture mind, body, and spirit.” However,  this need had more than doubled after the opening of a new branch. By the time the dust settled the scholarship money just wasn’t around anymore. The decision had been made from the board: no more assistance until 2016, and a limited program from there onward.

My job switched from financial assistance specialist to managerial.

I love the Y. I love the atmosphere, the people, my colleagues. I did not love my job.

I told them I was going to move onward. I splashed out my resume and in a matter of mere days, found myself being hired to come to New York.

I interviewed Wednesday over the phone. She said, “Can we see you this weekend?”

I said, “Why the hell not?”

I love my Soul.

**

I finished reading The Alchemist recently.  The story has a moral and advice: seek your personal treasure. Learn your personal lesson. Find your personal journey. “The entire universe conspires to help you when you find your personal legend.”

I am no longer neglecting my personal legend. Recently, I read something about helping others and having firm boundaries. Once we realize that our self-interest is inseparable from the self-interests of others, it becomes easier to take care of ourselves in our efforts to take care of others. This is an easy concept, but it is one that has sometimes given me difficulty. I want to save everyone. I want to do what’s best for everyone else. In the moment, I might forget that in order to help anyone, I must do right by myself first and foremost. Self-centeredness, or selfishness, is not the same as self-interest.

Caveat. On that same note, one must not use this at a carte blanche excuse to be selfish. Selfishness is not the same as self-interest, and self-interest is not the same as selfishness. It goes both ways. It’s a balance. Do what’s right by you, but not if it hurts others. “Stay in your lane,” to put it simply. Don’t say you are going to “do right by me” when that means you are involved in affecting someone else’s life negatively.

(Put on your oxygen mask and then help your neighbor.

Don’t put on your oxygen mask and then take your neighbors, too.)

In any case… it seems I’ve been afraid to take care of myself. And it seems in response, elegantly, in its infinite wisdom, the universe has swept in to help. I am thankful — truly my gratitude is enormous — that I have been so blessed in this way. I have met like-minded, beautiful people who have reminded me who I am. Who I am at my core, in my soul. I’m compassionate. I am a creative. I am a kinesthetic learner. I am a doer. I am a hands-on learner, a smart resourceful travel, and a kindred spirit to those with windswept hearts and tattered passport smiles.

If I do something, I do with it passion. I’m big on passion. I believe the word compassionate has the words compass and passionate for a reason.

I have been given a promotion and time-extension here, and have been offered a promotion / offer to come back to this company next year. Either in NY, or California, or New Zealand or Australia or the UK…Yes, the universe has conspired to help me follow my personal legend. The pieces have fallen into place. When the universe taps your shoulder, you follow orders…!

I do not belong in an office.

 

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