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Hello fellow travellers 🙂
I discovered this forum at the perfect time and I would be extremely grateful to have some feedback on a dilemma I am having after reading “Pathways to Bliss” regarding a refusal of the call.
To explain the situation thoroughly I need to give a little background information. I am currently 25 years old. I grew up in Milan to an italian father and american mother. I always had a dream to go to the United States growing up. When I turned 18 I got into a prestigious art school in the North East, and so I finally got my chance to go and have my american college experience. My mother is an artist and my father an intellectual so I was kind of taking on the family tradition for lack of a better term; I’m also the oldest of my siblings which might have played a role in me taking it on.
In any case, my first great calling came to me at this threshold of graduating from highschool to embark on this five year art school journey, and I accepted the call with full enthusiasm. The journey went from age 18 to 23. It was a heck of a journey, with many great accomplishments and many great moments of suffering, in particular when my first love left me and I face the dark night of the soul.
I reached my fifth and final year of college exhausted and battleworn, and I had to still slay the great dragon of thesis, which I did. My thesis was actually partly inspired by some of Campbell’s thoughts, but I did not read the texts in depth for lack of time.
When I reached the threshold of graduation from college, a small crisis occured where I had your classic tensions between shadow and persona. I had gone to Austin Texas a couple months prior to graduating and my gut was telling me to move there, but I was being suggested from my institution and from my parents to go to the jobs fair and seize that opportunity to get my first job. So I went to the job’s fair I found a company which seemed rather fun to work at in Brooklyn, NY who wanted to hire me. I was also being told by my parents that Austin was just really far from home and I don’t even have a license so how could I live there and all that logical thinking parents love doing.
I remember after the jobs fair sitting at a table and one of my old painting teachers came to talk to me, and I told him I was struggling between Austin and New York. I was being pulled very strongly to go to Austin, but everyone around me was telling me to go take the job in NYC, not to mention my brother and sister were starting their college in New York that very year, so there was a sense of duty as well. The teacher told me to go to Austin, to follow the heart.
In the end, however, I decided to go to New York. My familial duty (which is the heart in a way) and the suggestions of the institution overrode my unconscious. I was 23 at the time.
So I begin my job in New York, and the well dries up. Its still an adventure because New York is always an adventure, but it just didnt get my blood pumping with joy when I went to work, and I found I was exhausted and uninspired while living there.
I was heading for a burnout when covid hit and I got ejected from my design job New York due to a mass layoff; I was secretly elated when this happened; I felt freed. I went to live with my aunt in Upstate New York and then moved back home to Europe 6 months afterwards. I weather covid at home with my parents. There I began a process of reevaluating myself which is ongoing.
I got a calling six months afterwards to go move to Spain to help my other aunt (who has a school here) on an artistic agricultural project. The calling was not quite as potent as that first Austin calling, but it was definitely a calling all the same, and thanks to my previous experience of refusing a call I took it no questions asked.
Since I’ve moved my vitality has increased hugely. I’m learning flamenco dance and guitar and I’m feeling vital. I’m also working on a project directly involved with climate change which is something I’ve always felt as an important crisis that needs to be solved.
But something bugs me still about my college graduation refusal of the call. It was very potent and completely unconscious as it made no sense rationally for me to move there.
Now, when I think about Austin I think guns, no healthcare, car culture; qell my conscious thinks those things. I am more drawn to flamenco dancing and the south of spain than Austin. In fact, there is a similarity between the two, both dry hot places with very cheerful upbeat cultures; “yee haw” feels like the spanish version of “ole”! The capital of the lone star state still feels like a cool place to be and those memories of my time there still spark inspiration, but I don’t feel that same burning sensation I felt two years ago; now it feels like an unruly complicated mess of a place to get involved in and I am actually rather repelled by it. What I do feel most of all is disappointment in my past self for not having had the courage to follow the unconscious, and a desire to never refuse the call again and to answer future ones. I just wasn’t aware of my psyche like I am now.
So the questions I have are about this first refusal of the call. Do we get multiple chances at answering the call? And is the call always the same in terms of location and task? Or can you refuse a first call and then get a second calling but the adventure is different in location and whatnot? And is this feeling of having missed out on something in the past just a feeling I’m gonna have to live with? Can it be overcome through following new calls? For example by following my new calling in Spain and not picking up and moving to Austin to live a past outdated dream (something I sincerely feel like I don’t want to do)? I am quite young so I am eager for adventure (which is what I’m currently doing) and I just want to do this life as heroically as possible, and I don’t want to lie to myself. Also, part of me thinks that this is all just life interpretation and that as long as one is happy and realized they are what they seek then thats it.
I am curious to hear people’s thoughts 😉
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