• New Year, New You: Gill Coombs and “This Just Isn’t Me”

    by  • 20 January 2015 • Alternative Business and Economics • 0 Comments

    All through January, here on the Floris Blog we will be celebrating the new. New ways of thinking, new ways of interacting with the world around us, and new ways of living and working meaningfully. New year, new you!

    Today, Gill Coombs, author of Hearing Our Calling, looks at what happens when your work does not reflect who you are.

    CoombsHearingOurCallingA friend was recently telling me about the moment at work when she realised: ‘this just isn’t me.’

    Many of us will recognise that moment. But what will we do with it?

    You may feel disturbed for the rest of the day. You look at your workplace, the charades people are enacting, your own work, with new eyes that clearly see the ridiculousness of effort that contributes nothing to the world, does nothing for your pride, your passion – work that develops only limited aspects of you, including streetwise cynicism and an ability to keep yourself safe in what feels like a threatening world, rather than your creativity and wisdom, your capacity for love and community.

    Maybe the dreadful incongruity of ‘this just isn’t me’ is too much to bear. So you shove it back into the depths from which it emerged, lock it away where it can’t trouble you with its cries of outrage.

    Or maybe you allow it in. The soul speaks: ‘this just isn’t me’ and the rational part, once it has caught up with the profound and complete wisdom of the soul, agrees: no, it isn’t. So what are you going to do?

    You go home rolling that fragile, portentous question around: so what is me? You try to understand what ‘me’ really needs, what it has to give; its place in the world. And maybe you just don’t know, because ‘me’ has been buried under so many years of otherness that you’ve lost sight of it, forgotten what it sounds and smells like, what its colours are. Your loss is apparent, your disappointment compounded. You sense an encased emptiness where ‘me’ should be. The grief can be so great that for comfort you return to work the next day with a sense of bleak but certain submission: this is what I know how to do, this is where I am respected, this is how I can earn money to pay my bills and have nice things and yes, show others that I am worth something. The ‘me’ may sometimes grumble, but you develop ways to shut it up before it starts screaming, so that you can carry on undistracted by it.

    Or maybe, when one day a clear, calm voice announces ‘this just isn’t me’ and demands to be heard, you truly hear. Sooner or later, or even immediately (as with my friend), you state your bold intention of severing; daring yourself into the space. You pack up the things you want from your workstation – maybe finding you actually want very few of the items that accompanied the daily life of a being that was some avatar of you, but not ‘me’.

    And you walk out of the building. Maybe you are afraid, or triumphant, or both.

    Ahead of you lies a time of discovery. You don’t know how long it will last, or what will be the ‘me’ that emerges from it. Perhaps you move to a different part of the country, or a different part of the world. You begin to find people with strange but attractive interests and values; ones that always intrigued you, but seemed the domain of faintly envied ‘others’. You study new subjects, immerse yourself in new activities. Sometimes this phase can seem long. Sometimes it is long. It is like a plant emerging from a seed; it takes how long it takes, and it needs the right conditions. But when it comes, it comes.

    In this waiting time you may feel lost, uncomfortable, afraid. You may be tempted; seduced back to the world of the familiar. But this is your walkabout: a ritual that millions of humans have experienced before you, in order that they might pass fully (at last) into adulthood. You continue to experiment, and discuss, and rest and reflect, and experiment, and eventually ‘me’ emerges, fully or partially formed, ready and eager to take the place it deserves, in the world that has been waiting for it.

    Join us on the Floris blog and over on Twitter @FlorisBooks #NewYearNewYou where during January we’ll be sharing insightful articles and blogs from our growing collection of books on alternative business.

    More about Gill Coombs and Hearing our Calling

    CoombsGillGill Coombs works as a Learning and Development Practitioner with ethical organisations, and those seeking to become more ethical. She has a private coaching practice, supporting people in finding work that is good for them and good for the world. She is currently standing as Green Party candidate for the Totnes Constituency. (www.gillcoombs.co.uk)

    Hearing Our Calling is available now in paperback and eBook from florisbooks.co.uk.


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