working identity: teacher

Meaning… I’m working on it… and it does pertain to my job… and my sense of self.

I heard a comment in my undergrad days that made a deep impression on me. I was working in an intentional community, taking a break from academentia (where I was studying art education). A friend shared that a huge life value for them was to find work, a sustainable energy exchange/livelihood (fun word!), wherein they didn’t have to split off separate self identities. They did not want to struggle with being a teacher/boss/peon/self-sacrificing/non-creative/just-getting-by/clock-watcher at work, and a more peaceful/creative/loving person at home.

Presently, a friend is figuring out, with great relief, that their job is simply something that sustains them, but is not the foreground of attention or value in their life. This person is identifying with another aspect of self that blossoms beyond the definitions of their working self. This self-identifying/self-discovering journey is very fulfilling and enriching. They are not experiencing disparateness between work and home life as life-negating or self-sacrificing. Instead, the awareness of the situation, the reality of it, is allowing this person to feel more whole.

I am finding more and more that I highly value my working identity, my “job”, what I do each day in the community to apply my gifts and passions. This ‘work’ fulfills my sense-of-self and enlivens my passions for breathing, art-making, walking, talking… everything really.

(Not long before I dropped out of grad school in somatic psychology, we were exploring our working identity in a class, towards an end-of-term portfolio of our professional experiences and aspirations. Instead of healer or counselor or social worker or therapist or psychologist – the working identity that claimed itself in me was “teacher”. Five years later, I am still trying it on for size…)

All these unique wei-wu-ways in beating hearts of being. Whole.


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