Stepping Stones

by Carol Hansen

"Working Your Joy"

©1995

In December 1992, I was given a major stepping stone. In retrospect, it was more like a rock or boulder. On the evening of December 6 I attended a lecture at Unity Center in Walnut Creek, CA given by Matthew Fox entitled "The Spirituality of Work". In that talk Matt said that if everyone worked their joy there would be no unemployment on this earth. So when you are looking for your "work", the work that you came to this planet to do, meditate on what brings you joy, crystallize it in your heart, build your work around it, and the universe will support you 100 percent.

Those words resonated within my heart. I knew I was not working my joy. For over 5 years I had been working long hours in an extremely stressful environment and had begun to destroy my mental, physical and emotional health. But I continued to work there because it offered me "security" in the form of a relatively good paycheck twice a month. And, of course, that is what working is all about--security and a paycheck, right?

I could not get Matthew's words out of my mind and at the same time I felt I could not just quit my job. So, I thought that maybe I could compromise with the universe. I decided to ask my boss if I could work a 4-day work week. I would work 40 hours in those 4 days so that I would still be giving the office a "full" work week and at the same time give myself an "extra" day to "work my joy" (which I had not yet crystallized in my heart). On December 8th I approached my boss with my request and told him that this was so important to me that I would forego the raise I had coming if he would grant me this request. He said he would think about it.

On Christmas Eve I was called into my boss's office for my annual review, my bonus check and my raise. He handed me my bonus and dismissed me. My mind clicked in and thought, "Well, he didn't mention a raise, so that must mean he is considering my 4-day work week." So, as I started for the door of his office, I turned and asked him if he had made a decision about my request. He gave me a blank look and then waived his hand and said, "Oh, I haven't given it a thought."

I turned away from the door and came back to his desk. I said to him, "I have thought of little else since I made my request. And, if you had said, 'Carol, there is no way I can give you a 4-day work week right now, we are so busy,' I would have understood, because we are busier than we have ever been. However, if you had said, 'OK, let's give it a try,' that wouldn't have worked. Knowing you the way I know you, you would have had an emergency on my day off and you would have called me to come in and if I wasn't available you would have made me feel guilty, and pretty soon I would have been back to working the hours I'm currently working. So, that wouldn't have worked. However, based on you 'not giving it a thought' (and I waived my hand the way he had) you have my resignation."

Well, let me tell you, I had not gone in there on Christmas Eve to resign my job. I had no money in the bank and was $30,000 in debt. And when those words came out of my mouth I literally jumped out of my body as I thought "Who's talking for me!" My boss looked at me in disbelief and said "WHAT!"

I found myself saying, "You are eating me alive and I will no longer sell my soul to this company."

He said, "What are you going to do?!"

"I have no idea," I said. "I don't have another job. All I know is that it's going to be something spiritual." Well, when those words came out of my mouth, I KNEW someone was talking for me because I had never even thought those words.

My boss was equally shocked as he said, "SPIRITUAL!?!?". Get the picture. This was an engineering firm, hardly a spiritual environment. He said, "When are you planning to do this?"

"Not having intended to resign at all, I had not quite thought that through, so I said the first thing that came to mind, "On my birthday. You have six weeks." I walked out of his office and went home, my mind racing with all the ramifications of what I had done. On one level, I felt a degree of panic and yet on another level I was extremely calm and centered.

I used to read Tarot as a hobby in those days and had been in the practice of pulling a card every morning from the Medicine Woman deck. For some reason that morning I had neglected to pull a card. So, guess what I did when I got home. I spread out the deck, carefully pulled a card and looked it up in the book. The card said, "You have long sought your freedom and today you have achieved it." I breathed a sigh of relief as I thought, "Well, that's a good sign."

The day after Christmas I met a man who invited me to attend a 24 hour meditation on New Year's Eve. I accepted that invitation and in between Christmas and New Year's I began to meditate on what brings me joy, because I hadn't crystallized that in my heart and I knew I didn't have much time. What came to me is that healing work brings you joy. But I knew I could never be a healer until I healed myself. I had always hated my body. Ever since I was a little girl I had wished I had a different body and I knew I had to resolve that before I could ever be a healer. So at that 24 hour meditation, I prayed for a tool that would bring body, mind and spirit into alignment, a tool that would enable me to love me just the way I was. What came out of that meditation is the process I've come to call "Lighten Up". That easy 5 minute a day process transformed my life in so many ways.

My last day on that job was February 12. On January 23 I met a woman who asked me to co-partner a new healing center, the Reunion Center of Light. I agreed and we opened the center on March 1, 1993. It started out with 3 rooms and 4 practitioners and grew to 9 rooms and 30 practitioners within 8 months. I began to do my healing work (Reiki) out of the Center. I also expanded my Macintosh consulting business.

As I continued to do the Lighten Up process on myself, people began to ask me to teach them the process. I began teaching the class in September of 1993. I now travel all over the country and have shared the process with over 3000 people. The Universe is supporting me 100 percent and I thank Matthew Fox for reaching into my heart in such a way that I was able to have the courage to take the risk I needed in order to experience the freedom and empowerment of being in alignment with my Divine purpose. The stepping stone I received from Matthew was a little slippery but big and sturdy enough to support me fully. Thank you, Matthew!