I am a fixer and have always liked to be in control.
But I paid a price, becoming completely burned out and really unhappy. I didn't know what I wanted to do next or how to move forward.
I believed that there were spiritual aspects to life that I was missing.
My rabbi told me about her experience with the Institute. Seeing her growth prompted me to take her advice and join an Institute program - and, over time, I developed a new perspective.
What have I noticed? I'm more open and accepting of my life and what goes on around me.
For one thing, I don't get wrapped up and upset if a politician says something that annoys me. No small accomplishment.
I'm more available for the people I love.
Recently, I got a call from a friend who had just found out she had cancer and wanted me to go with her to the doctor. I did. The news wasn't great but I reminded her that she didn't know anything yet, and wouldn't until she had surgery and a biopsy.
I didn't try to fix it or tell her what to do. I just listened to the physician, stayed calm for her, and helped her avoid spinning out into despair.
Being calm for my friend didn't stop me from going home and having a good cry. My dad had just been through this so I had to allow for my own fear and still be able to show up for my friend, being present for her with zero anxiety. I know that the Institute practices helped me do this.
An arc of transformation
I see an arc of transformation in myself. I attribute it to meditation, mussar, and the discipline of weekly conversations with a study partner, that force me to come outside of myself and be there for another person.
These practices have an impact on my life every day, even if I don't always notice. It's as if there is something running in the background.
Though I made the decision to leave my job prior to starting with the Institute, my work with the Institute has eased the transition.
Rather than fearing change, I see my life unfolding before me with a sense of wonder.
I don't know what I will be doing a year from now but I have the beginnings of a spiritual practice and a spiritual language to assist me with whatever comes my way.