Thursday, January 22, 2009

Career Inklings from Columbia

The Sound of Your Own Thoughts

Janet M. Ruck

There is a din that is deafening and it proclaims desperation and despair. The news is dire and depression is on the rise. If you heed the warnings, you may find it difficult to lift your head off the pillow, let alone get out of bed. But, reality takes on a varied cast, depending on the receiver. What is your reality? Can you discern it with all the uproar and distractions?

Sometimes I find it helpful to sit with my pen and pad and begin the process of writing. I don’t usually begin with a thought about what I’m going to write. The mere act of writing energizes me enough to keep me going until I have uncovered that “kernel” of truth and self. It can calm and soothe away the sharp edges of a day filled with bad news and predictions of more bad news.

Many of my clients have found themselves unemployed for the first time. They are understandably angry and anxious. Yet, they need to gather themselves and their thoughts so that they can begin or continue their job search. An exercise that I have found to be very helpful as a career counselor is the one which I use for myself. I encourage my clients to start with a blank page (or computer screen). Tabula rasa can be exactly what they need right now. Their minds are still filled with the past, and they will be better prepared for the future by listening to their own thoughts. The deep thoughts. The ones that will clear the way to truth and self.

Ask yourself this one question: “If I could be the best self possible, what would it be?” Set a timer, and write for an uninterrupted five minutes. You’ll be amazed at what your thoughts tell you. They’re still there, waiting to be called from the racket. Give them a chance to be heard.

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