Monday, January 19, 2009

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs

Ever since I have arrived back in Juba, everything has meaning. Everything has a sign. Sorry for getting all New-Age-Trippy on you, but some things you just can't ignore. For instance, following seeing an owl while out for walk back in New York over the holidays, driving home from dinner last night with Simba coming face to face with an owl sitting in the middle of a road, only flying away when our vehicle got about 20 feet away. After we got home I tried to figure out what kind of Owl it was. Based on its coloring (grey and white with some black) and size (about a foot high), and compared to the other owls that live in the area of Sudan I am in, there's nothing else it can be except the Northern White-faced Owl.
I also tried to look up some of the different things that the owl represents because in many cultures when animals appear to you in a memorable or unusual way the universe is trying to tell you something. Anyway, it gives me an excuse to reflect :) After some searching on the dear interwebs, Simba thought a passage about awareness of the past and past lives (reincarnation theme) was particularly poignant for him:
For the one beside whom Owl Journeys, there will be an innate understanding of the recurring cycle of Life, Death and Rebirth. Often times the Owl individual will have very intense past-life connections and memories. These will either be subtle nuances that draw them to places and individuals to whom they feel an immediate bond, or the memories of lives previously experienced will be brimming so close to the surface that they will often surface as very vivid dreams and conscious recollections. Equally, it is also quite likely that this same gift for seeing/feeling other lifetimes led will be transmitted to being able to offer insight into the past lives of Others, affording assistance in the understanding of Lessons learned, those still needing learning, and any "karmic" balances left unchecked. This is a fine line however, as the challenge here for the Owl Soul is to not become so engrossed by memories and fascination with lifetimes past that they lose sight of their ~Now,~ for although the past serves as a reminder of where we have previously walked, the soul lessons we have learned and the connections we have made, the focus of the Soul must always be in going forward and embracing with the enthusiasm and trust of an innocent child, the here and ~Now.~
But for me it was a section about expending energy in multiple directions (shape shifting theme) that struck a chord:

With the Owl in particular, shape-shifting ability is closely linked with Lunar Magic since this beautiful creature is sister to the Moon. In observing the phases of the Moon, we witness ever shifting and changing cycles that effect all within the domain of Luna, including the inhale and exhale of the Ocean`s waves. Much like their Animal Totem, those with Owl as an animal ally will shift and transform themselves like the waxing and waning phases of the moon and the ebb and flow of the ocean`s tides. It isn’t so much that their emotions are like shifting, restless sands as that they are always partially attuned to the calls of many different planes and energies. Obviously, if this tendency to be completely open and receptive is not monitored, some measure of protection taken to guard against becoming drained or distracted, such heightened sensitivity can lead to mental, emotional or physical exhaustion. Yet when the delicate balance between grounding and receptivity is found and practiced, the Owl Soul takes flight into a higher form of awareness, intuition and Light.

The decision alone to live and work in Juba meant that I was giving up the ability to have balance in my life as a whole - I knew coming here that work would be the biggest priority and everything else would have to wait. But even with that in mind, I know it is possible to still maintain some sense of calm instead of completely letting the whirlwind of the world blow me around. But this is far from easy, and I certainly don't have the support I need to do that. I was so hurt when my boss told me she believes I sometimes put my personal life over my work when after working 7 days a week for 4 week straight in November and December, I decided to take a much needed break from writing a proposal on a Sunday to spend 3 hours at the pool. Ouch. If taking 3 hours off on a Sunday after working 27 days straight means I'm "putting my personal life over my work life" then so be it. Giving in to Simba being worried that I was too stressed and depressed and not taking care of myself should not lead to that response.

It is obviously not enough that I have been here working my ass off for the past year and four months. Will it ever be enough? I need to be able to set boundaries for myself, stick to them, and be satisfied with the consequences when other people don't agree with them.
And I need to decide how to define "enough" for me. Enough with a capital E comes in August when my contract is up. I will not extend, but move on, as I should.

But in the meantime, defining "enough" is easier said than done.

Any suggestions?

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