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Surviving and keeping the spiritual candle alight

(23 Posts)
chickenwing Thu 09-Jan-14 08:22:35

This is not a religious post, I was struggling to find a topic to post in but for me I think it involves my spirituality.

Firstly I would like to say I'm looking for like minded people to share they're thoughts and experiences with regards to this.

I'm 28, and my dp is 27, we have an 8 year old ds.

We are both identical nature in the fact that if something doesn't set us alive inside spiritually then we struggle to do it. Work is a huge problem because of this. In "normal" life and the type of advice that comes from parents is that you have to work to earn to support the family. Even if it's not work you like, it's what you HAVE to do.

We are at our happiest when we feel free and are able to follow what feels like a free flowing spiritual path, this includes a lot of being out doors at one with nature. I attend regular support groups and try to input as much as I can.

We are by no means selfish and don't want to live off the state type of thing but don't know how to survive financially when living like this?! I would happily attend my support groups helping people every day; I also do crafts and donate things I've made here and there to charity ect .

We keep finding ourselves in the same cycle, not having enough money to get by so one of us takes a job. We start earning but this will only last a month or two as it feels soul destroying, so much so that we can barely bring ourselves to go to work. At this point I feel that no job or money is worth what it does to your soul and it gets given up.

We have moved to Europe and are in the same position, only difference is living costs are now higher. My dp is working but is struggling already.

In a way I feel like we are the only ones that feel like this hmm why is it so hard?

I just wondered if there was others out there similar that had anything they could share?

Thank you for reading, it was very long!

Helpyourself Thu 09-Jan-14 08:26:05

I think you need a job that fulfils your spiritual needs.
Woodsman, forest guide? Set up an open air school or sell ice creams on the beach. Is that along the lines you were thinking?

Helpyourself Thu 09-Jan-14 08:30:59

Or do a meaningful job that also allows you to nurture your spiritual needs. I work in an office and travel to see people who are lonely and happy to see me. Work also gives me time and space to pray and I get regular feedback which acknowledges the work I'm doing and supports me.
You could completely turn it around and retrain. Podiatrists have a very high job satisfaction rate because they alleviate pain...

chickenwing Thu 09-Jan-14 08:37:35

I love animals, working with animals wouldn't even feel like work to me I just don't know what to do with it! I don't know if I'm entitled to any education here, I'm in the Netherlands, I also don't speak very much Dutch but they're are certainly a lot of animals!

Your job sounds lovely smile I worked in a nursing home previously bit they are so poorly ran it takes away the good part of the job!

MrsSteptoe Thu 09-Jan-14 08:46:44

I fear what you may find, OP, is that any form of work - even one that is in a line that you enjoy and fulfils you spiritually - involves an employer who is going to want reliability and discipline from his or her employee. It's impossible to run a business of any kind, even a charitable one, with a flaky workforce that wants to work when it makes them feel happy but wants to abdicate when the routine and responsibility gets a little too real. I really want to be kind when I say this, but if you want to find a way of making money and keeping to your ideals, you may need to think slightly more along the lines of what you can offer as an adult, responsible, reliable employee, and how that would help your employer and the world around you, rather than focusing quite so much on your unhappiness at conforming.

That's not necessarily mutually exclusive with a job you enjoy, and I honestly hope you manage to find a good balance.

(I think you might get a couple of harsh responses, OP, so I hope you'll take anything useful and try to shrug off anything that genuinely isn't helpful...)

Living in a country where you don't speak the language is perhaps not the best way to find the most opportunity, given that (if you'll forgive me for saying so) from an employer's point of view you don't seem to have much to offer apart from, no doubt, pleasant company, which is sweet but difficult to justify in an economic setting. Perhaps starting with learning Dutch would be a good idea?

chickenwing Thu 09-Jan-14 09:41:36

I'm ok with honesty and harsh words, to be honest it's what I was expecting. No one likes the work shy wink

I think deep down I agree with you and I have tried adopting that attitude in the past, I just struggle to keep it up ( also a little mental health related for me).

I guess this was just a last ditch attempt to see if there was anyone at all like me that makes it work so I could justify living like this.

I've got a romantic view of living in a small farming cottage, selling eggs from our hens, vegetables from our garden, crafts I've made and my partner fixing everyone's bikes ( his passion is cycling) unfortunately I just don't think it would pay the bills!

chickenwing Thu 09-Jan-14 09:53:20

Forgot to add, I am also trying to find Dutch lessons that are affordable.

chickenwing Thu 09-Jan-14 10:04:09

Forgot to add, I am also trying to find Dutch lessons that are affordable.

capsium Thu 09-Jan-14 10:25:22

I think you have to focus on the rewarding aspects in any job.

Yes the routines and regulations can get you down but the people you come across or some other aspect of the work you do, can make it worthwhile. Doing something good is always good, even if there are aspects that are frustrating. You just have to forgive people for the frustrating stuff, nobody is perfect.

IndigoBarbie Thu 09-Jan-14 21:22:35

I resonate with your post, and as such, I find the vibe of what you have said also rings true with me.

I do work full time, and over and above that I have tried to use the best of my spiritual gifts to help others. I don't make a lot from it - but I am good at what I do, and if I am totally honest, it gives me much more satisfaction than my full time job. However, unless I work at it as the business it is - it's not going to pay my bills either.

It's the difference between using your own gifts whatever they may be, and putting yourself out there to attempt to create some income. I feel that what another poster has said re finding employment based more in alignment with what your soul desires smile You may then be able to put in only those hours that you choose to, rather than console yourself to a life of 9-5 grind.

You could always trade what you can for receiving from others and that way you don't need to exchange money. ?

I wish you luck and every success on your path xx IB

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 10-Jan-14 00:29:15

One of the most important and difficult aspects of a free flowing spiritual path is meeting life's challenges. It is through this that we really grow and learn.

Not to be harsh OP, but it sounds as though you and your DP are actively trying to avoid your spiritual path. It is time to face the challenges of adulthood.

You want to work with animals. A word of warning though. Working with animals is often hard physical and repetitive work. The same stables have to be mucked out each day, the same kennels hosed down, the same yard swept. You must be reliable and turn up for work even when you don't fancy it or its raining or you are tired. If you don't turn up then the animal suffers and you will, quite rightly be out of a job. I worked as a groom in my younger days and it could be wonderful in terms of being around the countryside and seeing the changes in the year but most of the time it was physically hard work. Are you ready for that?

MostlyLovingLurchers Fri 10-Jan-14 10:50:50

I don't think you are wrong to want to find a way of living that both supports you practically and fulfils you spiritually (or at least doesn't crush you).

I get absolutely no fulfilment in a job where the only goal is to make money (for yourself or anyone else) but sometimes needs must. I've done my share of mundane and thankless work just to pay the bills or to enable me to do something else (studying, getting a business off the ground). As has been said, you can find some positives in most situations, but i can only ever sustain it for a limited time though.

I did have a career in a field i was passionate about and that afforded me a decent living (working in environmental conservation). Even this though didn't end well - like many other jobs the stress of deadlines, funding, impossible workload, endless arguments to achieve anything meaningful took its toll and i had a breakdown.

Since then i've been down a few blind alleys, trying to find that elusive something. I've requalified in a couple of creative fields but have struggled to make a living from them. What i really want to do is teach yoga but again, it is unlikely to pay the bills on its own so i still need to find something to do alongside.

Is there a particular reason you moved abroad? Your options are going to be incredibly limited without the language skills. I think if i was you i would be completely honest about what motivates you - sounds like some kind of caring role (human or animal) for you? Vetinary nurse? Counsellor? Then look at how to achieve this in terms of training, time and financial commitment. Can one of you work albeit in a less than perfect job while one retrains, and then swap so the other is supported while training? If you struggle working for other people (i do!) then maybe self employment would give you more of a sense of freedom but it does come with its own set of issues.

May be a bit extreme, but have you thought about travelling or living communally? Not everyone's cup of tea, but many do it - you still need to support yourself in some way but your living costs are so much lower so spheres of work that are not feasible with a conventional home to support may become possible. Just a thought.

HoneyandRum Fri 10-Jan-14 13:14:39

I haven't been to the Netherlands (I am in Germany) but I know a number of people here from Holland and they all (adults and children) seem to have received a great level of education, including the ability to speak a few languages and usually very good English. I get the impression that not only is the education in the Netherlands of a high standard but it is also affordable. I know that many degree course are offered in English, maybe qualifications that don't involve a degree would also be accessible to you? I think understandably most employers would expect you to have a decent level of Dutch as well.

Whatever we want to do in life and however we would like to live does always involve planning and actively putting that plan into action. Whatever your spiritual priorities are I would make every effort to connect them to concrete steps that you can take to make the way of life you desire a reality. Unfortunately I don't think that selling eggs and mending bikes is likely to support a family of three in the Western world unless you are selling a lot of eggs or your DP has a bike shop with which he can drum up enough customers to support a full-time business.

I lived for about three years in a communal setting. I enjoyed it and learnt a lot but it is not usually a place to hide from the world. If anything the nature of close relationships and group dynamics mean that you will be more likely to be confronted with any personal foibles that make it difficult for others around you. I don't know of any meaningful spirituality that is based on avoiding hard truths about existence.

MostlyLovingLurchers Fri 10-Jan-14 13:31:01

Living communally doesn't have to be about avoiding 'the hard truths of existence'. Quite the opposite. Living in close proximity with others really makes you face your issues and work on relationships, not always easy to do, even if you want to, when you are immersed in the material world. Depends a lot on the type of community obviously.

Anyway, it didn't sound like the op wanted to hide away from the world so much as find a path through it.

HoneyandRum Fri 10-Jan-14 13:54:44

Yes, I didn't word that well. That was exactly my point, living with others will usually involve learning about ourselves, sometimes in ways that are not comfortable. "Hiding" was definitely badly phrased.

My last line was really a separate point entirely, that a spirituality that works should work in most circumstances. It does seem however that the OP doesn't really want to commit to something when it becomes uncomfortable or trying. I think I was trying to express the idea that if we avoid commitment when it becomes hard then it can be difficult to learn any spiritual truth or much about ourselves.

Could I ask OP what do you mean by spiritual path? Can you flesh it out a bit more? What is free-flowing and what is not free-flowing?

chickenwing Fri 10-Jan-14 17:53:10

My reasons for moving to the Netherlands initially came about from my partner. He was offered a paying position in a team for the sport he plays back home. It's not enough to live on but it helps with the bills. The opportunity presented itself so we decided to go for it, if it doesn't work out then we go back home. We want it to work though.

I go AA so I'm trying to live through the AA principles and keep spiritually well. Find out who I am, not people please and basically just live calmly, happily, contented and sober!

I understand why a few of you have picked up on an immature vibe from me. I drank from the age of 13 to 27, so I stopped maturing Shen I started using alcohol to cope. Now that I no longer drink to cope, I am starting to mature to the person I was meant to be. It's just not very easy being in the real world with a family and bills to pay and no 'adult' skills to deal with this stuff. But, I'm grateful for the opportunity to grow.

Your replys have been very helpful. Especially the one about working with animals!

My partner did have a bike business back home and in high season was earning more than enough to get by, but in winter it kinda dies off. It's the same here which is why he's in a 9-5 just now. He was struggling and I was worried he'd just give it up but I suggested he speak to his boss which he did and his hours have been reduced a bit so that's worked out quite well.

I've heard the same about the education system here and I would love to get into it.

For now I think I just need to keep doing the right things for the right reasons and try take a more 'adult' approach to life.

HoneyandRum Fri 10-Jan-14 19:36:42

Chickenwing it sounds like you are doing great with soberity. There can be many reasons to feel like you're not really an adult. I lost both my parents as a teen and was living independently at 16. In many ways I had to mature early, on the other hand I have felt like I am winging it as an adult and especially as a parent (!). Just know there are plenty of people out there who are still figuring it out.

Helpyourself Fri 10-Jan-14 20:04:55

Aha! That's funny because I'm AA too (I answered up thread).
There's a lot in the Big Book and 12 by 12 about reconciling living in the world and your spiritual needs.

chickenwing Fri 10-Jan-14 21:30:07

Wow can't believe you're an aa! Somehow without trying, I've managed to seek out a fellow online. Amazing!

Helpyourself Fri 10-Jan-14 21:32:20

Do you have both books?

Maisie0 Fri 02-May-14 22:53:29

There is currently a sustainable movement starting within the UK. So there is a need for people to help with farming, and turning the land and harvesting the vegetables and so forth.

Or you can also work with animals.

Dutchoma Sat 03-May-14 12:52:31

If your partner is good with bicycles he should certainly be able to find a job in the Netherlands. People cycle day and night, summer and winter, come rain or shine. And bicycles break down at all times of course.

It is hard to find a job. Four of my younger relatives are looking for new jobs and although one of my nieces works with animals she has to do a mundane job to have a hope to pay the bills.
I don't know anything about Dutch lessons in Holland, I do know that Dutch is a hard language to learn, not least because you struggle to say something in Dutch and people answer you in English.
I think Holland is too small a country to accommodate your ideals, lovely as they sound. I wish you luck.

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