The Dharma Wheel
In the heart of longing
In this life of being
What is really important?
In the darkest of hours
I prayed to God
God, grant me your mercy
Please, show me if this is the path
And here comes
The Dharma Wheel
Spinning in my dream
As if holding by a spirit
The wheel keeps turning
Tears flow down my cheek
As I receive this gift
Stepping into uncertainties
It still feels scary
Yet I realize
This is but another turn around the wheel
There is nothing to worry about
Spinning through the dark forest
Takes me on a wild ride
To the past
Through the future
Allow me to embrace each moment
of pain and ignorance
Wheeling to the unknown
To the mystery
A life fulfilled with love and rain.
- Poem written By Christy Choy, MA. MFT in 2017
In the winter of 2017, I made a decision to leave my stable, well-paid job at UCSF. It was a risky decision, and a difficult one. For even though the work with the severely mentally ill, psychotic population was very challenging and draining, it was my life’s work for over seven years. It was, and still is, my passion. Ever since I graduated from college with my psychology degree, I’ve always worked in the field of community mental health, serving the severely mentally ill, psychotic population. I loved the early years of crisis work at Progress Foundation. I felt strangely at home among clients who are suffering from mental illness, heartbreaks, terminal illness, who are often using substances to numb their pain. And I often felt a sense of comradery with my colleagues as we managed to pull through days after days of the gruelling 12 hour shift, supporting the healing and recovery of clients who endured deep suffering, and managing the crisis situations which always manage to spike up our adrenaline and connect us deeper in a human, soul level.
Yet, change is inherent in the process of growth. And though I left and came back to the field of community mental health, I knew that it was time for a change, again. It was scary. Being employed by an agency such as UCSF gives me a sense of safety, a feeling of security. It was as if my being was enveloped by this huge saturnian energy that is indestructible. All I needed to do was to swim in this field of muddy water in my day to day life, and survive. Even though the work was challenging and at times, dangerous; I was also safe, in terms of earthly, financial concerns. But I knew, I wasn’t thriving.
Over the years, as I grew in my work and studies, and practice in spirituality, my senses had become more and more refined. Or perhaps, I have finally woken up and come to terms with the nature of my sensitivity. The constant bombardment of chaotic energy, without my having any control of, was too much for my soul. Even though my work was relatively well paid, I spent all my resources and time off recovering from the intensity of the work. My body spoke to me in various symptoms, getting sick often, having allergic skin reaction/eczema, stomachache. These are all signs of stress and overwhelm which I could not ignore any more. At that time, I was also deep in the studies of Archetypal Psychology while working full time. And I finally realized, and decided, that I needed a change. What I’ve been doing, for years, was an unconscious pattern stemming from childhood, family conditioning. As a child, I have had to overextend myself to care for others’ need to the point of exhaustion, often putting myself last or even neglecting my own needs. I was constantly swinging from high to low, from full of joy and energy to feeling depleted. Its time to wake up, its time for a change.
So, I finally decided to leave the job. And I wrote the resignation letter. The night before I resign, before sleep, I prayed to God, ” God, please please let me know if this is the right decision, please let me know if this is the right thing to do.” I was terrified. Change is scary. And I felt I was walking on a suspended bridge, about to step forward mid-air, anticipating a free fall. That night, or, to be more precise, the next morning before dawn, I received a sign. I was in the dream state, just before waking up, when I suddenly saw a golden dharma wheel appeared from the left side right above my head. The magnificent, golden dharma wheel was turning, slowly but powerfully; as if it was held by some unseen being. I woke up in tears, my heart expanded and grateful. I realized that this job that I was so afraid to leave, was but a small part of my life’s work. And the dharma wheel will keep turning, as change is inherent in every moment of our life. It is safe to follow the soul’s calling, it is okay to take care of one self and leave a work environment that is too harsh for my sensitivity.
All is well, and life is sacred.