I found my creativity a bit sparse when it came to this season of the mind – maybe something to do with my personality, as an ENFJ and a Type 8w7 on the Enneagram, I am not so much of a ‘cerebral’ type and have to admit that working on the body (spring) or emotions (summer) came easier to me.
The key focus for Autumn from The Natural Year was to find your path in life and tackle the outside world. My goals for each month were based on the following topics from the book were:
March – Soothing your mind and managing stress
For the month of March I chose to continue with a yoga practice and exercise as a way to sooth my very busy mind and manage stress. March was a tough month and I did not really find as much time or energy to keep up with my yoga practice as I would have liked. I did however, spend some time writing morning pages, and I still find writing one of the best ways to alleviate my busy mind. During March, Phil was offered redundancy, which he accepted and I think this kind of took over all of my thinking space as we were going over many ideas about what our future could be.
March was also the season of vulnerability for Get Messy and I did manage to put together a couple of pages for this.
April – Becoming organised and fine tuning my environment
I did not manage to complete any pages in my seasonal journal. Phil left his job of 25 years on Friday 8 April and the whole month we were on the backfoot as we had both caregivers away and Mitchell trialing a new drug which gave him constipation – which ended up as a lot of sleepless nights and a trip to hospital. There may be people out there who can stick to their goals all the time, but sometimes life just gets in the way. I had hoped to get my scrappy space in order, get my diary functioning and get the house in order, but the results were minimal as we were just in survival mode. April was the season of OK for get messy and I have already shared some of the work I did for that season previously.
May – Assessing my career
I was looking forward to this month as I have been coming and going on ideas of what the next 10 years of my working life should look like. When the kids started high school (5 1/2 years ago) I envisaged I would have the opportunity to rejoin the workforce full time in a more career focused position. That is why I had studied long and hard to get my degree after all. However, as you will have read on this blog, life didn’t magically get easier once the kids started high school, and although we became able to give Holly more independence from age 14, Mitchell’s challenging behaviour had started to escalate. Instead of doing a more professional job, I found myself having to give up my part time work teaching tourism, and go back to being a full time Mum and caregiver in order to keep Mitchell at home living with us. This was not a healthy situation for me, as although I know that caring for my family is one of the most important jobs in the world, my mental health suffered and I felt isolated.
In order to get back to work, two years ago I took a completely different part time role in retail, selling women’s fashion. The choice I made was to take hours that did not affect the hours Phil worked, still gave me flexibility to be on call for Mitchell, attend school and medical appointments and generally be the kids taxi service. Because I needed a job without stress and where I didn’t bring work home this fitted the description. I enjoy my job, as I enjoy the customers and my colleagues, but it is not meaningful work for me.
At the beginning of this year as Holly started University, I once again started to dream about a more meaningful career. But, there is still the challenge of being required 24/7 at home to both fill in when we don’t have caregivers and to administer what is the business of caring for Mitchell. The pandemic has of course, altered the course of our lives somewhat and made finding and keeping a stable workforce close to hopeless. We went from a team of 7, to a team of 2 permanents and one casual, over the past 2 years. Even now with Phil at home, there are still many hours where we need both of us to manage the load. We still feel like we are drowning. I still can’t see a way for either Phil or I to work in a full time job because we do not have enough of the right support to manage his care one on one.
With all this in mind I decided to revisit doing an Enneagram test and to review my results from the Myers-Briggs test as a way to kickstart my thoughts. I documented my enneagram results in my seasonal journal here:
Plus I did a mindmap of my qualities as an ENFJ here:
The careers most suited to an ENFJ are around social work, teaching, coaching, health care and law. I agree that these are occupations I am drawn to and some of the reasons why are summed up here:
A Protagonist (ENFJ) is a person with the Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging personality traits. These warm, forthright types love helping others, and they tend to have strong ideas and values. They back their perspective with the creative energy to achieve their goals.
Protagonists (ENFJs) feel called to serve a greater purpose in life. Thoughtful and idealistic, these personality types strive to have a positive impact on other people and the world around them. They rarely shy away from an opportunity to do the right thing, even when doing so is far from easy.https://www.16personalities.com/enfj-personality
A strength of an ENFJ is –
Speaking Up for What’s Right
Protagonists tend to be vocal about their values, including authenticity and altruism. When something strikes them as unjust or wrong, they speak up. But they rarely come across as brash or pushy, as their sensitivity and insight guide them to speak in ways that resonate with others.
These personality types have an uncanny ability to pick up on people’s underlying motivations and beliefs. At times, they may not even understand how they come to grasp another person’s mind and heart so quickly. These flashes of insight can make Protagonists incredibly persuasive and inspiring communicators.
Suddenly it became pretty clear to me what I should be doing. I have always fought the system to try to make it more accessible for us to have the support we need, and in doing so hoped that I might pave the way for others in similar positions. Over the last couple of months I had become more active in the Whanau for voices group and I had enjoyed this experience. Somehow, I could combine my passion and my skills to do some work in this area, either advocating, coaching, training or supporting parents. Now I just have to figure out how.
At some stage I will update how this goes. But now, it is already August and I am now in the 3rd month of the season of the soul.
It is hard to keep up with the projects I have set myself this year.