The calling…

When I began my Wistful Dragon blog, it was to consider the nature of calling and vocation. It was born out of the space between leaving the church, where the concept of calling is a given and shifting into unknown territory, where I could no longer attribute the idea of a calling to something dispensed by a God.

The concept of a calling has always been important to me. It’s a gift that my past life as a Christian gave me and it didn’t crumble when I found the creed collapsing in the face of too much scrutiny. That idea of a “one thing” provides a path through life that gives meaning and a sense of fulfilment.

It has taken me until now, in my 50s to be able to say with confidence and clarity what my “one thing” is, to which I feel sufficiently dedicated that I will happily spend time on it regardless of whether it generates an income or not.

Over the last couple of years I have done some serious soul searching and taken deliberate steps to reach this point. The first thing was acknowledging that I needed to change something in my life if I wanted to reach some future point where I felt differently about what I was doing. The future point looked impossible to reach. I didn’t have skills for a different job, and I didn’t have money to study. One thing I could do was apply to move upwards slightly in my path as a nurse. Prior to that point I had felt that the additional payment for a Clinical Nurse Specialist role wasn’t enough for the extra work expected of the position, but now I had a different reason to apply. I need to push the nearest boundary – change something that was within reach to change. That was in 2014.

No sooner than I had accomplished that change, something completely outside my usual realm of experience came up. I was asked by my local Greens group if I’d be willing to stand in the 2015 State Election so that we had a Greens candidate on the ballot paper for our area. This meant I had to be willing to put myself in the public eye and run as much of a campaign as I could manage. Scary indeed for an introvert – not in terms of being public, but in terms of the energy expenditure with all that interaction! It was a fantastic experience as I learnt what I was capable of in such circumstances and what I could push myself to do. I was safe from being elected in my area, but still able to contribute to the overall support of the Greens.

Following the election, I had to consider long and hard where I most wanted to put my energy. So many issues across the spectrum of environment, education, healthcare, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander concerns, social welfare, infrastructure and climate change jostled for attention, and I could not apply myself to them all while also caring for my family and working full time. I had to find what mattered to me most. I pared it down to environment and psychology and hence discovered ecopsychology. It was time for a new decision.

At the beginning of 2016 I didn’t think there was any way I’d be able to study ecopsychology. Nevertheless, I joined the Ecopsychology page on Facebook and started reading, determined to learn as much as I could anyway. Then someone posted a link to a course that was running for free. It had a mouthful of a name: “Environmental Education: Trans-disciplinary Approaches to Addressing Wicked Problems”. It was focussed on sustainability, so I signed up. It was interesting and kept me busy. In the meantime, on the Ecopsychology page, I struck up a conversation with a professor in Nebraska, who suggested I find out what one Dr David Wright was doing at Western Sydney University. I followed his advice and discovered the Masters of Education(Social Ecology) course, and set up a meeting with Dr Wright.

I worked out that the course cost was within my reach and applied. It started just after the Trans-disciplinary Approaches to Addressing Wicked Problems course ended, as if they were organised semesters of the same ongoing education. One of the subjects of the Social Ecology degree is Ecopsychology – the thing I had thought at the beginning to 2016 I’d never be able to study formally!

I am now half way through my Master’s degree and loving it. In the space since it began I have joined with others of the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association(NSWNMA) to form the Climate Change Action Reference Group. I am working at keeping my coursework concentrated on how we can shift and change our perspective regarding healthcare, so that what we do is kinder to the environment, It seems appropriate to me that healthcare should be about sharing good health and healing with the whole of our biosphere, and not just about healing humans at the expense of everything else.

More opportunities are coming up as have found I can write for the NSWNMA blog, and am making amazing connections with other people at the university and beyond.

It’s easy to be caught up in all the bad news about the impact of humanity on the biosphere, and as a nurse I am particularly aware of the health impacts of climate change and environmental damage. However I am also aware of the dandelion that pushes through the concrete to bloom in the most unlikely places.




I hold a vision of us working with the amazing generative and sustaining forces that give life and healing to our beloved planet and to us, so that healing and healthcare become a mindful and collaborative process fully aware of our interbeing with all of Gaia. My calling is to live, work on, and teach this vision – a process of cultural change.

There are already so many lovely people with me who share similar ideas and visions. I hope you will join us too.

~ by Dragonwyst on September 30, 2017.

One Response to “The calling…”

  1. Reblogged this on … for our planet.

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Julie Brett

Author - Australian Druidry - Artist



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