I had saved up some money and, having recently become an RN, was feeling more assured at finding work than in all similar road adventures in times past. I imagined I’d be traveling and visiting groups until I either experienced the increasingly familiar solid inner “yes” upon finding a new place and people, or I’d run out of money and need to look for work, whichever happened first.
There was a small concern that had begun to ever so quietly percolate up into my thoughts and I hadn’t yet allowed myself to give this concern much attention. A couple years earlier, I had been diagnosed with uterine fibroids, one of which was the size of a small lemon. Most women have uterine fibroids by the time they’re in their sixties, though they’re small enough to go unnoticed. However, many women experience problems related to these non-malignant tumors and eventually require some sort of surgical intervention. I had begun to notice the size of the tumors getting larger and there was an accompanying increasing physical discomfort. I figured at some point I’d have to have surgery. But there I was—again—setting off on an adventure and would not be buying health insurance for this interim between jobs. Maybe I’d have insurance again with my next job, I thought, and can get it taken care of then. In any case, I decided it wasn’t necessary to dwell on this issue at the time. I was being called on this exciting adventure, and that is what I would give my attention to.
Over the next couple of months, I drove all over California and Oregon, attending Course in Miracles groups, hiking during the mornings and camping in camp grounds at night. I encountered a lot of friendly people and inviting towns and was delighted to see there were so many possibilities for great places to live. I didn’t find that solid, assured sense of “yes”, however, until I finally reached a small town in southern Oregon and attended its Course group there. It felt right and so I planted myself.
There were three wishes I had been experiencing since just prior to leaving on my adventure. One was to find a group of people with whom I could discuss A Course in Miracles. The second wish was to find some wise one who could help me to more fully understand the nuts and bolts of the principle of forgiveness as defined in the Course. My third wish was to work as a home health RN in my next employment. I had no formed intentions yet concerning the fibroids issue. I wasn’t really thinking about it. Putting off considering the issue seemed okay at the time. I somehow knew all would be handled when the time was right.
Some months after I had settled in the Oregon town and my money was running low, I decided it was time to find paid work. I did not first look at the online job postings for the town’s only home health agency before going over there. I decided instead to print off a resume and drive straight over to the place. I found out during my visit that they had just posted their only opening that very morning. The interview was warm and smooth and the nurse manager offered me a job within five minutes. I was told later by another nurse there that positions at this agency were highly sought after and difficult to get. As had been the case so often in my life, however, I experienced the whole process as quite effortless. I had been paying attention to my inner world, had been clear on the kind of work I was wanting, and acted when the time felt right.
The position was what in the medical world is called “PRN” or “as needed.” This means that it was an un-benefitted position and the amount of work given me would vary according to their need, as would the concomitant pay. I saw this as a great opportunity to be flexible with how I might structure my time to allow for some personal travel. The position provided me with plenty of work and reimbursement enough to afford many trips and workshops during that time. After a year working mostly full-time as a PRN nurse, I was offered a benefitted position.
This was at the end of 2008, only a year and a half after I’d left the remote California town. The tumors had now become very large and uncomfortable. I knew I was needing surgery, though the situation had not yet become emergent. The world’s “wisdom”, in the form of other people’s comments, both actual and remembered, was clamoring at me to “do the smart thing” and take the benefitted position with its accompanying health insurance benefits. But something inside of me kept saying “no, don’t take it.” As you might imagine, this was a bit confusing. I knew I needed surgery and here was an opportunity to have it paid for, and yet my gut was saying “no.” I enjoyed the self-regulated work schedule the PRN position allowed me. Each time I considered trading it in for benefits, I’d get an inner “no.” I had many dialogs with Spirit about this, often talking aloud in the home health office when nobody else was within earshot.
During this same period of time another of my wishes was fulfilled. I was introduced to two important teachers that helped me deepen my understanding of the principles in the Course and, more specifically, of forgiveness. Via a couple of new friends, I came upon the teachings of Kenneth Wapnick. His books and lectures were enormously helpful. There have been other brilliant teachers who have taught me much since, but Ken’s work laid most of the foundation upon which I still build. The second teacher I discovered was Byron Katie and the suffering-dissolving tool she calls “the Work.” This tool is a process of self-inquiry that can be applied to any stressful moment one is experiencing. This was the clarification I was seeking in answer to my confusion concerning the Course’s concept of forgiveness.
Strengthened by this addition of understanding, I committed myself to accepting the inner noes and yeses with a new enthusiasm. I refused the offer of the benefitted position at work. Three months later, the company was put up for sale. The fat was to be cut to make the company appear more profitable and my PRN position was the fat. My hours were cut to 5 hours per week. It was time to look for other work. Later I discovered that the new agency was not a nice place to work and that most of the nurses who had remained after the sale had either quit or were wanting to. I was glad to be gone.
The economy was at its worst of the bust. There wasn’t an RN job available for 75 miles in any direction in that Oregon town. My savings was paltry. My fibroids were aching. My belly protruded like I was 4 months pregnant. I had to lie on my side in bed to relieve the pain. I was tempted to get worked up into a panic several times, but each time an inner message appeared instructing me to let go of the fear, that all would be okay.
I contacted some travel nurse agencies. Two of the biggies in the travel nurse industry informed me that my home health RN history was short and, as such, the possibility of securing a position through them was virtually nil. My resume was at the very bottom of the large and growing heap, they told me.
But the third agency I contacted decided to take this home health nurse newbie on board. The recruiter herself was a new hire, and for whatever reason, she took me under her wing and assured me she would find me something. She called me daily to offer words of encouragement. Within two weeks, I had a ten-week travel assignment secured in the Washington DC metro area.
I lived in the agency-provided apartment while working those ten weeks and saved my money. I had been reading here and there about the medical tourism industry and had decided that I would use the money to go abroad for my needed surgery. My nursing experience taught me that for a woman with fibroids the size of mine, most U.S. surgeons would decide on a partial hysterectomy, since removing only the fibroids would be considered too risky for a bleed out, and in this litigious country, any surgeon would understandably choose to protect his butt. I, however, wanted to keep my organ. I knew that my condition was advanced. I also knew that I could get what I wanted somewhere else and at a fraction of the cost.
I chose to have the surgery at a state-of-the-art, super feng-shui and peaceful-feeling hospital in Costa Rica. Everything felt right and flowed smoothly from the time I picked up the phone to call a stateside medical tourism broker, to being picked up that the San Juan airport and shuttled to the fancy resort, to discussing the procedure with the surgeon, to recovering in my own hospital room and then afterward back at the resort for 10 more days, to flying back to the states. The entire experience was easy and fun! I met other patients at the resort, mostly Americans and Canadians. It was an entirely positive experience. Total cost, including airfare: $7,300.
So, you see, I followed the guidance and everything worked out wonderfully. I trusted the inner directive in Oregon that told me to not trade in my flexible nurse position for a benefited one, despite my needing medical attention. As I followed, things unfolded and the right opportunities appeared at just the right times.
Stressful thoughts that arise and remain uninvestigated can result in our making choices that result in a way of living that is less than the liberation we’re wanting. The inquiry process I was developing helped me avoid getting mired by stress and allowed me to hear and to trust the inner directive at each step in the process. Again, no sacrificing of my inner guiding system was required in providing for this need.