Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Addendum to Life Unscripted


“I know not all workplaces feel assaultive. I secretly pray I will find one, but I cannot see this place yet. Maybe writing this story will help me locate it.”

As I wrote those words for a story about finding a new job, but feeling reluctant to enter "the workplace,"  the words sprang into action, taking on a life of their own. I could feel it happening. The power of writing is that great. A perceptible physical "lightening,"(as in weight lifted) occurred in me. It felt like I was sinking into a buttery soft easy-chair and taking a deep breath. Yet, at the same time a panic started to rise, I knew now that the words were written, answers were already being "sent out."

At once I felt free but also like it I was awaiting my turn, about to take a hold of the zip-line so I could fly above the tree tops, exhilarated, albeit at frightening speed.

Then an answer to my words arrived in my in-box three days later on a Monday morning.

I tell my friends this repeatedly: "I wish God would just ring my doorbell and tell me what direction to take with a job; then I will be certain." I once thought this happened when an art job opened up at a catholic school and I submitted my resume to a priest, but that didn’t pan out. Was this message in my in-box a ringing doorbell?

I can’t say for sure; I am awaiting more information and a phone conference. Meanwhile I am choosing not to prescribe expectations around what I will hear, but to keep an open mind instead. So whenever the little voices start to rain on my parade, I simply quiet them.
Yesterday I spent the day reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, a book I return to time and again, it is full of comforting wisdom about letting go of the unhelpful stories we tell ourselves based on what happened in our past.  Tolle explains when we remain unconscious we carry around a pain-body. The pain comes from identifying with past "stories" about our life to the point of limiting our choices. The stories shape our present moment in a way that is not helpful, and is instead painful and destructive.
I am reminded to face each moment with awareness when these stories try to infuse themselves into my day, claiming to know an outcome that is only imagined, and not even true. 

Tolle reminds us that the pain-body fuels our ego. Our ego is the part of our self which lives in the story, and wants the story to continue. The ego is always thinking, it is not being. The ego depends on our painful thoughts (story) to exist. The remedy to this negative spiral of thinking is to simply be present now. Sounds pretty simple, and it is once you get the hang of it.
I am surprised by just how ingrained my negative thinking can be. It is as if my default button is stuck on worry. But Tolle reminds us that there is not even a thing such as an outcome, really there is only the present moment.

The key: look at what you have right now, this is who you are, be as honest and open as you can and don’t tell a story about it, just accept it without judgment, or vice.

Sometimes this concept is so mind-boggling that I cannot look it in the eye for long. It "appears" counter to what seemed like the best advice: plan for your future. But life takes form from the present moment, what we do now. It is all we are certain we have, we cannot know what the future holds.

Here is my now: A 60° November day, a warm quiet house, a sleeping dog curled beside me, the soft hum of my laptop, clicking keys and the urge to stand and move, take a walk maybe.

Need I think more?

Addendum to the addendum: I received a card in the mail today (11/30) that had a cup of coffee on the front (my favorite thing!) and it says, "Good morning, this is God..." Then on the inside: "I will be handling all of your problems today. I will not need your help, so have a nice day." And it is signed God. It does look suspiciously like my brother's handwriting, but he doesn't read this blog! You don't suppose... :)

P.S. The job that appeared in my inbox was not for me, but it was nice to receive an offer.