June 19, 2008

The Pictures Are Coming.

Just not right now. Maybe not for a while.

For those of you who care to know, I, among other things, am being laid off. It sounds so dirty. Laid off. Like I did something I should not have done. Like I am being punished. Like I have leprosy or something. Laid off. (shudder).

But, you know what folks? This is the Biotech industry. Companies come and go just as quickly as restaurants do, and one's job is never (ever) safe. The economy sucks right now and we weren't performing. This boat that I sit in right now is by no means empty. There are many people just like me, some from my own company who have gone through this 5 or 6 times. I am a newbie.

I choose to see this as a door opening rather than a door closing.

Sure, I could sit down and freak out and cry about losing my job, about where the money is going to come from, yadda, yadda, yadda, but I really don't feel like it. In fact, when I found out that tomorrow would be the last day of work for me, I just had to smile. In fact, I laughed. I felt sick to my stomach, yes, but I laughed. I mean, life is bizarre sometimes. My losing my job is allowing me some movement in my life that I had been missing. I get to take the summer off (paid vacation care of my severance package). My apartment is already covered through the end my lease, so I don't have to worry about paying rent. I have been dying to go for a long time (half of my stuff has been sold already or packed away) and now I have a giant foot planted on my butt kicking me out the door with nothing standing in my way. The universe could not be more blatant in showing me what to do.

I get to go explore another country and be an Aikido bum for a while. I get to explore a relationship that is important to me. I get to explore myself, see what I am made of, learn how to make it work when things are not so straightforward or easy. I don't have kids or a car or a mortgage. Now is the time to go and I am embracing that with open arms.

It is amazing the gifts we are given.

I have several long quotes from a book that I have been reading, Aikido in America, that I would like to share. I have been thinking quite a bit about the concept of perfection and the concept of being a warrior as I weather the emotional transitions I have made this past month. I truly am excited to start this next phase of my life.

From and interview with Tom Crum:

Most of our suffering as individuals has come not because we are evil people, but because we've wanted to be perfect all of our lives. And that desire to be perfect creates in us a self-esteem which is based primarily on performance or a model. And in that domain, having to be a certain way or be like someone else exactly, we start to look at everything as either being right or wrong....And there's a connotation that wrong is bad, because we're brought up to be perfect. We want to be perfect....And so we start to judge everything as right or wrong. Wrong is bad, and that means failure and a damaging blow to your self-esteem, because your self-esteem in perfection, remember is based on a performance or model.

So now you have developed an incredible fear of failure. As you get older in the art, you're really afraid to fall down because you have so much at stake. So you develop this need to control, because you have to limit the amount of risk so the possibility of failure is lessened. And out of that need to control, you become very judgmental. And then you enter the great sin of every religion, which is judgment. You begin to judge most harshly yourself and others. And in the domain, everything becomes work rather than play....

...Another approach is through discovery. Discovery is the domain in which your self-esteem is based on inquiry; it's based on creativity. Well, if your basic self-esteem is based on inquiry and creativity, then there's really no right or wrong...If there's no real right or wrong, you don't have failure. You simply have outcome. I mean, you do have goals, you do have visions, you do have expectations, but without the emphasis on performance and a model as the basis of your self-esteem...What happens is when you expectations don't get met, instead of having a failure, you just have an outcome....So from that you have more willingness to risk rather than less willingness to risk, as you do in perfection; you're far less judging; you're far more accepting. You don't have a controlling attitude; you have much more of a spontaneous attitude, so work becomes play and it's very child-like."

And, from that same interview:

"My definition of a true warrior is this: "A true warrior cuts through his story each moment and steps forth from his vision." What that means is that we've got a great story; all of us have this wonderful, wonderful story. And that story, whether it's our dysfunctional family or our alcoholic parents or a hippopotamus rolled over us when we were four or we caught a cold yesterday and that's why we can't do it, those stories are the legitimate reasons that keep us from living our vision. We have to be able to cut through those stories, to acknowledge them, to be open to them but not to operate out of them."


Ostentatious Transitioning Sophist said...

"The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both."

Keren said...

thanks for sharing those inspiring quotes. i always need a reminder/analysis of where i'm coming from when i'm in a downward spiral. i love that notion: self-esteem based on inquiry, not on perfection. i think natasha needs to hear this right now, too, especially.

i love you and can't wait to see you in so few days!