Tuesday, July 12, 2011

When You Hit Bottom, You Bounce

So I'm still struggling to find a job since my last one was so rudely taken from me.  It's not so much that I'm out there everyday getting rejected.  I've actually only made it to one place and they wanted to hire me but didn't have a position available.  The struggle is with myself, and until this morning (more like afternoon) when I was finally pulling myself together for the day, I realized what my big issue was.

I knew I'd been making excuses like I usually do.  I want to say that I've brought this up before but in scanning through my posts, nothing rings a bell.  The first big insight my practice brought me was how easy it is for me to fall for my own excuses, that I just accept them sometimes without even realizing I'm making them up.  I see them as reality and that that's just the way it is.

The problem is, until I find the root of these excuses, it doesn't really do me much good.  Sure I know that I shouldn't be falling for them, but I still do.

What I realized today is that I'm still upset over the loss of my job, even more so than I'd realized.  On a deeper level, the owners of that restaurant kicked me out of my home; not the one where I went to every night and slept, but the one where I spent my days.  My coworkers were in a sense a new family and I'd been cut off from them.  On the surface I'd just seen it as a job and another one would come along to take it's place.  I hadn't dealt with this aspect that lurked so far below.

So I was still angry and holding on to something I know intellectually was passing and impermanent.  It wasn't until today that that understanding went a bit deeper into realizing the impermanence.

What's causing me trouble now is that deep down, I'm scared of that happening again.  I mean, I really hate looking for a job.  I've stayed at places that were really bad for me longer than I should have because it seemed better than looking for a new place.  But this fear comes from an investment in a possible future that I know may not come true.  So instead I hold on to the dream rather than march in to a place and apply.

So many of us do this in so many different situations.  We let our attachment to how we want things (or think they should be) to turn out cripple us from taking the chance.  Looking for jobs, pursuing a romance, making a purchase or any other choice for that matter.

Is there some magic spell we can use to make this anxiety go away, some short cut around the suffering?  No, we just have to accept that this is what life is.  Our practice may help in that if we settle our minds enough, that iron grip on the dream may soften, but just because you have a light grip doesn't make that desire any less sticky.

A little after Christmas I was in a funk, didn't feel myself, slept too late, wasn't motivated to do anything.  It took me a while to realize that I was a little depressed.  It'd been a long time since I'd been to that place so it wasn't easily recognizable.  Once I'd identified it, it lost a lot of it's power, I'd slapped some boundaries on it and defined its previously ambiguous powers.

For a long time I'd been doing really well, riding the wheel to the top.  But once I hit bottom back then, I was able to recognize that it was a wheel and that I wouldn't be there forever.  It had been a nice ride up and the top felt great, but then I was at the bottom and knowing I'd be going back up eventually was kind of what turned it around.

So today I realized the same thing and it had the same effect.  I'm really bummed about not having a job and it should be enough motivation to go out and get one, but something has been in the way.  Now that I've identified it, given it some definition, I know its power's not infinite.  I'm still moving forward and looking up, not down.

It was a long fall down, and I know it's cliche, but before you can bounce back up, you have to hit the bottom.


  1. Hey. Sorry you're having a tough time. Sounds like you're in a good place though from where I sit. In that you recognize how you feel. The iron grip you have on the "dream" sounds like an iron grip on "identity". And that's just what happens as far as I can tell. You can have the most compelling unitive experience ever and before you know it....you're right back fixating on your damn self. I have met some people who seem to have a....an....a wisdom about them in this regard. But that also doesn't look like it comes easy. Good luck to you! It sounds to me like you're standing squarely on your feet and are understanding your experience. :)

  2. the container ship of my habits is still pretty big and takes a while to turn around.

    it does show the dual nature of our existence though. each moment is all that is important, so yea, enlightenment one moment, delusion the next. but our habits (or karma, for buzzword nuts) are still some pretty heavy stuff acting like rails defining just how far we can change direction for the next few moments. You can't just decide one second you'd be happier as a butterfly and make it happen.