Lee and a curious calico crisscross the country in a RV, living simply and sustainably.

Freefall

Ever felt like you are at the end of your rope, and then lost hold of the rope altogether? Freefalling through life at a blurry, exhilarating, frightening rate, alternating with the feeling of being suspended in time, just treading water, like  “nothing will EVER change for the better!”  That’s how my last 6 weeks have been. A heart racing roller coaster ride up to the sky, suspended in stillness for an interminable length of time, then plunging dizzily back to earth. As luck would have it, I landed with a cannonball smack-dab in the middle of this fish pond.

Fish pond

Your situation will vary, but we’ve all been there. Or will be there. Or know someone who is there right now. I’ll share a few details, but it’s the process of breakdown leading to a breakthrough that I’d like you to focus on. In my case, it was related to a job search. For a year and a half I’d actively applied to more than 175 advertised jobs. After the first 100, I felt my confidence slip. Friends told me it was the economy. To just keep trying. In order to network, I volunteered, joined clubs, and let all my friends know I was looking for full or part-time work.

During the next 50 job applications, I moved out of the city to my current small town. Displayed arts and crafts at the farmers market. Met new friends and leaned on old ones. Had a handful of interviews. Picked up odd jobs. Got hired by the wealthiest guy in town but resigned after few months of wayyyy too much work-related stress.  Doubt crept in as I wondered “Why can’t I find a rewarding job?” “What’s wrong with me?” “Why aren’t my talents being utilized?” and “Am I even necessary in this world?”

The last 25 applications were different. I was out of savings, inspiration, and energy and had nothing left to lose. With one last hurrah I put myself out there in a big way. Got clear on what skills I have to offer, the environment I’d like to work in, the people I wanted to share my life with, and the effect I wanted to have in the world. Went to the Department of Labor and asked for help in getting my name out there. Followed their suggestions towards retooling my resume’. Searched job sites on a daily basis. Followed up on every lead that friends suggested.

Then I got even more creative. Made a vision board – a collage with lots of images cut out of magazines, a heart-felt prayer, and list of words that described how I would feel when I’d found the perfect job fit. I read books like “Failing Forward”, “Lean In”, and “Enough, dammit” that reminded me that I was not the only frustrated person on the planet. I leaned on girlfriends who told me “We’ll hold you up” when I ran out of faith. I journaled and wept and prayed. Hiked and laughed and spent my last few dollars dancing.

Coy pond

Then it happened. I walked past this beautiful fish pond to interview at a local biotech company. The door opened, and one of my friends was on the other side. “What are you doing here?” I asked. “I’m here to help the owners interview you” she replied with a smile.  This friend had already been sending job leads my way. I was glad I’d found this job and secured the interview on my own merits, but was SO grateful that she was part of the decision-making process!

Out of 128 applicants, two were selected to interview, and two weeks later, I am still pinching myself at my good fortune. My work in managing this office is easy and fun. I work for/alongside dynamic, generous, positive people. My office is spacious, comfortable and peaceful, with sliding glass doors onto a deck surrounded by trees and birdsong. The fish pond bubbles soothingly nearby. And, the intention I listed at the top of my resume’ is being lived out My intent is to contribute to a highly ethical, professional organization that serves humanity well.

Suggestions:

Think:   What challenges are you facing in your life, that seem insurmountable,  like you’re just treading water? Brainstorm. What are the most logical ways to achieve your goal? What are other ways to get there? Are there ways that you have not even thought of yet?

Say:   Get clear on what you want. Write down a list of qualities that you’ll recognize once your goal is achieved. Paint a picture of what it will look like. Describe your dream to friends and family in Technicolor detail.  Ask them to help you get there.

Do:   Do the things bring you closer to joy and into a deeper expression of the exquisite person that you are. Don’t defer your life while you’re waiting for things to shift. It is the living of your life that will shift things.

Comments on: "Freefall" (8)

  1. Sooo glad the new job is all you wanted it to be Lisa. You DID it! 😀 Sam

      “Maybe a person’s time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to buy food.” 

    ________________________________

  2. Michael said:

    It is good to know that we are not tossed about in chaos alone. That other people also have similar experiences in their lives from time to time. My own past couple of months have been extremely stressful due to several things happening simultaneously. Just when I thought I was home free for a while, having resolved a major obstacle I had been working on for months, I could relax and continue working my plan on entirely my own terms, Bam! Bam! Bam! What the…? Why me? Why now? Who should I blame?

    This was perhaps the first time in my life however that I felt I had the tools in my toolbox to deal with the intense stressors I was experiencing. I had some friends I could talk much of it out with and that helped me see the larger picture and different possibilities. I had my own essentially basic “survival” practices to step back into that helped keep me physically healthy to also better deal with the situations. Although my ability to sleep was greatly disturbed, I also took that as a challenge to manage with knowledge accumulated in the past.

    With a good set of tools to work with I knew to and kept telling myself, this is only temporary. It will pass. Make a plan and work it. Simplify. Break it down. Prioritize. Do the work. Take the first step. Then the next.

    For a change I was able to minimize the less useful time spent in trying to identify and blame others. Reduce the time wondering why me, why now, and what happened to get me in this mess. I mostly was able to save those things, those questions for later when I did have time to think about them. Answers to those questions are important to me because I want to learn from my experiences. That has worked well for me in the past and led me to having the tools I have available to me today.

    I feel I have completed and resolved most of the things that rushed down the pike at me with such fury. I still have a thing or two to resolve but they do not seem so daunting as before. I have been able to shift into the quest for information and new knowledge. What can I learn for all this? I’ve been able to look back and think, “wow, I’ve done it!” I had help and I’ve thanked those that helped. I am grateful they were there and available when I needed. And I’ve met a new friend in the process of getting my status quo so shook up I had to look out into the the bigger world outside myself.

    • Thank you for sharing your personal story, Michael. I guess that’s the beauty of having a spiritual practice to fall back on, to sustain us during the rough times as well as enrich our lives during the good times. To retain the perspective that “this is only temporary, it will pass” is key. I’m glad you came out the other side of your situation with grace.

  3. Tricia said:

    I really enjoyed reading this, Lisa. I especially liked the very end; in fact, I liked it so much I am sharing it! And congratulations on your new job! It sounds like the perfect fit for you.

  4. alexandra said:

    Perhaps, for some reason, your soul needed that turmoil to strengthen itself. Do you feel stronger for it? Have you learned things from it? Are you able to guide other souls through similar circumstances? I would guess yes because you are perceptive to begin with.

    • Hey Alexandra, thanks for your thoughtful questions. Yes, in retrospect, I can see that I was called to stretch further than ever before. To CHOOSE to have faith in people, myself, and life in general; even while not being able to see through “muddy waters” to the other side. It turns out I was closer to success in many areas of life than I could have imagined. So the lesson is to keep on swimming, or even just float a while!

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