In January of 2012 I moved hundreds of miles from Las Vegas to California for a new work opportunity. I worked incredibly hard at my new position and enjoyed it every single day. For the first time in my life I could see myself in the early stages of my future career. I worked with people I enjoyed being around, and who pushed me to be better than myself. We worked in a fun, hip environment (think Tom Hanks in the movie BIG), we got lunch catered in almost every day of the week, and even had a “wellness” budget to be spent on gym memberships, massages, etc…. I was truly happy. That all changed about a week ago when I was laid off. I was completely blindsided by people I looked up to and trusted. I felt like I had the rug yanked from under my feet, leaving me to fall slowly to the ground thinking the whole time “how hard will it hurt when I land?”
I’ve had some deep thought about the direction of my life, my true goals and passions, where I want to be in 5-10-20 years and who I want to be surrounded with. I’ve realized that as happy as I thought I was, I was mistaken. There were many days I would show up early and leave late to “show my dedication” but that just slowly wore me out. I was working harder, not smarter. Really I was just spinning my wheels not accomplishing much of anything for anyone. I truly feel like I was vastly underappreciated and not allowed to exercise all my abilities and talents. I feel like I parted ways with 92% of myself left to give to that company. In a way it’s satisfying because I wouldn’t want to have given everything just to be discarded, but it’s such an empty feeling knowing they never saw you as someone who could provide creative insight into the direction of the company. I’m still kind of lost. Still not sure how, or what, to think about where I am right now, so here’s a story I often go back to and reference in times like this to regain some sense of direction:
In the story of a wise man who won an expensive car in the lottery – his family and friends were very happy for him and came to celebrate. “Isn’t it great!” they said, “you are so lucky!” The man smiled and said “Maybe”. For a few weeks he enjoyed driving the car. Then one day a drunken driver crashed into his new car at an intersection and he ended up in the hospital with multiple injuries. His family and friends came to see him and said “that was really unfortunate”. Again the man smiled and said “Maybe”. While he was still in the hospital, one night there was a landslide and his home fell into the sea. Again his friends came back the next day and said “weren’t you lucky to have been here in the hospital!” Again he said “Maybe”.
The wise man’s “maybe” signifies a refusal to judge anything that happens. Instead of judging what is, he accepts it and so enters into conscious alignment with the higher order. He knows that often it’s impossible for the mind to understand what place or purpose a seemingly random event has in the tapestry of the whole. But there are no random events, nor are there things or events that exist by and for themselves in isolation. The atoms that make up your body were once forged inside stars, and the causes of even the smallest event are virtually infinite and connected with the whole in incomprehensible ways. If you wanted to trace back the cause of any event, you would have to go back all the way to the beginning of creation. The cosmos is not chaotic. The very word cosmos means order. But this is not an order the human mind can ever comprehend, although it can sometimes glimpse it.
With that said I guess I’ll have to stare my situation right back in the eyes and say “Maybe”.