Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Key First Step Successfully Completed

On Monday I had a good talk with my career coach, Dwightly. She observed that I’m methodical and organized by nature and therefore may be feeling like I’m wandering in a maze. She said it’s natural to feel disconcerted in this situation and that I need to be “opportunistic”—to talk to people and explore various paths: try this and that and rule things out along the way. She said I shouldn’t start by trying to find the perfect job at the perfect organization. (She has my number.) I need to wander in the maze and trust the process, and I need to try to be comfortable with uncertainty. She said I can try a particular path and it may or may not lead anywhere, and I can go on to other careers or organizations as necessary.

She finished by saying I have a nice skill set and that I should be encouraged and optimistic.

In the evening, C. and I went to the little zazen sitting group at Glide Memorial Church.

Having discovered myself to be stuck as regards my job hunt, I have taken the universally agreed-upon first step in solving any problem, which is to order up some stuff from Amazon, in this case the 2012 edition of What Color Is Your Parachute?, Barbara Sher’s I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was, and Phillip Moffitt’s new book, Emotional Chaos to Clarity: How to Live More Skillfully, Make Better Decisions, and Find Purpose in Life. I almost always interview with Phillip at my annual retreat at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and think very highly of him. (Typically, you meet with a teacher every other day while on retreat to check in about how things are going and ask any questions.)

Yesterday I spent part of the day reading Phillip’s book and I went to see my mental health professional, which entailed taking an extraordinarily beautiful walk along Dolores St. Such a lovely, sunny day.

In the evening, I went to Howie’s.

Last night I dreamed I’d been rehired at my former company and was wandering in a vast, dispiriting cubicle farm, all in shades of dull blue. I felt sad and gloomy: my lovely, sunny summer—gone! Spending such nice time, in such quantity, with C.—gone!

That horrible little cracking sound you just heard was all 56 to 68 of my parents’ teeth (depending on how many wisdom teeth are still present) crashing together as they thought, “I knew that was the reason she hasn’t been looking for a job!”

Well, not really. I do see C. very often, but have made a point of almost never getting together with him before 5 or 6 p.m. on weekdays, allocating the time that may one day be spent working to looking for work, or at least not to socializing. (What is it that I actually do weekdays until 5 or 6 p.m.? That's a bit mysterious, even to me.)

In this dream, I gave my former co-worker, Emily, a call on the phone and was surprised to find she was cold and unfriendly, not happy to hear from me.

When I spoke with Dwightly on Monday, we discussed the possibility of part-time work. Do such jobs ever come with insurance? Dwightly said sometimes they do, and that this is certainly something one could negotiate for. She also said that part-time jobs aren’t always posted, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist or can’t be created for a desirable candidate.

Now that Obamacare has been validated by the Supreme Court, which will make it possible for those with pre-existing conditions to buy their own insurance (in fact, may make it necessary for everyone to buy their own insurance, as businesses seize the opportunity to stop offering it), I’m starting to think maybe I was right in the first place about trying to put together a life full of the things that matter most to me, and that my favorite checkout person at Rainbow was right in not liking to see me retreat in fear from what I really wanted.

(Also starting to think I was wrong about John Roberts, though the The New Yorker says his vote in this case may be consistent with a diabolical long-term plan we won’t like. When I visited Ypsilanti recently, we spent an agreeable 15 minutes listing our most-hated Supreme Court justices in descending order of enmity. My least favorite is Roberts, followed by Thomas. Roberts’ assurance that he would be like the umpire in a game of baseball followed by what has seemed to be naked partisan action, some of it so incredibly damaging, has been enraging. How extraordinary, even touching, to have him cast the decisive vote to affirm Obamacare.)

As for what means the most to me, the most important and beneficial thing in my life is my mindfulness practice, both formal sitting in meditation and trying to be awake the rest of the time, and one thing I’d really like to do is to be a mindfulness/meditation teacher/coach, not a dharma teacher per se. Lately I was discussing this with a meditation pal who has completed a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training program. Becoming certified requires additional steps, but once you finish this program, you can start teaching.

The same class is starting again soon, but I had decided not to apply because I also don’t think I want to be an MBSR teacher per se. However, I might change my mind about that, and the class may provide a valuable opportunity to learn how to teach meditation, so as soon as I finished stretching, I rushed to turn on the computer to find that email again, and saw this from Elea:

“Were you mad at me in that dream! I am glad it was not for reals.

“You had a job you loved though. Sadly, I don't remember what it was, but it was your dream job.”

Funny that both those dreams occurred on the same night. I put together and mailed an application for the MBSR class, and my plan now is to find a part-time IT job, which would give me time to pursue being a mindfulness/meditation teacher and to write.
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