Thursday, August 24th 2017

Ask for this prescription at the first signs of job loss

A priest and psychotherapist shares how he and his friends have dealt with recession, job loss and financial poverty

pink-slip3BY DAVID RICKEY — The loss of a job — the proverbial “Pink Slip” — can be a major challenge on several levels. Material survival, physical well-being, emotional balance, and, ultimately, sense of meaning are all threatened by this single event.

Here’s a “prescription” for dealing with this threat.

First, breathe . . .

Then, as you keep breathing deeply, let the fears and emotions gently come forth. With each fear, as it arises, ask yourself: “Is that really true?”

Ask “What do I know?”

Instead of, “What am I afraid will happen?”

Frequently our fears will far exceed reality, and panic can overwhelm us.  Try to stick with as much fact as you can grasp.

Keep breathing

womanbreath2Know that your situation is not of your own causing, and that you share it with millions of others — past and present. It is not a statement about you, or your work.

If you have a partner or family, take time to share this exercise with them:

“What is our situation now?”

“What can we do together to get through this?”

“How can we care for each other and reach out to serve others in this time?”

Don’t be your anxiety

As long as you don’t isolate and panic, inspiration will come to each of you. Try always to stay open to new possibilities. Let this be a time of possible new beginnings. And keep breathing deeply.

Then look at your skills, gifts, talents and interests. These are your assets, to use the language of your employers — your human capital. Think about how you could use them to serve others. Let your heart be open and give yourself space to allow new possibilities to arise.

When we experience a personal crisis, we usually close-in on ourselves. By doing this, we forget that our own personal life is not really our own but an expression of life and therefore has more energy and grace supporting it.

However, when we look beyond ourselves for possibilities to serve others, we open up to a much deeper, even cosmic wisdom and tune into connections which transcend our own limited vision.

Jesus said, “Do not be anxious.” This doesn’t mean not to have anxious feelings. It means, don’t let “anxiety” become your inner “state” — do not be the anxiety. This is not a magic formula but a spiritual law.

The universe “conspires” with you when anxiety is not your “essence”

Here are four examples of people who transformed negative times into positive outcomes:

  1. Joseph Campbell, of “Follow Your Bliss” fame, returned from study in Europe two weeks before the crash of 1929. There was no work to be had. He had, however, saved up some money from playing saxophone.

eckhart_tolle_09He took that money, and went to the woods in upstate New York. There he lived frugally, and read and read and read. After several years, he was offered a job teaching at Sarah Lawrence College. Not only did this give him a job, it gave him a context to explore the “feminine” in his evolving awareness of the Power of Myth.

2. Eckhart Tolle (image left-above) was on his last “dime,” couch-surfing with fellow-travelers in California, when he bought a lottery ticket and won *just* enough to finish his first book, The Power Of Now.

3. Paul Kaihla “lost” his high-paying job as a successful writer at Business 2.0 when it failed to hitch its wagon to the web 2.0 bubble, and Time Inc. closed the magazine. Paul used his awareness of content, plus his severance pay, to continue pursuing his inner truth and “bliss” to found this very website.

4. My own path was informed by a career “interrupted” by a motorcycle crash in Australia. I gave up “acceptable” career plans in New York, and spent my time in traction experiencing creative visualization.  I shaped a mental image of a career position that corresponded to the places and experiences where I felt most alive, and most vibrant.

handsThrough an unexpected run of good fortune, I gained enough money to begin a new direction.  This resulted in my becoming Rector of an amazing congregation in San Francisco, developing an evolving relationship with the Interfaith Community, and being able to write this article from first-hand experience.

Crisis = crossroads

Know that you are not here to fail, but you are not here to succeed only for yourself, either. Your life and purpose is interwoven with the whole of Life.

This personal crisis is a “cross-roads” (the actual meaning of the Latin root of crisis). It is a time to make new choices, take a different path or a slightly different route.

Continue to breathe deeply, and let the deeper Truth nurture and sustain you.

David’s previous article for Soul’s Code was How to live in conscious awareness.

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2 Comments on “Ask for this prescription at the first signs of job loss”

  1. Thank you David for another wonderful article! I look forward to reading your posts every week. They contain true wisdom along with practical application and I am very grateful for your presence on this site.

  2. I love that story about the author Eckhart Tolle being on his last “dime,” couch-surfing with fellow-travelers in California, and buying a lottery ticket. He won a modest $1,000, but it was *just* enough for him to finish his first book, The Power Of Now.

    And now he is a multi-millionaire. But is this a one-in-a-million fluke? There are other spiritual teachers who are apparently realized but are now broke or sick, or both?

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