Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beginner Peace

New vistas, when you're presented with them, can be good and bad. Like all things. Starting with the word "new." Right there, you might be on some shaky ground. If you've been at the same thing for a long time, in a routine at work, working for the same company, in the same industry, etc., new isn't always good. We like to romanticize new, especially when we've been hangin' out with old and familiar for a while. We imagine it as all shiny or sparkly or super clean and easy-to-read with flashes of aha! I just knew new was like that.

But then it turns out, when you're presented with new, it can look a lot like what the hell is that? Or umm, I don't see anything. Like Mary Worth, if you ever played that game at a sleepover. (Sorry guys, maybe this was just a girl thing.) Also, there was the other game you played at sleepovers: Stiff as a Board; Light as a Feather. You'd all try to levitate someone using only two fingers each underneath them. Inevitably, certain people would be convinced it happened. Sometimes it probably would, because there were eleven of you and everyone was sneaking more than two fingers under that body, plus the kid only weighed 60 pounds, so it's feasible.

Anyway. Stiff as a Board; Light as a Feather can be something like the way you feel after you settle into the view of the new vista you're presented with when you're recently unemployed. Whether or not you enjoy the concept of "new," vista is another thing altogether. Vista is expansive, vista is far-reaching, vista is full of hills and valleys and days and nights. New doesn't really last very long. Vista goes on and on and the only way to avoid it is not to look. That's enough potential to make some people freeze up a little bit. Go Stiff as a Board, maybe. But it's also enough intrigue to free some people up quite a bit. Get Light as a Feather, perhaps.

That seems like a lot and it can be. Good news is, you don't have to decide right away everything you feel about, and everything you're going to do about, new vistas, right when you're presented with them. So don't worry about freezing up a little, or not knowing exactly what you're looking at out there. But for goodness sake try not to look away from them or close your eyes to the view, either. Even if it seems overwhelming at first. Just go slow. Peek. It's okay. It's yours to explore. Take some time to see your future--your day--with these newly opened eyes.

I've just learned how important this is, but not because of losing my job. It's because of my mom, who is an ovarian cancer patient. She's still in treatment, still surviving after four years of ups and downs. The previous sleepover analogies came to me today after a conversation I had with her yesterday. She was thinking back, regretting that she was too much of a clean freak to let us have friends in for sleepovers when we were young. She mused, "What was wrong with me? Who does that? What did I think--" I cut her off. "Mom, it's okay. We survived. We grew up to let our kids have tons of sleepovers, and we moved on."

She said she knew that, but still, if she could only change some of the decisions she made back then... See, she was kinda stiff as a board. Stuck on that. I'll tell you, it's been one of the biggest struggles for her since her cancer diagnosis. I think it's fairly common. Probably a vista most people will struggle with looking at, right--my life as a cancer patient facing my mortality? I told her I know we all have regrets, but then again, we couldn't be where we are right now without having been through every point we were at in the past. "So what's wrong with right now, really, mom? Here we are, having this great conversation, which matters much more to us at this point in time than any sleepovers."

Suddenly, I swear she levitated over the phone. She was light as a feather. We talked for a long time after that, about a bunch of other great stuff, and it was the most freedom and confidence I'd heard in her voice in a long time. Actually, ever. I realized this morning, something had happened, I think she finally opened her eyes and looked at the day, and her life, and future, and disease, and self, and saw it as the new vista that it was. That it Is. And so I was thinking, heck, there are probably a lot of people who find themselves out of work, and don't know quite how to face all the newness and possibilities, the good and the bad, and so they miss out on a chunk of the good, because they don't look and see all that's out there for them.

If we're going to find inner peace, I guess we should start somewhere. And the Beginning is always Very Good place to do it. Today, I hope you will at least look in the mirror and see a new sparkle, your hint of what's possible for you to conjure up.
I mean, who's afraid of Mary Worth anyway?

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