The elixir of Patience

puzzle-97541__340

This month we have been exploring elixirs. Elixirs are qualities of consciousness assumed with the process of unfoldment of one’s deepest potentials for the good of the Whole. One such quality is Patience.

“Patience is a virtue” sums up nicely the alchemical nature of this positive attribute. Combined with other qualities such as persistence and even passion, patience can propel our actions forward to help us manifest our most worthy goals.

figure-1480470__340

So here are some nuggets about patience I found on the web:

“Being a good teacher takes patience; being a good doctor also takes patience. In fact, if you want to excel in anything, master any skill, patience is an asset.” Eknath Easwaran, Patience: A Little Book of Inner Strength 

“Struggles often serve to release the wisdom, patience, and strength we all possess but too seldom demonstrate.” Jim Stovall, Wisdom for Winners Volume One: A Millionaire Mindset, An Official Official Publication of The Napoleon Hill Foundation 

“But ‘not giving up’ requires a certain level of patience, of hours and hours, and sometimes days or weeks, months or years of trying and perfecting.” V. Noot, Don’t Give Up

“Doing interesting work when nobody notices takes patience and belief.” Brian Knapp, Creative Pursuit 

“One of the paradoxes of life is that being impatient often makes it harder to achieve something. As with any skill, you get better at manifesting the more you practice.” Simon Foster, Manifesting Change: How to Manifest Change, Love, Abundance and Prosperity 

zen-2040340__340

images are from pixabay.com

Magical Thinking or Manifestation? Seeing, Knowing, Being

sol-con-nubes-color-1113fg-v1-149

Is the future (or many possible futures simultaneously) a parallel reality? On Tuesday I linked this blog to physicist Brian Greene’s YouTube airing of The Illusion of Time (check it out!) If time is ultimately an illusion, then different time frames—e.g. yesterday, today and tomorrow—can be considered Parallel Realities. That means when you learn how to shift perspective, the future is perceived as an Alter-Now, as is a past moment or “memory”; for everything is Now.

Magic Pond Fantasy Background

What imaginative and practical implications might we draw from regarding “the Future” as an array or matrix of Alter-Nows? Personally I believe this opens a pathway from the actualized Present to the to-be-actualized Future that we desire to manifest by conscious intention. You can set a specific future condition as a destination; not to be arrived at, but rather to “manifest”. This is what the credo “Live Your Dream, Now!” within the approach I’ve been presenting of Life Mapping is all about. Set a course, Cosmic NOWness Sailor, and Go (Just BE HERE)!

60-pack30-021514-tm

This past Sunday I read an engaging, passionate blog from Rachel Mankowitz in which she discusses Hope as potentially merely a matter of “magical thinking.” Hope, though, can be channeled effectively via the “law of manifestation,” which may only sound like “magical thinking” by those who do not believe in the power of their own intention and imagination. I know Rachel does so believe; in tandem with her dear dog companions she continues to apply her intentions with skill and hopeful steering.

2734-1013-B0165

I have invited a fellow writer, Denise Naughton,to share her insights with us today about the spiritual Law of Manifestation. I have been in helpful writing classes with Denise as the teacher where we have studied this “law” as a definite, dynamic process. In my own life, I have always been strongly motivated by the almost magical-seeming process of moving a project from the point of conception/ideation through gradual implementation into outward manifestation. Nothing compels me more in life than to facilitate this Law of Manifestation in everything I have “set my heart upon”.

Hope Definition Magnifier Showing Wishes Wants And Hopes

So, as a gift to you all, here are insights from my good friend, Denise:

The Law of Manifestation

What is the difference between manifesting and magical thinking? As I heard one person describe it: magical thinking is here’s my plate where’s my dinner, while another begins by imagining what dinner will look like, how it will come to her, what it will taste like, etc. Think about the little girl in “The Little Princess”. When she and her friend were hungry and cold, the little girl sat down and described everything from tea in a cup to a fire in the grate. She tasted it, even pretended to eat and drink, and what happened? She and her friend woke up to a transformed room. In the story we know how it came to be, but that’s also part of manifesting—not devaluing the gift because it didn’t fall out of the sky.

medical_110006964-011314int

I’ve been studying two books titled The Flute of God, by Paul Twitchell, and The Science of Being Rich, by Wallace D. Wattle. Both are similar in describing the principle of manifesting. It’s not important why I’m studying this principle per se except to say that I just love seeing how it works. By “studying” them, I mean when I finish the books I begin reading them again because manifesting is not about what I think consciously, it’s about what I believe unconsciously.

Both books bring out three principles about manifesting—seeing, knowing, being. This translates into, first, imagining what I want. Second, having confidence in the universe, Spirit, or however one wants to term that which is larger than we are, that this will come to me. And third, living as if I already have it, I have accepted the gift, etcetera.

49-pack30-021514-tm

One day I was walking a very busy street in San Francisco. I was having a daydream about receiving an Oscar for a terrific screenplay that was made into a film. The film was up for an Oscar as well as the writer and director (this is all imagination). I imagined the gown I was wearing, and the speech I was going to give. I walked up the street carrying my newly received statue. I was there, not on the street where I was walking. Before I knew it cars were honking. I couldn’t understand why. Traffic was flowing smoothly, and then I realized that I had put myself so into the moment of my Oscar acceptance that drivers were seeing me that way. There was no doubt that’s what was happening.

I end this with something that I also read to myself every day. It’s a composite from aspects of both the books I mentioned. I don’t need to be worthy of any experience in this life. I don’t have to earn it or get it as a reward. I just need to accept it. I simply learn to accept my good and that good comes to me here and now. I learn to collapse time and remove the barrier between my desire and me. Life is nothing but a series of experiences, and whatever I want I can have. After all every person is having right now what they subconsciously expect to get.

Denise Naughton is an author, a public speaker, and a Ph.D. Candidate (ABD) at Union Institute and College. She is completing her dissertation on Jungian archetypes related to stock characters in Australian film.

 

 dream-san-writting-021514-tm-944

******   ******

Thanks, Denise!

To all, I invite your Comments and Stories!

THE POWER OF YOUR DREAM, by Richard A. Cross (http://richardacross.com/)

I am re-blogging today from life coach Richard A. Cross’s site, Energize Your Thoughts.  His post has a wonderful Better Endings theme:

followthrough

 The Power of Your Dream

Do you have a dream?

What is stopping you from accomplishing your dreams?

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible”. ~T. E. Lawrence

I want to say why most people don’t experience the life of their dreams is simply because they quit way too easily, never want to go the extra mile. At times we need the push that life presents to us. It is that push that makes us grow and become better.

However, most people don’t like to be tested.

My dream was to one day have a better life than what I was experiencing as a child. I would sit outside as I looked out in space and envisioned more for my life. As a child my dream was very simple, due to my exposure to the minimal things that life had to offer. My dream was to run as fast as I could so I would be able to win my races when it comes to track and field season. I won most of my races, but as I got older and my vision got magnified with new found ideas and challenges crept in.

At age 12 years I saw a runner by the name of Kevin Webb run past my school, and as he ran, the cheerers on the street shouted “he is the winner and he wins every year”. I said to myself that day that I want to do that, and I will do that. I said it without even knowing what the challenge would be like.

I guess when you are young your first thought is that it’s possible. The older we become the less we believe in our potential. Don’t let go of your dream. Age is just a number.

I was eager to meet this athlete because I wanted to find out how he was able to do what he was doing and so effortlessly. The first time we spoke he gave me the formula he had been using to win and he said I could use it if I wanted to win any of the road races. He said I would have to train very hard. I thought to myself, what a formula. He won the first year that I competed, but that was his last year in high school. I would train some evenings, but that was not enough to win. As a result I lost the second and third year of competing.

I could have quit and let go of working towards my goal due to me not winning. The losses were the years that helped to develop my determination. The man who achieves is dream is the man who is consistent with his action and believes he can. I became consistent and it paid off.

I won my fourth, fifth and sixth year in the road race competition at high school and my dream of doing what my friend did was now history for me. What next was a question that kept playing in my head? I wanted more and I will not stop until I receive it as I completed high school.

What I wanted most of all was to go to college but I failed miserable in my exams. Doubt set in and for a while I lost focus and the vision of going to college. I said to myself what teachers said to me-that I was not capable.

What are you saying to yourself? Make it be positive things and don’t let anybody dictate or limit your abilities.

What happen when you share you dream with someone who wants to see you achieve more out of life?

I had shared my dream of college with a sports coordinator at my last competition of track and field and what he said to me that day was I can do it, but I must believe. The sport coordinator saw me months later and asked what I was doing on the street and not college.

He asked me about my dream and I stumbled over my words. I wanted to go I said and he gave me his words that he will direct me to a program that will help me when the next year comes around. Never give up he reminded me and from ever since that phrase have been with me. I will never give up plays in my mind whenever I am faced with challenges. I meet a lot of it. I was in college the next year.

I was met with challenges, but I was already equipped with a strong mind that I should not give up.

What are you giving up on?

During college I saw student after student leaving the country on scholarships to the states and every athlete’s dream of getting one including me. I didn’t get one even though I requested one and was recommended several times. Did I give up? NO!

I watched friends leaving to the states and thoughts crept in of not getting a scholarship. For one year I didn’t work so I trained, and sometimes I wondered what I was training for. I wanted a job and out of nowhere an older man of the community saw me and asked when I became a police officer. At the time I wasn’t an officer, but that was enough to peak my interest. I’m a risk taker as my friends pointed out when I told them what my next move was. A month later I joined the national security organization even before telling both my parents knowing that they would not like the idea. I won the cross country run during training school and that was enough to let me know I was on the right path.

I received the scholarship in 2006.

If you failed at first that is not a prerequisite for you to quit. I found out that every time I bounce back I am stronger.

  • Michael Jordon Had a Dream-He didn’t give up
  • Thomas Edison Had a Dream-He never quit
  • Abraham Lincoln Had a Dream-He pressed forward despite adversity
  • Oprah Winfrey Had a Dream-She believed that it was possible
  • Sidney Poitier Had a Dream-He knew that a treasure of possibility was in him
  • J.K. Rowling Had a Dream- She knew what a dream could do
  • Elvis Presley Had a Dream-He proved them wrong by believing in himself

I want you to know that your Dream can come to be. Do you believe in your dream? I hope you do. I want to see you be a success.

Never give up on your dream… because you never know what the Lord can bless you with. ~Kelly Rowland

You just can’t beat the person who won’t give up. ~Babe Ruth

Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful. ~Zig Ziglar

Your Dream Is Possible: Think on these things

  1. You need perseverance.
  2. Be prepared to overcome obstacles. Your dream may be outside of your comfort zone.
  3. Sticking to your dream is always good.
  4. Believing in yourself is important.
  5. All great things come with challenges-greatness is within you.
  6. Your dreams need your effort.
  7. Develop the power to overcome.
  8. You have to push hard for your success.
  9. Remember to stay the course.
  10. People will try to stop you. If it’s your dream, go for it.
  11. Always prepare to grow.
  12. I know you can do it.

My life is better than when I was a child. I now have Greater Dreams, and I know that possibilities are endless on this journey.

Dream Big Dreams!

We all are given an opportunity and that opportunity is life. With life you can become anything you want, so dream big dreams. I hope you keep your vision of success close, and as I plea don’t lose sight of what you would like to accomplish because it’s possible.

climber_mountain

From Richard A. Cross’s “About”/ biography:

Richard A. Cross was born in Alexandria St. Ann, Jamaica in 1982 to parents Phillip Cross and Pauline Joyce Pennant.  The burgeoning motivational speaker has a devotion that has come from years of persistence, dedication and faith.  He always knew he was destined for greatness, but that greatness has taken different forms over the years leading him to his current position on his journey to prominence.

******   ******

Thanks to Richard Cross for his inspirational words! I welcome all comments and insights, and stories about your own Big Dreams! I agree with Richard that when you nurture your dreams and believe in yourself, not letting anyone be a naysayer, anything is possible! – LW

 

On Feeling Alone, by Sharon Rawlette   

Better Endings Story of the Week: On Feeling Alone

by Sharon Rawlette

Memoirist. Essayist. Philosopher.

http://sharonrawlette.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/on-feeling-alone/comment-page-1/#comment-240

ok

 

I don’t care how many friends you have or how many heart-to-heart talks you manage with your loved ones, I think we all have moments when we feel alone. Moments when we’re stuck inside an emotion that we don’t see any possibility of sharing. Or when we’re thinking thoughts we have no way to convey. These are moments when we keenly feel our separateness from others, our isolation in our own heads and hearts. It can be a deeply troubling experience.

I had a moment like this a few weeks ago. I don’t remember what caused it, but I remember sitting on my bed, staring out the window at the desolate winter landscape, and starting to cry as I thought, “I feel so lonely.”

But, unlike other times I’ve felt this way, I found myself mentally replying to this statement in a kind, understanding voice that said, “Of course you do.”

Huh?

“That’s the reality of physical, earthly, biological life,” I continued. ”Separation. You feel deprived of the unity that you feel when you’re in your normal spiritual state. But separation is the reason you came to Earth. To have this experience, so that later you can have the joyful, ecstatic experience of being reunited–entirely and completely–with the ones you love.”

These ideas, I’m sure, came partly from some things I’ve recently been reading: primarily, accounts of near-death experiences. But the application to the question of loneliness seemed new. I didn’t recall reading any discussions of the reasons for loneliness, but when I thought about it, it seemed obvious. The physical world, in which we are each localized to a particular body in space, is inherently a world of separation. In this world, we can’t share our thoughts and feelings with one another directly. Whether we share them through words, or through arts like music or painting, or through the sense of touch, the connection is always mediated by something. Sound waves. Skin. It’s never direct. Never literally heart to heart, or soul to soul.

And yet I’ve often felt a longing for a more direct connection. Something you might call communion. Unity. I’ve wanted to share myself, and share in others’ thoughts and feelings, without having to use words or any other hopelessly inadequate tool. And when I spoke to myself that day in the bedroom, it was like some more knowledgeable part of myself was affirming that desire. Affirming that it was natural. And that it would one day be satisfied.

I’m not interested in arguing for any particular view of spirituality or the nature of the non-physical world. What’s important to me is that a lot of people do feel this loneliness I’m talking about and desire a deeper, more intimate sort of communion with others. It seems to me that, if there is hope in this world, if there is something good and beautiful at the root of all things, then there must be the possibility of that deep communion.

Green leaves

The power of the idea that communion is our natural state and that it’s natural to long for it was evident in its effect on me. As soon as I said these things to myself, I felt worlds better. I had just been crying, but suddenly I leapt from the bed, filled with new energy and ready to get on with life. I realized that, in my loneliness, I’d been worried that something was wrong. That the sense of separation I felt was an indication of failure. And that it might mean I was condemned to this state of isolation forever. But then I had the realization that this sense of separation was part of a plan, and was only temporary. My true state was to be joined, heart and soul, to the other people I love. That state of communion was just being obscured for a little while, in order for me to have this experience of earthly life, with its unique opportunities. It was akin to taking a trip somewhere on your own, just to see what it’s like. You get a little homesick, sure, but you don’t let that worry you, since you know you’ll be back home before long. As soon as I thought of things in these terms, I wasn’t sad any longer.

The truth of spiritual teachings, I believe, is most clearly evidenced by their effects. They are good teachings if they bring about love, hope, and joy: the “fruits of the Spirit.” The fruit of this personal talking-to was great hope and energy. That’s why I’m inclined to believe that it points to something deeply real. That we are not meant to be alone. That moments of loneliness are just that: moments. But our eternal destiny is something much, much more.

Up From the Ashes… A Black Forest Fire Survivor’s Story, by Debra J. Breazzano, MA, LPC

Better Endings readers: We have two brilliant stories to share this week about surviving disasters and hardship. Here is the first, and tomorrow I’ll post the second Story of the Week. Surviving is a process that cannot be forced. Sometimes the Dark–the vital pathway through Descent–is of as much value as the Light it precedes.-L

sacred_space_saved

This is an Inipi (sweat lodge), the symbol of Hope…unbelievable that even the tobacco ties remained unburnt.  You can see where the fire took out all the grass/trees/shrubs in the drainage; as well as the emergency vehicles passing through…but left the Inipi unscorched.- DB

It began like any other ordinary day; and little did I know that only a few short hours  after  looking around in appreciation thinking, “how wonderful it is to be settled here in Black Forest, with our dream home and sanctuary for our wolf, dogs, horses and humans finally completed after 3 years of ongoing effort” that my world as I knew it, would literally go up in flames.  June 11, 2013.  The date forever etched in my mind, launching me and my community into the frightening world of the displaced; remaining unsettled even 6 months later, after Colorado’s most devastating wildfire consumed our neighborhood.  500 properties torched beyond recognition; leaving an aftermath of despair and anguish as we know our beloved Forest will never regenerate to its former beauty of Ponderosa pines during our lifetime. Then, less than 3 months later, my former community of Lyons ravished by unprecedented floods; ironically the safe refuge area my family had sought shelter at during our fire evacuation, now also destroyed.  Fire, flood…but wait, where are the locusts?  Yes, biblical humor to see me through these very challenging times as I walk with determination to rise from the ashes and welcome a future that offers hope.  However, one thing I know for certain: unless you have ever been victimized by catastrophe there is no way to understand the magnitude—and levels of disturbance–even with the most empathetic mindset.   I have survived many dark life tragedies prior, and lost loved ones; but still, could not anticipate the consequences that this summer’s catastrophes would have on my psyche.   It’s not about the house or things that were lost;  it’s the core sense of not being safe or settled on any level regardless of “home is where the heart is” platitudes or faith in God to see us through.  I wish I could fast forward to the time when this is just a memory and the “silver lining” or the ability I have, for example, to now work more effectively as a counselor with others who have experienced such tragedies  as the new reality, but I can’t.  Each day still remains exhausting.  Time hasn’t made it simpler yet.  In fact, it’s even more difficult now than the moment we saw the flames bursting apart the trees on our road as we frantically scrambled to some sense of safety.   I get impatient with my own sense of not managing life as well as “I should.”  Yet, I do know, that day will come when I can look back and appreciate how “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  But for now, I remain “in it”—the emotional roller coaster– 24/7 as we try our best to recover and rebuild.  We all remain as optimistic as we can while hugging onto each other—and to our faith– for support, visualizing as best we can, the new life chapter that will unfold with the mantra:  Out of the Ashes, We will rise.
Biography for Debra J. Breazzano:  Educator and Counselor; Wilderness Instructor and Course Director; Gifted Ed Program Facilitator for Monument, CO high schools; Researcher and Writer; (&Partner with Linda Watts for applying archetypal and therapeutic themes  to the Life Path Mapping Process); Personally:  Enjoying time with my husband, family and friends; riding my horse and working with wolves; having outdoor adventures and multi-cultural experiences; all with the intention of remaining in service to others and to our earth.

Advice and Insights from Mainstreet, by Tell Your Story participants

mano-abstract-5-1113fg-v-567

“Most people feel the system is out of whack. To get into place today, it seems knowing the right people and networking is vital. Competition for jobs is fierce. I would tell people to never give up and never settle. Life is too short to be depressed about an economic crisis.”

******

“It’s all about your attitude. If you have a good attitude, it will take you far; but if you have a bad attitude it will take you just as far the other way. I know, I’ve had bad attitudes within this stretch. I try to keep it positive as much as I can. But you can’t do it all the time.”

******

“My general comment would be for people to not give up. It’s so easy to just sink into depression, but if you just get up every morning and just come determined, and have courage, then it will eventually work out. Just live day by day and have courage.”

******

“One way I try to look at this is, What can I learn? What kind of lessons can I have come from this? What’s good about this? What’s the benefit? Can I look at it from that perspective? Otherwise you’re just gonna be frustrated, be angry. ..And then you’re miserable. I mean, I’m unemployed, but that doesn’t mean I’m miserable.”

******

“When you first get unemployed it has a social pariah attached to it. So people tend to withdraw and not tell anybody, they try to mask the fact that they’re unemployed. But that’s the exact wrong strategy that they should be pursuing. The right course of action is to let everybody you know, know that you’re unemployed because they all understand that. A lot of people are well-meaning and they’ll try to hook you up with jobs that don’t match your qualifications or interests, but they do get the word out.”

******

“I think in a sense that there is a higher power, and that I can look at the bigger picture and this is just a circumstance. This is not who I am, it’s just a circumstance of my life, and separating the two is important because sometimes you start to identify with being unemployed and labeling yourself: you know, ‘I’m unemployed, there’s something wrong with me, the world is against me.’…But if you say, ok, this is a circumstance, this will pass, what can I do to change it… Otherwise, you lose control and you can think…’I’m a victim’, your power’s gone. And when you give up your personal power, then there’s no more options.”

******

“It’s just real. It’s not positive, it’s not negative, it just sort of is. You just have to go with it and keep going.”

These statements are from people who shared their voices for the 2010 -2012 Tell Your Story project in Colorado Springs. Interviewers included Lindsey Raymond, Ivy Tyson, Christopher Hollander, Julie Weinheimer, Matthew Shell, John Palka, Rebecca Cornell, Rebekka Grainer, Sabrina Flugrath, along with 10 additional TYS team researchers.

We Are Not Lazy! Stories of ‘New Hope’ Beyond Unemployment

Employment

This week’s Better Endings principle that we will discuss on Saturday is “Fortitude,” in relation to our weekly topic of Unemployment. The fiery forge of experience that joblessness or underemployment plunges people into can lead to either despair or ‘New Hope’, and often both at the same time. The following voices and brief stories celebrate the adaptive strategies of four people who have told their stories to help others.

Kelly, Age 58, over 5 years un- and underemployed

      “You have to stay positive because it’s going to work out, it really is.”

Kelly is homeless.  She is 58 and has been alternately un- and underemployed for over five years.  Kelly has a part-time job working a few hours a week at a Taco Bell.  However, since in order to afford an apartment Kelly would need a full-time job, she lives at a Salvation Army shelter.

What has helped Kelly to establish ‘new hope’ is her living situation and supportive family ties.  The Salvation Army shelter has a program such that Kelly gives 70% of her weekly Taco Bell paycheck to the shelter staff, who deposit that into a savings account for her. This way, since her room and board are provided for free at the shelter, Kelly has thousands of dollars saved. In return, Kelly volunteers several hours every week at the shelter and she also volunteers at a local history museum. She uses some financial aid to attend classes at a community college.  Kelly says that the Salvation Army shelter empowers her to maintain hope because she can sleep in a clean, healthy place.  She visits her daughter who is in the military, and she provides free childcare for her grandchildren.  Kelly told us that her self-esteem is very high and, despite being ‘homeless’, Kelly is very hopeful and upbeat.  She says, “I don’t know how to explain it, but I know it’s going to be okay.

 Susan, Age 48, over 4 years un- and underemployed

“I was doing a lot for Habitat for Humanity. I really enjoyed doing that. And I started volunteering for my church group. We sell things at Broncos games to raise money…I’ve put a lot of hours into that.”

Susan, 48 and unemployed in the traditional sense for now over 4 years, engaged for her first two years of unemployment working independently with an entrepreneurial, multilevel-marketing program. She relied on collaborative friendship networks and attended conferences to learn about how to sell products and develop subordinate agents. She saw this program as a way that not just herself but a wide network of people could all achieve financial freedom from traditional work and its capricious nature today. Susan was receiving unemployment benefits plus she relied on prior savings to make ends meet for as long as she could. She said she used to dread going to a traditional industry job every day.  Since the time of her Tell Your Story interviews, Susan has drifted away from the multi-marketing scheme; she is now managing rental homes for one of the friends from her spiritual group. She has moved to live with a boyfriend who is also her management business partner. Although their income is still quite low and most of her savings have now been expended, Susan continues to be very active with her volunteer work and she says she is happy to never have to return to an “industry” based, “9 to 5 job”.

Goddrick and Sybil, Ages 52 and 56 over, 6 years un- and underemployed

“And so he’s not sleeping and I’m not sleeping because he’s not sleeping and we’re both angry and frustrated and so everything else bothers you; the kids leaving their socks on the floor and not picking up you know and every little thing is heightened because of that stress and  it’s the money.  It’s just horrible. And it’s like he would do any job. Even if he got like me; an eight dollar an hour job, that would be twenty four hundred dollars a month and it’s like – I was telling him, and I may do this, but the Broadmoor is hiring housekeeping tomorrow and  it’s ten dollars an hour and I’m  like, you know, for as hard as I’m working at 7-11 loading the cooler and standing on my feet doing all this other hard work cleaning, changing the trash outside, maybe I should go because for ten dollars an hour, that’s four hundred dollars more a month  which would really make a difference in our life right now. So if I’m going to be not respected and belittled and the fact that I went to school and got all these degrees and did all these things I thought to prepare myself to have a better life and it’s just gonna be crap anyway, maybe I should just do another job that’s at least gonna pay more because I’m not happy in what I’m doing and so maybe cleaning up somebody else’s pubic hair for two dollars more an hour is what I need to do. And it’s hard, it’s a self-esteem and pride issue and it’s hard.” 

That about says it all, doesn’t it? Sybil and Goddrick have three boys who are active in Boy Scouts, wrestling, and their spiritual group. Goddrick coaches wrestling for one of the boy’s schools and has been a Scouts leader for many years. Since returning to play saxophone for a local band, Goddrick’s focus has returned after many back and forth stints with jobs. He has finally become a regular high school substitute teacher (despite a head injury that has made any work difficult). Most recently, he has discovered a new calling as Santa for a good-sized mall in California.  Meanwhile, Sybil has been able to maintain a series of part-time jobs (now full-time and permanent) that has allowed the family to achieve stability although their accumulated debt remains a constant cloud dodging their forward moving steps. She too relies on her talent as a singer and actress to elevate herself and her family. Both Goddrick and Sybil have strong identities apart from traditional jobs. The whole family works every summer now at a local Renaissance Festival; where Sybil is a primary singing character, Goddrick runs the sound system for the joust, and their boys act as squires for the jousting with one who wears a costume as a 10 foot tall, smiling King!

These stories, to me, make one thing very clear about the un- and underemployed. As they might proclaim collectively, “We Are Not Lazy!

************

Please feel free to share your insights and responses to these stories in the Comments box below. To share YOUR story, please submit it any time!

Sources of ‘New Hope’ with Unemployment

Unemployment

2088-1013-a2130

The image above showing the word UNEMPLOYMENT “between the cracks” or in the margins between torn pages is quite appropriate to the experience of joblessness and underemployment. Unemployment involves a “rite of passage” in the sense of losing an identity and needing to construct or achieve a new one. The transitional ‘passage’ people must undergo with this life crisis event involves what anthropologists or sociologists would call LIMINALITY, which is simply the feeling of being “betwixt and between” (in Victor Turner’s terms): no longer in your original status or role (or, job), but in a sort of limbo zone of adjusting and trying to form a new social identity, and/or obtain a new job.

Today I will list some writing or reflection prompts that can relate to a Better Endings approach to this week’s topic of Unemployment. I do not mean to express any denial regarding the dire situation, frustrations, and anxiety; the ‘down’ side of this difficult passage affecting so many people in the world today. Better Endings as a universal, hopeful principle suggests we can still find or look for silver linings, even in the heaviest of clouds, and this is what we discovered most of the people who shared their unemployment stories with us for the Colorado Springs Tell Your Story project were often able and wanting to do. They told us of their plight and concerns, but many also shared their STRATEGIES for coping, for seeking new positions, and for thriving while outside the workforce. Many pointed out how unfortunate it is that when we first meet someone in today’s urbane society, our introductory query is likely to be, “What do you DO?”; as though what we do to earn an income defines who we ARE as a human being. Many people who are un- or underemployed must learn adaptive and often very creative ways to REDEFINE themselves while they are ‘between and betwixt’ more structured roles in society. So yes, even unemployment can have a positive, fruitful aspect; it can present a time of adjustment that is ripe with possibilities.

The Tell Your Story participants shared the following ideas and strategies as ways they have coped with or adapted to being jobless or underemployed. I invite you to share YOUR story, too, either in the Comments box below, or you can submit your story to share with readers. Or, you might wish to journal, talk about, or actively contemplate one or more of these adaptive ideas. Even if you are NOT un- or underemployed yourself, some of these strategies might still inspire or be of benefit to you. How so?

Some Better Endings Prompts for Unemployment or Underemployment:

  • Redefining yourself
  • Entrepreneurial opportunities
  • Community non-profit support programs
  • Volunteering
  • Returning to or learning new hobbies, arts, musical instruments, sports, or exercise programs
  • Education grants/ retraining programs
  • Living with and providing household services for friends or extended family
  • Workforce center services and programs
  • Social Security Disability qualification
  • Early retirement or pension programs
  • Community Bartering or self-help networks (e.g. Family Independence Initiative; Fixing the Future programs)
  • Shelters & Food banks
  • Creative activities
  • Networking

Unemployment Better Endings

Unemployment

Despair Or Hope Directions On A Signpost

The numbers of unemployed people around the world today is unprecedented in modern Western society. Official joblessness rates are just part of the real statistics. In the US since the 2008 Great Recession, many tens of thousands who lost jobs due to workforce downsizing and outsourcing have never recovered the jobs they were in and they have either had to go back to school for new jobs, often less desirable ones or part-time work, or they have left the workforce altogether so that they no longer show up on the unemployment records.

In 2009-2010, I formed a team of anthropology students to conduct an interview study in Colorado Springs, Colorado that we called the Tell Your Story project. We talked with people at the local workforce center and other people we knew, about their life experiences dealing with unemployment. We were not surprised to hear of much of their frustration and, for too many, despair. We were somewhat surprised to learn, though, that about a third of the people we talked with who had been out of work or underemployed for over a year and a half already had been finding new sources of support and what we came to call ‘New Hope’ even apart from the workplace. Many of these people were reinventing themselves in some very adaptive, meaningful ways. At the same time there were at least an equal number of people who had fallen into hopelessness, and for some of these persons, foreclosure or even  homelessness.

This week, Better Endings is dedicated to those who are still or have been jobless or underemployed. I will post some of what people shared in the Tell Your Story project which they were hoping would be heard by others. Certainly, many unemployed persons would not claim “better endings” as they are struggling day to day to survive and to adapt. Our hearts go out to those who might feel invisible. When we asked people how they felt people in society overall think about those who are unemployed, almost to a person the answer we received was: “That We Are Lazy”. Yet that was far from the truth. Most people we talked with were investing more than full-time hours seeking new jobs, retraining, or working part-time jobs while retooling to re-enter the workplace. And some were developing entrepreneurial approaches, or returning to arts and hobbies.

If you have a story you would like to share on the topic of unemployment or underemployment this week, please do! You can send your insights and stories via the Comments box below or submit your stories to me directly and I will certainly share them. (See the Better Endings Quotes below (bottom panel) all week for some Tell Your Story voices.)

Better Endings to You! – Linda