Old Man: “You don’t fear death, and you think this makes you strong. It doesn’t. It makes you weak. Fear is your soul’s strongest message.” Wayne: “I do fear death. I fear dying in here.” Old Man: “Then make the climb.” Wayne: “How?” Old Man: “Like the child did . . . without the rope.” –an imprisoned old man telling Bruce Wayne/Batman how to escape from an underground prison through a well leading upward, minus the support of a rope as a young child once did in “The Dark Knight Rises”
Conventional wisdom says not to leave a job until another one has been procured. I swear I don’t do these things just to buck the “system,” but I did in fact leave a job on February 27th of this year without another one lined up. And I told very few people I was going to do so expressly to avoid hearing “you’re nuts” repeatedly. In my gut I knew that somehow everything was unfolding perfectly, not per a “plan,” per se, but in a way that’s a bit difficult to articulate, although I’ll try.
I don’t generally believe in a concrete plan for people in general, but I do believe in a sort of “script” that gets modified by the choices we make. It accounts for that feeling of “deja vu” sometimes, or meeting someone for the first time and feeling like you’ve known them forever – because you just may have. Anyway, as best as I can express it, everything has been falling into place, or as a friend of mine stated a few years back during a particularly fertile period of his life, “it’s raining diamonds.” It was in early January that I began plotting to leave my job, but not until I actually gave my notice that the tumblers began to click. A few days after giving my notice (and beginning to sweat a little), I found out that my tax return was going to allow to me to stay unemployed for a while. For a lot longer that I thought I could, in fact. During the ensuing days and weeks. there have been very few times when I’ve been anywhere near a panic mode, worrying if anything is ever going to show up for a job. I’m with several temp agencies, have filled out many applications on line, but have done so in a relaxed fashion. I have no doubt that everything is not going to be ok, but it already is ok. I know it sounds remarkably trite, but the more often I’m in the here and now, the more the miraculous seems to show itself to me.
I’m very convinced that the only way I was going to fall into a long period of grace was to literally jump off a cliff and leave everything behind. The first card in a Rider Waite (and many other) tarot deck is The Fool. In most decks, it depicts a man with a silly smile on his face . . . and with one foot stepping off of a cliff. What he hasn’t noticed yet is that there’s a net at the very bottom of the cliff. When this card shows up in readings it’s often indicative of a new beginning. That image presented itself often to me just before I left my job. The new has no space to show itself until the new has been let go of. Which brings about a pet peeve of mine: how does one “let go?” I finally figured out after many years that it’s basically focusing on something else other than or greater than the problem. Without going into any depth, the basic I’m talking about is taking a deep breath and becoming the observer of everything in my life. I am a member in good standing of 12 step groups. It also took my a while to learn that I cannot practice any of these steps tomorrow. Or yesterday. I can’t even practice them effectively in an hour. But for example, if I practice being entirely willing to have Something Else in place of everything that has vexed me up to that point, I only have to practice that attitude for one second. In fact, that’s all I can do. And then the next second. And the next. I defy anybody to take a deep breath and focus on their body and tell me simultaneously what problems they have. The worst that will happen is the the problem will still be in the person’s mind: but from an entirely different perspective. I’m not going to pretend it’s been a piece of cake. I’m still in process of asking help forgiving people and situations over and over and over again, but the fact remains that after a couple of months of practicing this, miracles have started to happen.
During one of my very brief panic modes I jokingly referred to living on the street to which my sister replied “Don’t worry about it ‘Bro. You can stay here with me.” A very nice offer from a family member that I guess seems pretty normal. The difference here is that a year ago at this time my sister and I weren’t even communicating. This past Sunday my nephew asked me to play in his wedding coming up this June. Not only have we not spoken in years, my behavior toward him during my drinking years was pretty sordid to say the least. Apparently all is forgiven. So one of the bi-products of jumping off a ledge is that somebody added water to my life and grew me a family. Yes another net that mysteriously appeared, seemingly out of nowhere.
I have been cautioned on a couple of counts during my job search: one, don’t accept any low-paying work that I’ll regret having accepted a month or two down the road. Translation – only accept what you’re worth. Secondly, be sincere in answering the question “why do you want to work here?” So far I’ve only answered that enthusiastically once and didn’t get the job. So be it.
Imagine having something going crappy on any given day and not doing anything to counter it mentally or spiritually. Then the next day something else happens and again I’m dormant. Now I have two things to contend with. Then the next day a third thing gets caked on and I’m off to the races with a nasty habit of not taking care of myself internally. Now imagine letting that habit continue for two years. That’s the hole I left myself in. All of it started due to a single incident that happened in a moment when I was feeling unworthy. We all put obstacles in front of the Dvine because we think we’re unworthy. The word for that is “insanity.” It’s also the human norm.
In retrospect it’s quite obvious to me that reaching a breaking point at my job and feeling frustrated and angry beyond belief had infinite purpose I was only able to surface skim the meaning of two months ago. Yes, I needed to get out of there and find new employment. It was much more about scooping out entire layers of false garbage about myself. When Michaelangelo was asked how he came about sculpting his David, he said “It was easy: I just chipped away at everything David was not.” Even after so many years of recovery I forget sometimes that there’s layers and layers and layers of crap to unearth,and every now and then one of the layers is bigger than a mountain – – and I need to ask for help! So far, I couldn’t ask for more.
I’ve reached a point where I’ve occasionally painted disaster fantasies all the way to being homeless. I’m quite surprised at how unruffled that thought makes me. I know that even that would have a purpose. If often think of a scene in The Ten Commandments when Sephora is warning Moses/Charlton Heston not to go back to Egypt because he’ll be immediately murdered and Heston (who apparently hadn’t become head of the NRA yet because he didn’t say “Over my dead body.”) just says simply, “If it be (His) will. More often than not I’m ok with anything that happens on any given day, save for lapses into to an old grudge here and there. I am in fact a work in progress.
I have never felt so cared for in my entire life. There is a presence that I’m feeling most of the time that somehow feels incomplete unless I find a way to share it. I feel excited most mornings because I can’t wait to see what surprises will happen, or who I’ll meet or get to talk to. Magic events seem to happen for me every day, and I’m once again remembering through experience that miracles are normal – it’s when they don’t happen that something has gone wrong. I am not financially wealthy this second, but I feel a wealth growing consistently that is far more valuable than money. I’ve yet to find full-time employment, and I still have not doubt that everything will work out exactly as it supposed to and when it’s supposed to. I sure am not encouraging everyone to quit their job without another in sight. But I do know for sure that I needed to make the climb this time without the rope. Like the child did.