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Facing Gratitude

Instead of focussing on the negative, what is not happening to my liking, I have been tasked looking at the everyday things to be grateful about. It is not easy at times to do this, but I am trying. I know that living or talking about the negative is only draining and self defeating. It serves no purpose beyond venting.

So…facing gratitude…

  • A baby was born, a first grandchild to my SO, healthy and loved. The mother was ill but has recovered.
  • I have work every day this week, plus two additional workshops. I had work every day last week: the majority of the week filled with a process drama workshop that I led, that was most satisfying.
  • My daughter graduated with her Bachelors and was on a national honor society listing.
  • My son-in-law also graduated, with his Masters.
  • A friend celebrated his birthday, one who I was afraid we’d lose to cancer a number of years ago, and has remained “clean”.
  • My cousin reached out to me, with concern and a possible lead to someone who might help with the job search.

So…things to feel grateful for, alongside my many friends, my SO, a place to live, food to eat.

Let me concentrate on all that.

gratitude

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Burnout and Disappointments

arnold-1-weary-of-myself-copySo, here we are. A week I’ve been dreading, as I mentioned on Sunday (which was Mother’s Day). It’s now mid-week, and the presence of this coming Friday looms over me. As I’ve mentioned previously, this May 17th would have been my mother’s 87th birthday. It’s a sad week, not as horrible as I thought in those regards…

but…

Today I had a mid morning break. I sat in the school library, trolling the internet for work to apply to. A teacher was already at one of the computers when another came in. Instantly, their conversation was solely on recent deaths in both families. There was nothing for me to do but log off as fast as I could and bolt from the room. I was propelled down the hallway, looking for some refuge. It just came out of nowhere, and the feelings just caved in my head a bit.

Just not what I was expecting. School is full of life; all the little ones just bouncing off the wall. Being aware that it is all about them, their safety and well being, was a saving grace.

Let’s just say I’m not looking forward to Friday.

As to disappointments…I have, since Sunday, received about six rejections from jobs (not even an interview, just that my credentials do not meet what they are looking for). Today, I got a call from a job for the summer (and possibly beyond) that I had high hopes for: they did offer me the job, but only 12 hours a week at $25/hour. Yes, it’s better than nothing, but I have another offer that at least will give me more of a weekly wage during the summer.

So, others would say (and I know who they are) that I should be happy that I did well on the interviews I’ve had and have gotten offers. So many others don’t even get to the interview stage. I get that…it’s just I see a dangling rope in front of me, and while I may grab it, it ultimately is not strong enough to pull me out of the dregs I’m in. Enough metaphor?

I did get a one week residency that will help my June out, so that is a good thing. When saying my prayers, I asked God for some break…this definitely came out of no where and is most welcome. So…thank you, God.

I am weary, God; please renew my spirit. When I despair, fill me with hope. When I feel as if I have no more to give, remind me that my strength comes from You. When I assume that my energy is finite, teach me to see that I am connected to an infinite source of inspiration and goodness.

When I lose faith in myself, remind me that I am blessed with enormous talent and ability. When I get lazy, remind me that there is much work to be done and that there are many people who need my assistance. Teach me to see that my efforts do make a difference.

When I forget why I am doing what I am doing, help me to recover the excitement, the meaning, and the satisfaction that led me to this work. When I lose direction, show me the way, God, back to passion, back to enthusiasm, back to You. Amen.”

~from Talking to God by Naomi Levy (c)

Moving Forward, or Moving On?

moveThere is so much to consider when you are struggling to find a full time job. First is: what do you really want to do? Then comes qualifications, experience, training, etc. Then, what else can you do? What are you willing to do to make not just ends meet but to thrive, even a little bit? Is what you want &/or can do available in your area? Is it time to move on? How long do you persevere when you are not getting an offer?

All of these questions pepper my thoughts on a daily basis.

Where the American system is failing is in education and re-training. With so many adults out of work, or dealing with multiple part time jobs, companies are not looking for people to “think outside of the box” as much as they used to. I’ve been told this by job help specialists. Yet, in many cases, if you don’t push the boundaries, then what options are left open?

If a field is deleting your type of job, you’ve got hundreds if not thousands (depending on the area you live) that are searching for the same job. What makes YOU stand out from all the rest?

I’ve been “one of two” or “one of the top” candidates for way too many jobs I’ve applied to. Without an actual offer of the position, that is hollow. It’s easy for people who work already to see the other side of it, the positive that you made it that far. Without that steady income and benefits: not so much.

So…what do you do?

 

Day 42 – Malchut of Yesod: Nobility in Bonding

Bonding must enhance a person’s sovereignty. It should nurture and strengthen your own dignity and the dignity of the one you bond with. Does my bonding inhibit the expression of my personality and qualities? Does it overwhelm the one I bond with?

Exercise for the day: Emphasize and highlight the strengths of the one with whom you bond.
Excerpt from The Spiritual Guide to Counting the Omer, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2013. All rights reserved. www.meaningfullife.com.

Tomorrow’s Hope

I don’t understand blind faith. I wasn’t brought up that way. I lived in a house that was haunted by my parent’s pasts, as we all were. My father, a concentration camp survivor, and my mother, a child of the Great Depression. Both brought their own set of outlooks on life, neither the peppiest nor the most joyful. At times, yes, there was pep, joy, laughter in the house. Religion only entered our lives at holiday times and when I was being prepped for my Bar Mitzvah.

Meaning, though, escaped what I experienced. Faith in anything? Never even broached.

Being surrounded by so many near and dear to me who have faith, who hold to a religious belief or calling, has stirred me to delve into what I’ve only skirted around for a very long time. Nothing is an easy fix in this regards: it’s a long road to understanding in the first place, acceptance and embracing in the distance. Some of it comes close at times. I don’t know if I’m fighting it or not: I just know I’m not there.

“Be with me, God. I feel so lost. I can’t seem to escape the dark cloud that hangs over me. Help me, God. Give me strength to combat despair and fear. Show me how to put my pain into perspective. Teach me to have faith in the new day that is coming.

Thank you, God, for today’s blessings, for tomorrow’s hope, and for Your abiding love. Amen.”

~from Talking to God by Naomi Levy (c)

This has been a rough half a year+ for me, and I know I am doing what I can to put myself back on track. I have loved ones to thank for a good part of where I’ve gotten to now. I know that the rest is up to me.

nevergiveup-2

Day 37 – Gevurah of Yesod: Discipline of Bonding

Bonding must be done with discretion and careful consideration with whom and with what you bond. Even the healthiest and closest bonding needs “time out”, a respect for each individual’s space. Do I overbond? Am I too dependent on the one I bond with? Is he too dependent on me? Do I bond out of desperation? Do I bond with healthy, wholesome people?

Exercise for the day: Review the discipline in your bonding experiences to see if it needs adjustment.

Excerpt from The Spiritual Guide to Counting the Omer, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2013. All rights reserved. www.meaningfullife.com.

Keep Plugging Away

Metropolis-metropolis-1927-15539876-1641-1152I’ve said to my students, often, that the only real failure is in not trying, not doing anything. I have felt like giving up, as the frustrations (and fear and anxiety) build: not finding a job has taken on its own life, a burden that drags me down way too much.

A dear friend of mine has said that she wishes I could see myself as she, and those who care about me, do. That is really not the problem right now: I really need someone who is interviewing me to see whatI am capable of accomplishing for them. I would love to lift this weight off of my shoulders and move on to whatever tasks are ahead of me in life, not struggle in this rut that I find myself in.

I couldn’t even write anything the last couple of days. I’m starting to find my focus waning again, and I can’t allow that to happen. So…I have to keep plugging along, I have to keep on trying. I can’t afford to give up, nor do I want to.

What I would love to have happen is to have the freedom to unsubscribe from all the job posting alerts I get, as I would not need them anymore. I would love to be able to have the basic gripes and complaints most people have when the montly bills come in, the basic day to day of working, coming home to a safe and comfortable haven, and be able to enjoy time with loved ones.

In the meantime, I have to keep plugging away.

Day 36 – Chesed of Yesod: Lovingkindness of Bonding
Love is the heart of bonding. You cannot bond without love. Love establishes a reliable base on which bonding can build. If you have a problem bonding, examine how much you love the one (or the experience) with which you wish to bond. Do I try to bond without first fostering a loving attitude? Is my bonding expressed in a loving manner?
Exercise for the day: Demonstrate the bond you have with your child or friend through an act of love.

Excerpt from The Spiritual Guide to Counting the Omer, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2013. All rights reserved. www.meaningfullife.com.

Feeling Less Than

Day 31 -Tiferet of Hod: Compassion in Humility
Examine if your humility is compassionate. Does my humility cause me to be self-contained and anti-social or does it express itself in empathy for others. Is my humility balanced and beautiful? Or is it awkward? Just as humility brings compassion, compassion can lead one to humility. If you lack humility, try acting compassionately, which can help bring you to humility.
Exercise for the day: Express a humble feeling in an act of compassion.

Excerpt from The Spiritual Guide to Counting the Omer, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2013. All rights reserved

cslewisIt has not been the best of weeks in how I’m feeling. Even with interviews happening, I still have nothing concrete, and that is unsettling. An interview I had high hopes for I have the gut feeling I will not be called back for the next part of the process. That is upsetting: I know I did the best I could, and while some will say that is all you can do, they may not be in the situation I find myself in.

Yes, this is a recurring theme for me on this blog and what I talk about with my friends. I wish I could do the attitude adjustment I so desperetly need to get through all this. People see strength in me that I just don’t really feel all the time.

So…in this space…

Dear God, please let me find my head above these dark clouds.

There are others who I have that prayer for as well.

I’m also trying to wrap my head around the concept of compassion & humility as expressed above. Today may not be that day that it happens.

Don’t Dream It’s Over

desertwalkTwo blogs/online friends got me thinking this morning. Thinking is a good thing, I think: it means I’m not just rolling around in the negative dross that sometimes clutters my head. Doug, whose blog has the sub title “Writing through the desert on a blog with no name“, explained to the unenlightened the pop culture reference he was making. That started me off, as I went to a song that I have liked for a long time, which is the title of this blog post, a song by Crowded House. I looked it up on YouTube, and really listened to the lyrics, finding it fit how I’m feeling right now.

Then I read What Holds You Back? by Lisa Kramer on her blog Woman Wielding Words.

There are two things, in my mind, that hold me back: one is myself, who puts road blocks in my own path at times; the second thing are those in front of us who use the word “NO” with such a strong conviction.

As I’m waiting for an important interview to happen (already scheduled, eleven days away and patiently counting), I can’t allow any naysayer to get in my path, I can’t allow any thought that “…it’s over” cross my mind.

It does feel good to get out of the rain.

(for those who won’t click on the video above, here are the lyrics:)

There is freedom within, there is freedom without
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
There’s a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But you’ll never see the end of the road
While you’re traveling with me

Hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now, when the world comes in
They come, they come to build a wall between us
We know they won’t win
Now I’m towing my car, there’s a hole in the roof

My possessions are causing me suspicion but there’s no proof
In the paper today tales of war and of waste
But you turn right over to the T.V. page

Hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now, when the world comes in
They come, they come to build a wall between us
We know they won’t win

Now I’m walking again to the beat of a drum
And I’m counting the steps to the door of your heart
Only the shadows ahead barely clearing the roof
Get to know the feeling of liberation and relief

Hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now, when the world comes in
They come, they come to build a wall between us
We know they won’t win

Don’t let them win
Hey now, hey now
Hey now
Hey now, hey now
Don’t let them win
Hey now, hey now
Don’t let them win
Hey now, hey now

“I don’t know your connection to God…”

all-students-literacy-2I ran a Literacy Games & Activities workshop today. It was, in my opinion, uneven in what I presented, in that the parents expected something that I was not prepared for: getting their kids ready for the state tests. It’s not how or why I teach: teaching to a test is, to me, what is wrong with education today. There is an entire process that needs to be developed, and working on that product (which is what a test ultimately is) goes against my grain.

So, I applied what I could to the various age range in front of me (preK through 5th graders), and for some of the adults who did not speak any English. At times, I was sweating bullets, seeing that what I was doing was not working properly. I had to spin gears immediately and “make lemonade out of the lemons” that I was producing. In the end, I know I did the best I could. People came late (very late, in some cases), some kept going in and out of the session, new ones arrived, and yet…it worked, for the most part. Part two of the workshops happens next Saturday, and I’ll (hopefully) be better prepared.

Now, to the title of this piece…

One of the mothers stayed at the end while I was packing up. She told me not only how much she got out of the session for her kids, but also what a great teacher I am, and that I should be picked up by some school, as she greatly appreciated the way I worked with these kids. “I don’t know your connection to God,” she said, “but I am going to pray that a school takes you on.” She went on to say how they need teachers like me, in the way that I interacted, how I brought things out in the kids without pushing or needling, how I brought a safe environment to learn.

This, of course, put me in my “aw, shucks” mode. Praise like this is humbling.

I hope to live up to these expectations, and I hope that God is listening to her prayers, and mine, and my friends. I know I should be doing something in my discipline, my passion, so that  I can shine through and give to others.

I sometimes don’t know what my connection to God is myself. Sometimes? Most times. It’s not for lack of trying. I’m surrounded by so many good people, and at times, for me, that is what I see as my connection to God.

For me, it’s a start.

Waiting…

colourful-quotes-waiting-Favim.com-360085Waiting for people to get back to you tries my patience.

I am waiting to hear back from four different job possibilities (one from an interview; three others to do screenings) and it just drives me bonkers. I know my son is waiting to hear back from his Friday in NYC interview from a job he really wants. I’m not calling him/contacting him simply because he, also, is on pins and needles. My friend Kim is waiting to hear back from two different potential positions; Richard waited almost three months (I think) to land a pretty big consulting gig…the list goes on.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I don’t like platitudes. I’m not one for “well, a better (something) is waiting for you down the road”, no matter how good the intention of the person. For me, looking for full time work since 2010….yeah, I’ve had it with waiting. I need, and deserve, to use my talents and skills, which I have many of, and I need to use them in the now.

I know that I am doing just about all I can. In this job market, and with my age, it makes finding jobs harder. I feel the need/push to create something again, and maybe that is what this is all about, because I’ve been fighting that need. My indecision, and fear, is holding me back, and I’m not sure what is the band-aid and what is the right direction.

I’ve heard “Let go and let God” from some; I wrestle with that concept, not willingly fighting it, just having trouble grasping the whole premise. I know that I wasn’t even looking for a relationship when I discovered one. The duality of waiting and being proactive war inside of me.

Make love, not war.

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

A day later…

I find I’m of such mixed emotions, feelings in regards to learning more patience, accepting what is before me. Instead of tearing apart what I wrote above, I’m letting it be, as I try to figure out how to really deal with what is going on. One of the key things that helps is the support I get from loved ones. As always, thanks should be given to them for what they do for me. I know many say, or feel,  I should thank God as well. That is my work in progress.

It seems that that is an ongoing thing; from my perspective, it is what doing the prayers is about. It’s not only when times are tough/horrible, but the every day. I need to remember that.

Needing That Job Recognition

“I really want this job, God; I need this job. Help me, God. Teach me to believe in myself, to see that I am qualified for this position. Calm my fears, God; soothe my nerves. Let me enter this interview with assurance and confidence. Let me speak my mind; let my thoughts flow freely.

Remind me not only to talk but to listen. Show me how to impress without seeming pompous, how to be agreeable without seeming ingratiating, how to be enthusiastic without seeming desperate.

Be with me, God; fill me with strength and faith and light. Let me shine today, God. Amen.”   ~from Talking to God, by Naomi Levy (c)

musicians-looking-for-work

I’ve written out the prayer above for a number of people:

My son came into NYC for an interview: they flew him in after already having an online first interview. He was told that he did well by the people he saw on this trip. If he got the offer it would be great on many levels: for his overall job satisfaction; taking care of a number of financial  hassles; and their moving into the area, being closer (right now they are a 7+ hour drive away). 

I am sending out prayers and wishes for Rich, Jay, Kim, and Sam as they continue/begin their search for new work, ones that are fulfilling and offer them the peace of mind that they deserve. It is hard to look for something new during these times, but when you have to, you have to. *I feel like I am forgetting someone in this, and if so…let this extend to you as well.

As to me, I’ve had another interview, and two calls of interest. The two calls are in my discipline (theater), with the other at least meeting a love I have (of books) in a job I had done part-time before. Making it full time would not be the worst thing in the world.

I just want to not have to worry about paying bills. I’d like something steady, which I never thought I’d say. I thrived, for years, on working piece meal, cobbling an artistic life through performances, workshops, residencies, and the odd part time job. It kept me busy, solvent, and was always challenging. What I’m doing now just isn’t. So…that prayer above:

I do know I’m qualified for the jobs: it is just all the rest. Making sure I do my best on an interview, presenting what I can do in a way that says “you need me on your team!” I’ve been in the top two or three for a number of jobs over the last 8 months: I’m tired of being the also-ran.

It’s time I was the “chosen one.”

If you are looking for a job, I hope this helps you. If you know someone who is desperately seeking, please share it with them if you feel they will benefit from it.