I had the most unexpectedly delightfully deep conversation with a neighbour on the weekend. We talked on many subjects from the current pandemic to the evolution of consciousness. (Of course, those topics are related.) We talked about how we have the opportunity now, as we always do when the rubber hits the road, to level up.
He said, “Why do we humans always need a crisis before we change?”
Dr Joe Dispenza says we can learn just as well from joy and enthusiasm as we can from pain and suffering but we always seem to wait for the latter. Unhappiness makes us uncomfortable and it’s only discomfort that forces us to take a good hard look at ourselves.
So while I’ve back in lockdown in the quest for more joy…
I have increased Clean Sheet Night to twice a week. I prescribe three times a week if you need it. Only you can judge how often you need to slide into a freshly made bed with crisp, clean sheets. I think I could handle Clean Sheet Night every other night but I’m not excited by the extra washing.
Chocolate. I’m eating chocolate on the daily and can’t seem to stop right now. I have promised myself my diet will be wholly plant-based by the end of the year and lockdown is NO excuse for eating dairy. I will do better. (I’m still donating to the Australian charity ‘Til the Cows come Home. They rehome male calves that are considered ‘waste’ by the dairy industry. I need to stop eating dairy.)
Bike rides and walks with my boy. It’s a rare thing and I’m enJOYing spending time with him. He is a musician and he’s studying Audio Engineering so every now and then I get to listen to some really great music that no one else has ever heard.
Binge watching a show called Continuum. It’s on Prime and I’ve cancelled Prime to get Stan so I’d better get a wriggle on. And I have to watch the entire third season of Afterlife before my Netflix runs out. Oh, what a tangled web we weave…
But I am not writing enough. I am having trouble focussing because on top of lockdown we are trying to run a business. We don’t have the kind of business that you can just close for two weeks. The result would be chaos, lots of unhappy customers, and lots and lots of mould.
The last time I was truly uncomfortable…
I’ve written before about the awful time I had in what I call the Nightmare Job. I had my Dream Job for nearly 8 years, and though it wasn’t perfect, workplaces can be toxic, it’s toxicity wasn’t a patch on the Nightmare Job. I hit rock bottom in that job but weirdly enough I think it saved my life.
To half-quote Dickens, it was the worst of times… I was stressed and confused about what my role actually entailed, and commuting in heavy traffic for 10 hours a week but I was working through stuff. I was aware to some extent, that things had to change.
I’d been going to a therapist because I really wanted to avoid the mistakes I’d made in the Dream Job. I wanted to level up my career, and learn to work well with others. But there I was, still crying on the way home from work.
Then I finally listened to a friend who had been trying to get me to listen to podcasts for forever. That was a turning point. I started listening to lots of different podcasts, ranging from spirituality to historical to Stuff You Should Know. I know exactly where I was when I first heard Michael Singer talking about his book, The Untethered Soul (driving in the rain past Metricon Stadium. I know exactly where I was when I first heard Ken Wilber talking about Integral Theory (at the lights on Ashmore Road.)
I needed to be reminded that the most important things in life are not things. For some reason I had to break down to break out. I kick myself that I had to go through that pain but I am so grateful for it now.
I’ve just started a mini-memoir writing course and the facilitator is encouraging us to look back at the times in our lives when things were tough and investigate the stories we still tell ourselves about those times and by extension, about ourselves.
I remember sitting at my desk in the shared office at the Nightmare Job and after trying to deal with the very unhelpful tech guy for half an hour on the phone. He made a comment about me that wasn’t true and painted me as difficult when I was just trying to do my job. In that moment I realised I had been there before and it was awful but guess what..?
I WAS THE COMMON DENOMINATOR!
Look, the tech guy was sacked a few weeks later for being useless, but it was too late. I was definitely in the wrong place. I am ambitious but I’m also a team player. I built a company for my last boss in the Dream Job by working with my team and leading by example but unfortunately there were issues at management level that I couldn’t stomach any longer.
I still crave working in a team where everyone is playing their part! The problem at the Nightmare Job was I was working with a bunch of sociopaths who resented anyone new coming in, which was awkward in a company that lost half its staff in six months!
Anyway, short story long, I’d told myself all kinds of stories about who I was at work and I’m still unravelling those stories now. But sometimes, before you diagnose yourself with mental illness, make sure you’re not surrounded by psychos.
I wish I knew then what I know now because I may not have left the Dream Job. You can’t change the people around you. You must start with yourself.