Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Post written by Monica Gaylor.

All of life can be broken down into moments of transition or moments of revelation. This had the feeling of both. …

The future is all around us, waiting in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation.

No one knows the shape of that future, or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.  –Babylon 5

When I stated in The “Outer” What? that this was a blog about my evolution I had no way of knowing how prophetic those words would be.  It is as if I started down a path and was not moving fast enough so the universe thought it would hurry along the process by placing adversity (or – growth opportunities) in my way.

So – I’m going along, minding my own business, kicking but on my personal goals – when crash, bang, boom, bam!  Wiiiiipe-ooout!  First wipeout was an interpersonal relationship issue – enough said.  One week later was a major professional issue that completely caught me off guard and knocked me on my butt.  To make a long story short – out of the blue, I was asked to defend my job in a field of many others in the same subject area.  For many reasons, I couldn’t do it.  When I really thought about how my industries standards (AZ education) have slipped and skewed and morphed into something unrecognizable from where it began 15 years ago (and in a rather unethical way, in my opinion), I had to conscientiously refuse to participate in the activity.  There were also monetary vs. workload concerns.  Four years ago I made more money teaching to classes sizes of 24, and now I make less money teaching to class sizes of 36 / 37.  I am now doing the work of 1 ½ teachers for less pay than 1 teacher four years ago.  I feel my job has become a joke and I am now just a glorified babysitter.

I have been growing unhappy in my job for years now, as I watch the educational landscape deteriorate into third world standards.  I was already planning my escape, hence the personal goals.  But, when I was faced with fighting for a position and couldn’t bring myself to do it, it really became clear to me how I had been pushing my feelings aside and running on automatic pilot.  Going to my mind-numbing, soul-crushing job everyday and then trying to recuperate in the evenings from the abuses of the “system” had finally caught up with me.  I guess it is time to pay the piper.

Once I had laid out on paper, for my boss, all the reasons I could not participate in the district farce – I was suddenly faced with a situation that was way more inappropriate and unethical and just plain wrong than I had realized.  So – I have been dealing with the mental issues – anger and hurt of the situation, basically in mourning – trying to figure a way to continue on, since I have not been fired (?) nor am I in a position to quit – yet.

It is a tough place to be right now.  And what is even sadder is the reason I stay – high health insurance costs and pre-existing conditions.  Need I say more?  I am trapped by two completely unethical industries.  Yes – I know some of you are saying you could quit, you have choices, but really….?

Lately, I have been hearing some disturbing things that are clues to me that I should get out of my own funk and back in the mix.  Two people thought I had stopped talking to them.  And, another person asked if I had deleted her from my blog email posts because she hadn’t gotten any in a while.

Since I have spent almost three months moping around, I have decided it is time to get back on track, continue on with the plan and personal goals, compartmentalize, and turn lemons into lemonade.

I have been recently reading a lot of Zen and self-help books in order to overcome this slump I have slipped into.  I recently read a wonderful example of Zen thought in an article titled 10 Ways That Zen Fundamentals Can Change a Person’s Life by Kimberlee Ferrell.  It is as follows:

“…there is a large rock in your way. You have three options: run into the rock repeatedly, agonize about the rock being in the way, or find a way around the rock.”

Well, admittedly, I have been engaging in the first two non-Zen options.  Although, in the last 3 weeks I have made great strides in what I hope will be other income stream opportunities.  But, in the meantime, I must try to go over, under, around, or to “transcend” the rock.

I am reading a wonderful book right now called, Zen and the Art of Making a Living.  Laurence G. Boldt writes in a subsection of Act ll: The Game of Life’s Work titled, Enjoy the Game You are Playing:

“The best way to enjoy the career game is to remember that it is one.  We play best when we don’t take the game too seriously.  We take the game too seriously when we make the roles we are playing more important than our reasons for playing them.  We get caught up in defending our positions instead of accomplishing our missions.  Concentrate on your purpose, and you needn’t exaggerate the importance of your role.  You can relax and enjoy the game.”

In another section, he writes:

“Because it is a collective dream, society’s game doesn’t end just because you awaken within it.  What changes is your psychological investment in its winning model and ranking system.  You no longer use these as a guide to your own worth or that of others.  In other words, while in the midst of society’s game, you choose to play your own.”

“Seeing through the game allows you to reclaim your imaginative power.  You are free to use your imagination to create a life born out of the impulses of your creative center.”

“…you put your faith in your creative intuitions and rely on your innate talents and abilities to take you to the life you want to live.  You see your happiness in expressing what you are, not in gaining approval or avoiding its loss.”

All in all, I am proud of myself for not participating in the so called “district farce.”  I did not surrender my integrity.  However, in some ways I feel that showing up every day is a surrender of integrity at the cost of mere survival.  But, I will endeavor to play the game with a less serious approach until a better game comes along.

Even though I have had some severe mental anguish as of late.  I would submit to you still –  that – “the unexamined life is not worth living.” (Socrates)

So, here’s to ushering in a more appealing game.  Cheers.