While solo dancing in my kitchen, confident and cool and so content with all the great things about to happen in my life, I waited for a pot of lentils to finish simmering on the stove top and the kale and spinach to wilt in the pan beside it.
I smiled to myself, thinking that before long, I’d be offered a job paying nearly double what I make now—all my financial woes would be gone and I’d be on the path to having my student loans paid off by age 30. Success and sweet, sweet freedom…
As my mukluks carried my spinning body across the linoleum floor, my phone vibrated. I glanced, assuming it was just another pleading pre-Christmas email beseeching me to purchase half-priced presents from an online store halfway across the country.
Nope. Not that. It was…an email from someone I had just interviewed with. All I could see in the notification bar was “I would like to thank you for taking the time…”
Heart. Dropped. “…taking the time” is never a good signI hurriedly opened the email, only to find out the job I had locked down in my head only days before was no longer an option. They’d offered the position to someone else. I collapsed on the floor in front of the oven. I was in disbelief. What?! That’s just…what?! I wasn’t prepared for this. Not getting the job wasn’t a possibility in my mind. I’d banked on this.
As tears slowly dripped from my eyes and onto my cheeks and neck, the greens started to sizzle and burn in the pan. “This was not supposed to happen” I thought. But there it was. Black on white, pixel on pixel, “…thank you for taking the time…” I let myself cry; I was going to be late for work and those lentils weren’t going to be eaten.
But this girl, this confident and cool and so content girl, needed a moment to cry…
During the past several weeks I’ve been taking a mantra and meditation class at my yoga school. Numerous times, I’ve heard the phrase “Think of what you want, then let it go.” I’ve learned it’s best not to get attached to outcomes, but rather to understand the significance or motivation behind what it is we want and ask for that instead.
For instance, instead of saying “I want X job” we should think about the whole truth of why we want X job. What will X job bring into our lives? What are our motivations for wanting X job? We may realize the job itself isn’t the goal, but rather the goal is having more money to pay for something, or to build our skills in an area, or to simply get closer to a career we truly desire.
For the job I thought I really wanted, the core motivation was that I really hoped to be financially free. Soon. The job itself was of less importance in this particular circumstance. I needed to say “I want to be financially free,” instead of “I want X job.” Manifestation works with the bigger picture, not particularly with the details.
I have learned how to live on little and I know there’s more to life than working solely for a paycheck. In my heart I know, for me, I can do much greater things for this world if I’m not bound by “having” to work. I have a student loan that will plague my indefinite future (currently I’m guessing for at least seven or so years if I continue paying my current amount) and because I’m not one to completely disregard my obligations and societal responsibilities, I know that I will continue finding ways to pay this off until it’s gone.
So, my heart was a bit broken to find out I didn’t get the job (despite being fully qualified, per the follow-up-feedback email I received—tip to all those millennial and young professionals reading this—always follow up after getting turned down. Ask for feedback! If they provide reasons you can build, grow and better prepare for something else and if they don’t you’re no worse off than before.).
In my head, I was a bit confused. I didn’t understand why the Universe would present me with a perfectly good opportunity that would help me become financially free pretty quickly, only to have it not turn out as I thought it should. What!? I provided great clips, I am fully qualified, and I had the best, couldn’t-have-been-better interview, but you don’t want me to work there?
Hey, Universe, this isn’t working for me…c’mon…
And then I realized, wait a second, who am I to say that job didn’t “work out”? Oh, so I didn’t immediately get hired? Which means that I don’t have to leave a city that I love and a job that I like to work in a city I don’t really love doing something that may only fulfill me a little bit, to get a bigger paycheck that in my heart I know doesn’t matter all that much?
OK, Universe…I see what you did there…you made me grateful for everything I currently have. You made me actually kind of grateful it didn’t “work out” like I thought it would.
Points for you, Universe. You win.
Then, after I put back on my cloak of gratitude (Rumi was really such a genius), I started thinking about what else this event was teaching me.
Patience: What is it that I want? I want to be financially free. I know in my heart I am not destined to be bound by money. But, I do know for whatever reason, I am bound a bit now and that for whatever reason, it’s probably a good thing. Gandhi said, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” So, I can wait. I have to wait. And that’s OK. I have patience that in time, when the time is right, I’ll be free from debt.
Trust: Who runs this place, anyway? Yeah…it’s not me. It’s not you. It’s someone or something greater than any of us can conceive of and it’s someone or something who knows what to do. It’s not my will that’s going to make things happen. I’m done trying to think I know what’s best, trying to plan my life away. I’ve given in to forces bigger than myself and I trust that everything—good, bad, beautiful, painful, exciting, dull—is making my life more complex and as perfect as it should be.
And, because this particular job didn’t seal my fate for the indefinite future, the unknown is still an option. And who is to say this “setback” wasn’t really a trail marker leading me to somewhere amazing. An amazing door to opportunity just around the bend.
Walking the talk: What do I hope to accomplish in my life? I want to inspire people to live happier, positive lives while living the happiest, most positive life I can! I try to provide ideas for how we can do this, emphasizing acceptance and compassion and fun and bravery.
Well, if I’m not living my advice, I’m a phony. I have to heed my own advice and just let it be. Everything that is, is just fine. Each situation we find ourselves in is an opportunity to learn a lesson and to spread knowledge and joy! No wasting any more moments feeling unnecessarily sad. Enough. I choose bliss.
After I gave myself a few minutes to cry on that kitchen floor and release the excitement and attachment I’d built up around the job, I came to some pretty powerful revelations and had to text my best friend the news.
“Sooo I’m being taught a lesson in patience, trust, and walking the talk. They went with someone else.” I wrote.
Her response? “Well that’s a bummer. I wonder what’s coming down the pipe for you now :)”
What perfect, honest, real, useful thoughts.
1)Tough shit, little girl.
2) Chin up and get excited for what’s next!
So, here I am again. Happy, grateful and with more possibilities than I thought I had just days ago. No worries. No complaints.
Life. Is. Good.
Thanks, Universe, for not giving me the job—you’re the best.
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Editorial Assistant: Andrea Charpentier/Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photos: Author’s Own & elephant journal archives