Facing and then experiencing a layoff is major life changer.
The feelings of loss, disappointment and shame may be overwhelming at times. The following heart practices, accompanied by regular meditation practice, are indispensable ways I grapple with my mind during a challenging time.
I am a multi-faced person and view major life shifts as an opportunity to try something new. I give myself space to work on these practices in tandem or separately at times. Be creative, ad-lib, use what works for you and toss out the practices that do not speak to you.
Non-Action is still action.
For example, one of the greatest challenges when faced with a layoff is space, pure unadulterated free-time. I relax into nothingness. Time with copious amounts of space presents great teachings and nurtures growth.
Whenever I experience a gap or lull in work, I allow myself to truly be with whatever I am doing throughout the day. In an era of multi-tasking and over-scheduling, I relish the time to myself. I welcome the time into my home like an old friend I have not seen in years. I make some tea and enjoy myself.
Sometimes what I fear the most is actually of most benefit. I use this time to contemplate gratitude and dream. I am mindful of the company I keep during this incubation time and circle myself with friends and loved ones who can be supportive in a way that builds me up and further encourages me.
Happiness is not tied to an event, it is part of who I am.
When faced with a major let down, I practice taking a small step back and looking at the big picture. Visualize the vast horizon as the sun rises shedding light on a fresh moment. Rain, clouds or fog, the sun still shines above.
I contemplate my happiness, and acknowledge that I am having a rough time at this particular moment on this particular day. The moments are not necessarily linked together and because I might feel disappointed now, it does not mean I will continue to be disappointed in the future.
Regardless of my life situation, I make the choice to follow happiness. Moment to moment, I might find myself asking the following question: Which emotion do I choose to feed? I feed the happy one.
This could be your mantra.
Contemplate the goodness in my life.
It may seem easy to let the difficult times take over. When it seems like too much, I remember to contemplate all the other circumstances that have worked out in my life. I continue this practice by writing about the good things in a journal, or telling a close friend what gets me pumped up about being me.
Every choice, detour, success and failure have all lead me to this current place. Manifest joy and express gratitude for the freshness that obstacles provide, seeing them as opportunities to wake up to all that surrounds you. I use the time for self-discovery to re-envision a future that nourishes me and supports a lifestyle with joy.
Changes in my life have helped to further awaken my true potential. Experiencing a loss reminds me to focus on practices that manifest inner wealth. Practice by focusing on all the non-monetary gifts that surround you, e.g., your unwavering passion for a certain philanthropic cause, a partner’s unconditional love, the way the dog greats you with enthusiasm every time, etc. I focus on what I personally have to offer others irrespective of the titles that might have once defined me. What is my real gift to others? I
incorporate the following contemplation into my meditation practice: The world provides for me, I have everything I need right now.
I drop the negative self talk.
What story am I telling myself? I ask myself, “Does that story serve me?” If the story drags me down, then I stop. Period. A story that does not serve me goes something like this: “I was laid off in this field, I must not be good at that, therefore I will never work in that field again.”
Maybe I do want to return to my field, and a layoff has nothing to do with my ability to achieve success in any arena. Most importantly, I have to believe that last statement. In many cases, the only one standing between me and my dreams is myself. This is an opportunity to challenge the story I tell myself. Write a new narrative. Whenever the story starts again, I practice interrupting the story, maybe I mentally say, “nope.”
I might cut the story by saying, “that’s not true,” or, “that is an event that happened in my life and I choose to move on.”
Make a mantra to help you ground yourself.
Shake it out. Literally.
With today’s job market and the woes of the electronic employment application process, the reality is that you may receive hundreds of rejections before landing another job. The ultimate practice is not letting the process get us down. Thwart the energetic headiness by exercising or moving the body. Before I check e-mails, I shift my posture, I lean back or tilt one shoulder back, open the e-mail and visualize any news breezing past me. It is okay to feel the pain or feel let down, I do not let it take me away though. I do not take it personally. Shake your shoulders, wiggle your finger tips, go for a walk, and sit back down fresh at the computer ready to apply for more opportunities. I keep my eyes on the horizon looking for new possibilities.
Author: Jacquelyn Renée Schneider
Editor: Travis May
Image: Flickr/Balint Foldesi