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Good People Everywhere

May 8, 2013

sunlight vase 2

I haven’t been blogging much, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been trying. Each time over the last few weeks that I’ve started to write a post—something about yoga, or teaching, or meditation, or writing a novel—I give up after a few paragraphs. Everything I’ve been trying to say sounds too preachy, not quite right. It wasn’t until today that I realized the problem with all my drafts is that they’re covering up the real issue I want to write about and work through.

I haven’t been totally honest with myself about how much the loss of my job in February affected me. Don’t get me wrong—I strongly believe I’m in a good place now, and I’m finally focusing on my writing in a significant way. (I’m on the second draft of my novel! Hooray!) I no longer wake up in the morning and head to work with knots in my stomach about what tension the day might hold. And I have faith that positive things will come from this transition in my life.

Still, it hurts that I was let go. I wasn’t working for some big corporation, where I might expect a level of soullessness for the sake of profit margins and ego. I was working at a place with a spiritual mission, and I thought I was among friends. Being targeted and told to leave because I had a reasonable concern was harsh and violent. I know now that there were probably a lot of negative things being said about me behind my back that I wasn’t aware of, even though I tried so hard to communicate face to face. I acted with integrity and trust and kindness, and the response was darkness, hostility, dishonesty. Those are actions from which I won’t heal easily.

I still believe in kindness, though, in compassion, in peace. In fact, I believe in them now more than ever. I know that when a person tries to hurt someone else, it’s because he or she is already hurting. Aggression often comes from fear. And all of us have to make the choice about whether we let fear be our guide, or faith. Choosing faith and love showed me I’ll never get the short end of the stick. What will always remain, in the face of whatever consequences, is my integrity and my dignity. Nothing is more important than that.

In the past months, as I work on my novel and take on small side projects that help nourish me, I’m working through the next big phase of my life. I’m practicing patience and mindfulness, surrender instead of the need to control. I’m paying particular attention to the role of women in our culture, and thinking about what I can do to support and nurture a sisterhood that we so desperately need. As I found in my last environment, women still have a lot of sexism to overcome. For a long time, as a teacher, I talked about these issues in my classes. We discussed the role of mothers, the expectations placed on men and women in the household, the reason to read women writers, the need for equality. But until recently, I wasn’t fully cognizant of the struggles women face in the workplace and even in liberal-minded religious institutions. I knew about the issues, of course, but I didn’t feel it in my bones. Now I do, and it was an important wake-up call. As the next stage for me unfolds, I know that I want to commit to women’s equality in a meaningful way.

Of course, my story is little in comparison to some of the darkness we read about in history and see in the news everyday. There are plenty of people who direct their energy downward, who choose weakness and fear and destruction instead of compassion and love. But there are also people who consistently do inspiring and positive things: people who speak up about injustice, who teach, who learn, create, foster discussion and cultivate empathy. The spiritual work I did at my last job affirms that.

There are loads of good people in the world doing positive and meaningful things, creating beauty, however small. I am trying to consistently be one of them.

 

 

Image: “Reflection of Sunlight” by Rajiv Ashrafi via Flickr Creative Commons.

 

 

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

peggy ramsey May 8, 2013 at 10:55 am

When evil triumphs over good even in the most hopeless situations, one does feel used, abused, and helpless. But Bravo, Jana, for dealing with it and realizing that it was an insurmountable problem that you were never going to be able to solve on decent terms. I truly believe time wounds all heels, and you will rise like a phoenix from this “test” and be a better writer, blogger, person because of the work you’re doing. Bless you.

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Jana May 8, 2013 at 3:01 pm

You’re my inspiration, Peggy! Kisses to you.

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Lindsey May 8, 2013 at 10:56 am

This is such an inspiration to read. Thank you for reminding me that there is so much goodness around, even in a world that sometimes feels sharp.
xox

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Mary Jo May 8, 2013 at 2:36 pm

What goes around comes around, as the saying goes. Your blog essays remind us of the challenges, lessons, and triumphs of living.

These recent days of alarming news grey perceptions until the light of such writings as yours.

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Jana May 9, 2013 at 11:44 am

Thanks, Mary Jo! And nice to meet you!

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Mary May 8, 2013 at 9:27 pm

I hear what you’re saying, Jana…and I’ve felt that same pain. It is said that things happen for a reason…and we are in the place where we are..for a reason. “This too; shall pass”…What doesn’t kill you..makes you stronger. There are many varieties of people on this earth. The nice ones..the givers, those who get along well with everyone, never have a bad word to say, give others the benefit of the doubt..the well raised ones.. the smilers..those who suffer in silence…They are usually the people who wind up being hurt because they trust. Trust is not unconditional; it needs to be earned…not just given away for free. It really doesn’t matter what the reasoning behind the humiliation is…it’s a waste of time to think about it…who are we really mad at? Them? …or are we mad at ourselves for becoming vulnerable to the non-niceties of those with issues? To offer advice…or a piece of a solution to a problem…and have it snowballed into a critique of a persons career…that you dare not ‘touch’…ever…is when the other people…take action. They gather their posse together..and they ride it out..until they achieve what they’ve set out to. In your case, not knowing what your future plan is…I somehow see this event…that’s taken place…being a big part of it…huge! And really, forget the many varieties of people on this earth…there’s only two kinds of people; good and evil! When Karma comes to call, if you’re really lucky…you’ll get to watch! People will tell you who they really are. It is our job to listen to them…and heed every word. It doesn’t matter what they’re saying behind your back; they’re talking behind everyone’s back…just taking turns because that is what they’re made of. They are hurt, not unlike bullies who hurt…it’s the only thing that eases their weary minds. You are strong…and so level headed, and compassionate…You’re a Mom…you’re a teacher…you’re a daughter..you’re a sister…and you are a friend…in the true sense of the word. Don’t let it hurt for too long…they can’t take away your dignity! PS…I’m glad I received your post…it’s been rather “healing” for me. Thanks for that! Love, Mary

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Jana May 9, 2013 at 11:45 am

Hugs, Mary! XO

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