Laid off from Work: Failure or Freedom?

I have received some very scary news. I’ve been laid off from my job. And since then there are a million thoughts running through my head. What’s going to happen to me? Why are my employers such jerks? Do I have a tent anywhere? Cuz it’s looking like I’ll be homeless.

Of course most of the scary thoughts that pop into my head are gross exaggerations, but it brings up a very valid point: how do we deal with anxiety and stressful situations without our heads exploding?

The one where I go to a cool bookstore and learn something new

An author named Brad Warner wrote a book called It Came From Beyond Zen! The book cover is complete with cool Sci-Fi lettering and a Buddhist monk entangled by a green slimy monster with 7 eyes. The blurb about his book mentioned he uses humor to put classic Buddhist teaching into modern language. He also used to be in a punk rock band and wrote another book called Don't Be a Jerk. My kind of guy. I was sold. I mean clearly our life purposes are the same. Except for the part where he's an ordained Buddhist Zen monk and I'm a waitress. And the part he was in a punk rock band and I still struggle to get from a G chord to a C chord on my guitar. And he knows who Dogen was and I had no idea. OK. Enough. We both don't take meditation so seriously we wear Mala prayer beads to breakfast and drink boba tea while dissecting our own auras. Good enough for me.

DAY 21: The one where even though I lose, I win.

Today is Day 21 of Deepak Chopra and Oprah's 21 day meditation challenge Desire and Destiny. Hallelujah!!! At the top of the meditation Deepak congratulated me for completing the 21 day challenge. (It's pre-recorded. He doesn't know it actually took me 45. But who's counting?) The centering thought of this very special mediation is, "My Destiny is joy." And it all focused on the idea that nothing is too extraordinary. If you can dream it, then you can do it. So go ahead, dream a bigger dream for yourself. I LOVED this meditation especially. I actually listened to it two days in a row because I was awaiting good news and expected to write you a jubilant conclusion to my meditation journey to prove that dreams really do come true.

Except when they don't.

DAY 20: The one where I find another perspective

And we're in the home stretch!!! Day 20 of Deepak Chopra and Oprah's 21 Day meditation challenge Desire and Destiny. I've learned a lot on the journey. #1: Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. #2: Sometimes it's OK not to hit every single deadline as long as you're making progress and enjoying yourself on the way. And #3: I need to learn social media and marketing because at this rate I'll grow my page slower than my grandma can figure out how to send an email. And that is SLOW.

But I really have learned a lot on this journey, along with my fair share of struggling. The biggest perk has been that the meditations give me a thought to focus on in the midst of my many emotional mood swings, peppered with anxiety and a dollup of depression.

DAY 18: The one where I learn to relax

But today let's focus on the centering thought of the day. "I play. I create. I succeed." Deepak explains that the more time we spend playing and "dancing through life like a child," the more creative and productive we will actually become. This is a HUGE message to me because I often feel anxiety whenever I take time off from trying to further my career. (Oh my God I'm 34. Practically dead. There's no time for FUN!!!!) In my head I'm wasting most of my life away working at the hotel so any little time off I should be working more on my career. But as the saying goes, "All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy." Or girl. If you must be politically correct. And it's true. Whenever I have a deadline, if I force creativity too much I just end up with one major writer's block. Or headache. Or stomachache because I stress eat.

DAY 17: The one where I learned from a dog.

So here I am back in good old Los Angeles really struggling to get back into the routine of reality. And today's meditation tells me that every moment is here for me to learn and to teach. Sometimes these teachers are obvious to us, like spiritual gurus Deepak and Oprah. And sometimes they are less obvious, like that stupid guy who cut me off on the freeway. (Yeah, yeah. I know I'm supposed to learn patience and not to sweat the small stuff, but did he REALLY have to cut me off and then go 20 mph????)

So today I'm trying to look for teachers everywhere. And I found one in a very unexpected place.

DAY 16: Follow Your Bliss

Today is another day of meditation and enlightenment! And what better place to do this than at DISNEY WORLD?? That's right. I'm in Florida with my family for the next week tapping into my inner child. (Not that that's too hard. I'm pretty much a goofball all the time!)  So when I sat down to do day 16 of my meditation challenge Desire and Destiny it seemed perfect that the centering thought was, "Bliss be my guide." Uhhhh if I can't find bliss at Disney World then my problems are more serious than I thought.

DAY 14: The one where I’m grateful

Today is Day 14 of my meditation challenge Desire and Destiny with Deepak Chopra and Oprah. And this one is all about gratitude! So first and foremost, to those who have read my blog, THANK YOU!!!! This process has been challenging, but mostly rewarding. It's given me a jump start back into following my joy and I'm so grateful for those of you who have encouraged me to keep going. (Don't be afraid to leave comments! While I'm fighting to override my ego, I DO still have one. )

DAY 13: “You gotta have faith, faith, faith”

"I believe. I trust. I let go." That's the centering thought in day 13 of the Desire and Destiny meditation series I'm currently doing. It's funny how the right message always comes to you exactly when you need it.

Today centers around the fact that uncertainty is certain. I'm really glad to learn this because here I thought everyone else had it figured out except me. As a type A control freak I want to know exactly where I'm going, at what time, and for how long. (And if it comes with an itinerary all the better.)