Remaining Calm in the Storm

This post was written on Wednesday.  Aside from a few tweaks here & there, I’m publishing it exactly as it came out . . .

I’m in a very philosophical/Zen mood today.  Not exactly sure why, but every now and then my frantic mind becomes clear, and I simply feel open to whatever the Universe wants to dish up.  Maybe the invigorating walk I took today has helped take me out of my head and into my body . . . I’ve heard exercise is very good for that.  😉

My calm mood is helpful to me right now, because there’s going to be a bunch of upheaval at my day job.  On Monday, we were all informed that a series of recent promotions will cause organizational and structural changes across several groups.  I am a contract employee (read “temp”), and it’s unclear what will become of me within the company.  As my boss said yesterday “The dust hasn’t settled yet.”

Five or ten years ago, this would’ve sent me into a tizzy.  I’d have had small moments of wondering when the other shoe was going to drop interspersed with frantic job hunts on Craigslist or Monster.  Today, I’m sitting here and thinking of a wonderful parable I read in The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman:

“An old man and his son worked a small farm, with only one horse to pull the plow.  One day, the horse ran away.

‘How terrible,’ sympathized the neighbors.  ‘What bad luck.’

‘Who knows whether it is bad luck or good luck,’ the farmer replied.

A week later, the horse returned from the mountains, leading five wild mares into the barn.

‘What wonderful luck!’ said the neighbors.

“Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?” answered the old man

The next day, the son, trying to tame one of the horses, fell and broke his leg.

‘How terrible.  What bad luck!’

‘Bad luck? Good luck?’

The army came to all the farms to take the young men for war, but the farmer’s son was of no use to them, so he was spared.

‘Good? Bad?’

Peaceful Warrior is one of the few books that I have read over and over.  Each time, I get a new bit of information to help me work through whatever situation is taking place within my life.  If you’ve never read it – or even heard about it – I highly recommend you give it a try . . . that is, if you enjoy self-help books written in novel form.

Much like the bike accident that happened back in February (WOW!  Has it been over two months already?), this new development could send me into palpitations and moments of freaking out, but instead, there’s some sense of inner calm I feel that’s encouraging me to “wait and see”.  Much like the old man in the story above, there’s no way for me to truly know what will happen next.  Nor is it possible to know if this will be “good” or “bad” for me.

Those are actually just labels anyway.  I know that much of the labels we use are things we learned from our parents, teachers and society in general – and sometimes labels can be useful shortcuts – but what if we decided to forgo some of those labels, or decided to change how we perceive what’s good and bad?  We wouldn’t have to judge each other (or ourselves), and find us (or others) lacking.  We’d be able to leave the emotional baggage that comes with those words behind, and simply see the circumstances for what they are: an experience for us to learn from, and participate in.

Now, I realize this may sound like a complete 180 from last week’s post when I talked about my inner critic, and the damage it tries to do to my psyche, but what can I say?  I’m human, and am not always able to extrapolate the Zen-like teachings of Mr. Millman’s book into my daily life.  The fact that I am able to do it now is wonderful, and I’m embracing and enjoying it.

Then again . . . maybe it was just the exercise.  😉


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Loni Emmert
    Apr 22, 2011 @ 13:11:30

    Yep. I agree. Soem of the best things that happened to me were the result of something I thought was “bad luck.”


  2. Patricia Gulley
    Apr 22, 2011 @ 14:46:43

    Don’t ya just love the corporate world? Of course, I’m not facing lay-offs, reorganization, demotions, firings, closures or….. oh wait, that’s my book.
    Never mind.
    Stay calm Alyx, let the dust clear, you’ll be surprised how much things might not change at all. Good luck.


    • Alyx Morgan
      Apr 22, 2011 @ 15:13:15

      Thanks, Pat. You’re right…all this emotional turmoil may be for naught, once everything’s said & done. Certain powers that be are still running around, trying to see if they can change certain things for others, which would, in turn, change them for me. That’s why I’ve decided to remain the eye in the middle of the tornado.

      Thanks for stopping by, & for the words of encouragement. 🙂


  3. Trina
    Apr 22, 2011 @ 17:42:13

    What a great outlook, Alyx. When I’ve been faced with lay-offs over the years, I actually find myself wishing they’d pick me so I could be a full-time writer–even if for a week or two. Probably a rose-colored view of it, and probably why I survived them. Oh well, like others have commented, some of the best things in life come out of adversity. Best of luck to you!


    • Alyx Morgan
      Apr 22, 2011 @ 19:44:49

      Thanks, Trina. & yes, I can see why it would be desirable to get a paid layoff. I want to wish that you get that, but it also sounds like such a mean thing to say during these tough times.

      Anyway, thank you for reading & commenting. I hope you keep your rose-colored view of things. 🙂


  4. Ann Parker
    Apr 24, 2011 @ 15:15:26

    Great post…as another “writer in the trenches” of 9 to 5 (freelance, contract, part-time, any-time), I can relate. I guess one thing I’ve learned over my nearly six decades is we can’t know what’s “good” or “bad” until waaaay after the fact. And that the branding of any particular life event keeps changing, the older we get. 🙂


  5. Kaye George
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 08:59:45

    When we’ve been through a bunch of stuff, we realize we can get through the rest of it, I think. Nice post!


  6. Dana
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 15:44:20

    I treasure the moments of zen that happen… and try to remember what they’re like when I’ve lost it. 🙂 I know you’ll come through whatever changes happen like a champ!


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