Day 33 – Goodbye and Hello

2 02 2010

I know the usual saying is ‘Hello and Goodbye,’ but today has been some day and this seems like the right order for me.

One of the first emails I read this morning announced the departure of the head of our account. His office is empty and his email has been turned off. He is gone. I didn’t work closely with him, but he spent the last 4 years building this account and we are bigger than ever now. Quite a success to have to walk away from.

Yesterday I learned my best project manager had given his two week notice, and today I got notice from another of my project managers – a 5 day notice this time. At the end of my day I learned that the Management company managing the building I live in has parted ways with our property.  Four losses in less than 1 day.

It’s interesting… all of these big decisions were made and they all have ripple effects that impact me, either in my daily job or while at home, and I had no notice of, or influence in, any of them. Could I have done something to stop any of these changes from happening? Maybe for one of the project managers, but not the others. That much loss is a lot to take in, especially when we were already looking to add at least 1 if not 2 more project managers to my team.

So, when I got a request to go for lunch with a colleague/friend from another department I jumped at it. But, halfway through ordering lunch (in line at Chipotle – classy, I know), he let me know his wife of 4 years had just left him 2 weeks ago and was in the process of moving out of the house at that exact moment. More loss. He was understandably in a state of shock. He was numb. My heart went out to him as I’ve been there – not a divorce, but I’ve had a devastating breakup that left me numb and seeking therapy. The kind of sorrow that rips through your soul and leaves you with nothing to hold on to, no hope in sight. With not much more than a text message on the way home one night she told him that she wanted a divorce, went home, packed a bag and moved out stating that she hadn’t been happy in a long time. She is almost complete with her 4 year graduate program and approaching a lot of change in her life in the near future. I’ve been there too… It’s an awfully uncomfortable feeling within you… Knowing that a chapter of your life is ending yet the path before you is unclear – both wide open and blank at the same time. When I finished my MBA everyone in my class had one of two things happen – either their current relationship ended, or they had a baby with thier partner. We had 3 babies in less than a year in the group. That leaves 35 broken couples. I was on the broken couple end. So, while I have never even met my friends wife, I feel I can somewhat empathize with what she is going through. I shared my story, as misery needs company, needs to know that others have been as miserable if not more so, needs to know they are not alone. He said “I know she is lost and trying to find her way… but what about me?”

Is change and self-finding selfish? Does it often leave others hurt in it’s path? It’s almost as if it is the opposite of the Physics law ‘that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be transformed from one state to another.’ Usually it’s because one element bumps into another and transfers their energy on. Transferring energy forward and giving to others. In cases like this, it’s as if the first element steals from the next to strengthen itself and leaves an emptiness in its place. In cases where you give to another, you do not feel a loss… Actually, these are the cases where you often feel even more energized yourself. It feels good to give! There is no emptiness left when you give. But when you take… When you are greedy and selfish, it can cause hurt. Not that I’m saying that leaving people shouldn’t ever happen. I’m not saying that at all. But there should be an acknowledgement, an understanding of what happens.

I left the office feeling depleted but knowing that I was headed to a seminar with a life coach I’ve met with a few times. The topic tonight was ‘Finding your Feminine Power.’ I was the first to arrive and, as she has such a way of being absolutely present when you are with her, if she asks me a question I feel compelled to tell her everything. So I did a very quick download of my day of losses. When I told her of the lunch she said something to the effect that she could see the amount of energy that it had taken from me to go through that. Have you ever noticed it takes more energy to get sad and deal with emotional issues than it does to be happy and positive? I think it’s probably why I either lose weight from being too worried to eat, or stress overeat when I am anxious – I want the extra energy to replace what has been taken.

The session was good. We examined the difference between men and women and the balance of masculinity and femininity within women. How much is too much? When should you turn your feminine side on or off? Then we looked at traits in women we don’t want to be like – Harsh, Angry, Overbearing, Know-it-all, Criticizing, Weak, Powerless, Spineless. While the first set of the listed words are strong and sometimes infuriating, it’s the second half of the list I least want to be defined by. I never want to be a weak, spineless women. That is on the extreme end of one side of the feminine traits within women, and it’s the side I’m the most scared of becoming.

We also looked at the traits in women we admire – Positive, Adventurous, Smart, Joyful, Creative, Open, Vulnerable. The last word really didn’t resonate with me. I have a hard time equating being vulnerable with being a beautiful feminine positive spirit. Maybe that is just my definition of the word. Maybe it is the way I can see myself slipping into becoming the Weak, Spineless woman I’m so scared of becoming.

Finally we did an exercise where we imagined ourselves in one year having lived our lives exactly as we do today. Where are we working? What are our relationships like? What do we feel inside? Are we happy? We then thought of someone we admire as a female figure (Oprah, Meryl Streep, Mothers, Aunts, Teachers) and thought of what our life would be if we had some of the traits they emit that we admire within us. In a year from today, what would we be doing? How would our relationships look? Would we be happy? I struggled with this… in all that I admire in these women, I still see the hard work, the pain and frustrations, yet I also see that which is positive in them…

It’s so great to open up to the possibility of, well, possibility. So, while I may not be able to change the ripples that impact my life, and while I may have some areas of emptiness and pain in my past, I can step forward to what is possible within me and become a better, happier person. I just need to move forward…

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