Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The benefits of losing benefits

As of tomorrow, I will be benefit-less. As of tomorrow, if I fall and break my leg or catch pneumonia, I am officially fucked.

I never thought I'd allow myself to be in such an undefined transition with a professional vacancy as this, but that's probably because nobody mentioned how euphoric it can actually be. Of course, the logistical headaches like losing your benefits and a fat, consistent paycheck can take their toll, but ultimately, it all boils down to what the epic TV series Friends so poignantly identifies as the fear:

Rachel: I'm training to be better at a job that I hate. My life officially sucks.
Joey: Look Rach, wasn't this supposed to a temporary thing? I thought you wanted to do fashion stuff?
Rachel: Well, yeah! I'm still pursuing that.
Chandler: How... exactly are you pursuing that? Ya know, other than sending out resumes like, what, two years ago?
Rachel: Well, I'm also sending out.... good thoughts.
Joey: If you ask me, as long as you got this job, you've got nothing pushing you to get another one. You need the fear.
Rachel: The fear?
Chandler: He's right, if you quit this job, you then have motivation to go after a job you really want.
Rachel: Well then how come you're still at a job that you hate, I mean why don't you quit and get "the fear?"
(Chandler and Joey both start laughing)
Chandler: Because, I'm too afraid

Well folks, I went out and got myself the fear, and I must say it tastes pretty good. This is the taste of movement, this middle ground where things are unknown and guarantees are not given, this is where the work is done and growth results. I've been propelled into this uberproductive yet somehow simultaneously restful place. I feel more at peace with myself and my decisions, and more congruent with my priorities than I have in a very long time, and this- all in the absence of pragmatic responsibility. I have moved on from a fantastic job because it had become painfully obvious that it was a terrible fit for my strengths and passions, and for that, I couldn't be prouder.

In this time of empty space, loose-laid days, and sleeping in, I've begun the most aggressive pursuit of what matters most to me, and I don't think I've ever been so thrilled to be smack in the middle of that vicious and glorious place called uncertainty.

My occasional scribblings on mornings..

Have your mornings.
have them.
Have them on purpose, in purpose,
they are newness, delivered by hand from some saint in the night.
Remember they're gifted, not guaranteed.

Have them with spirit fresh and eyes half-open
untarnished by day and unmet by night,
take heart in the morning
for the possibility
and the light.


3 times before, I've woken up in this ethereal, inexplicable state of peace. Upon waking I felt an immediate and undeniable air of peace so thick and saturating, inescapable. The first time it happened was easter morning in 2008. My mom and I got up before dawn to attend the Easter sunrise service on Mount Helix, so as tradition dictates I woke around 4:30. The moment I opened my eyes I could tell something was different.. as I got ready and spoke with mom I could tell I was perceiving and responding to my environment in a new way. I remember feeling unweighted by the burden of rational thought, like all my words and motions were dictated solely by ideals, rather than the selfishness or impatience that typically seeps into the human day. Something about this state of being felt so pure and genuine, almost monastic; it was a curious and alluring thing. But as the sun rose, caffeine and loud voices and traffic seeped into me, and the simplistic bliss of my early morning dissolved.

Whenever I think of those rare mornings, I wonder if simple discipline could bring me to that state more frequently. I find such opportunity and wonder in the mornings- something happens during sleep that resets the mind and heart, and regenerates the chance for change. If daily I could wake in peace, ease into being, and create a nurturing space to mold a purer me before the muddle of life makes its own mold of me, then after enough time I wonder if that mold might just stick.


Mornings are not to be taken lightly, they are not to be passively moved through, but rather responded to actively. Mornings hold such untainted richness, refreshment of the highest form; there's a sound and a feeling at the start of day that'll sit you up a little straighter if you pay attention to it.

Even the most hungover or depressed mornings hold a bizarre kind of hope and renewal. I'm telling you it's something in the air, before the atmosphere's been cluttered by gossip and deadlines and critiques and heartbreak..