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Getting through the ups and downs

August 22, 2013

You know when someone says, “I’m sure it’ll be fine” and you lunge at their neck while screaming, “How the hell do you know?”

No? Just me?

I am not a full-time yoga teacher. (It’s a pretty nourishing side gig as far as side gigs go.) But I just don’t have any desire to do it day-in and day-out. I do have a day job – a good one. One I don’t mind coming into even though it occasionally drives me batty. (That’s what yoga is for!)

But, yesterday, I was told that I might lose that job. The contracting company I work for didn’t win the re-bid for the project I am on. So the new company can either replace me with someone else, offer me the job with a significant pay cut or keep everything the same (the ideal situation, of course). As a pragmatist, I am definitely updating my résumé and holding off on major expenses. I am also trying not to freak out.

“What if they cut my pay? What happens to my benefits? My 401k? What if my new supervisors are jerks?”

Uncertainty is a bitch.

But one thing is keeping me from Meltdown City…

A few months ago in one of my yoga books, I came across a Chinese parable. There are many versions of it but all have a very similar gist and it goes like this:

A farmer and his son had a beloved stallion who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbors exclaimed, “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

A few days later, the horse returned home, leading a few wild mares back to the farm as well. The neighbors shouted out, “Your horse has returned, and brought several horses home with him. What great luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

Later that week, the farmer’s son was trying to break one of the mares and she threw him to the ground, breaking his leg. The villagers cried, “Your son broke his leg, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

A few weeks later, soldiers from the national army marched through town, recruiting all the able-bodied boys for the army. They did not take the farmer’s son, still recovering from his injury. Friends shouted, “Your boy is spared, what tremendous luck!” To which the farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

This story is often told when teaching non-attachment. For me, it very clearly conveyed that not all good things are good and not all bad things are bad. It’s best not to get attached to the present situation. I have experienced that some good things have led to bad things and some bad things have resulted in good things. Like when I was happy about being able to get on a crowded elevator in SOHO because I was in a rush and then my elevator ended up being stuck between floors for three hours in 95-degree temperatures… (I no longer run after elevators by the way).

Maybe I’ll lose this job. Maybe I’ll find another job. A better job. Or a worse job that will force me to pursue another line of career, which could lead to who knows what? Fame? Fortune? Glory? For better or for worse, the possibilities are endless!

So I don’t have a panacea to offer you when things aren’t going well. But I am sharing this story with you because it gets me through rough times – especially during times of uncertainty. I hope it helps you as well.

In the meantime I’ll be playing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” on repeat.

Rainbow

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From → Mind

6 Comments
  1. What a delightful attitude! I’m hoping for the ideal situation to come through. This is, after all, just your day job… Not what you’re really passionate about. 🙂

    • You commented on my blog! Thank you! (I may have gotten a little emotional about that.)

      It’s true. It’s just a day job… Not so sure I would have the same equanimity about losing teaching jobs.

      It’s been a stressful day. I think I’m going to sit outside and get some sun.

  2. Such a beautiful and inspiring attitude to adopt in this situation. Your yoga students should be proud to call you “teacher”.

    • Thank you! Some days the road to get to that calm takes a little longer but I do eventually get there and maybe that’s all that matters. Also, when this doesn’t work, then I go get some beer. 😉

  3. Sadly this probably doesn’t do much for you, but this blog post helped myself because it reminded me when we’re going through some crap, we’re not the only ones. I’ve been dealing with uncertainty and such the past month, and it’s actually comforting to know others deal with it, too. Granted, I wish you didn’t, as I wish none of us had to go through the tough stuff, but if that’s not possible at least we can go through it together.

    By the way, you’re the focus of tomorrow’s post on my blog.

    • Nick – You’re awesome and it’s been great watching you grow, change and adapt albeit through Twitter. I’m glad this post helped you! And I’m overwhelmed to be the subject of your blog post. 🙂 Thanks!

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