time, rest, renewal, reconnection

It’s been one month today since I was laid off, a time during which I’m ever more aware of how perfectly the Divine works in my life, providing abundant blessings and grace …
Each morning, I strap on my brace, making sure it fits firmly and snugly, lace up my brown Vans and take a walk through the surrounding neighborhood. Now that I’m between opportunities, I have time to do this for myself, enjoying exercise and fresh air at the start of my day, instead of driving off to work. I say hello to people I meet, see the changes people are making to their homes and landscaping, admire the garden designs, or the new paint or the new addition that’s going up. I notice the changes in the greenery as we move toward fall, certain flowers fading while others are still rip-roaring with blooms. It’s a beautiful time, a time when I can connect with all that is around me. This morning I had a nice chat with a man walking a beautiful brindle pitt bull dog, a rescue dog. Friendly hellos and smiles to others, fresh air, a wave to a neighbor – not a bad way to start a morning.
In my little garden, I’m noticing that the salvia responds better to more water than I’d been giving it when I was working. I didn’t know that before I was laid off. The skies are clear and blue, the ocean breeze a bit brisk and cool, early for this time of year. Things that I wouldn’t notice if I was in a beige office cubicle, working between two monitors for 10 hours a day. I feel like I’m opening, releasing, remembering.
Remembering who I am. The last few years, I’ve been telling friends that I’ve felt that I’d forgotten who I am. Work, stress, not enough time, bills, health issues – no time to be me, to be a friend, to volunteer at church, to connect with cousins and family the way I wanted, the way that fulfills me and gives me happiness. For one job, my commute was about 4 hours a day in heavy LA traffic. In another, I was a square peg in a round hole; not a good fit, no matter how I tried to adapt to a company culture that was so different from any other I’d ever experienced.
The past couple of weeks, people have been "showing up" to remind me of who I am. It’s been wonderful! A beloved cousin who I haven’t spoken with in many years suddenly called from Korea where she’s living right now. "You sound just the same!" she said, which made me so happy. An old high school friend has shown up and we’ve exchanged e-mails filled with the same intelligent wit that we shared in high school. "Your personality is as sparkling as ever!" she wrote. A former co-worker has also shown up, a real girl friend who I always enjoy so much and who I can share girl things with. Whenever she and I reconnect, it’s always at the most perfect time and she brings me laughter and refreshment and joy in being female. I sometimes wonder why we don’t stay in touch more regularly, but then I realize that, too, is part of God’s perfect plan.
The Tibetan language has no word for "unemployment". For most of the world, work used to be seasonal: farmers and ranchers would work their land or care for their stock for most of the year. After the harvest, the land – and the people – would rest, being renewed, refreshed seasonally. Other chores would take the place of the usual farming and ranching, in accordance with the seasons. The land and the people lived in harmony with nature and the cycles of the year. Western culture doesn’t embrace this same harmony. Our 24/7 accessibility to work – Blackberrys blazing, e-mails flooding inboxes night and day – doesn’t provide the rest and renewal cycle that our natures need.
Right now, I feel that the Divine – my Lord and God – has given me this time to reconnect and to remember who I am, to renew my spirit. I am happier and brighter, laughing more and laughing more easily. I’m opening up and releasing – aaaahhhhhh! –  letting go of what was, to embrace what is.  This is a time of restoration, rejuvenation, growth, beauty. A time to pause and to remember to live with intention. Thank you, God.
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