Why Working on the Deck Affirms My Conviction (and other summer rationalizations)

Three years ago this week, I was laid off. It was a surprise. I took the news with a considerable dissociative air. It was unexpected and I was not in agreement with the reasons why my position was being downsized but that was ultimately irrelevant. I did not have a job, effective immediately. The work, the agency, the constituents had all been my primary focus for 10 years, as well as a growing financial security.
I loved the projects I was able to help design and implement. I found great satisfaction in being the conduit between two people or organizations that could find mutual benefit that would suit the collective. I was honored to learn so much about the artists in our community and support their journeys into programs and schools as teaching artists.  I loved working in a state of collaboration as a standard operating procedure.
I also had an ongoing teaching gig in a school district that was a supplement to my program directorship, which had always been a part-time position. I had the best of both worlds in building my practice and honing my craft. 

Within hours of being laid off, I had already applied for a job and started a networking effort to let folks know I had a sudden change of circumstance. 

Within hours I had already traversed the soul searching to affirm to myself that, this time around, it was not about a job any longer, it was about the Work.
I spent the next 3 years continuing my work in the school districts that have fulfilled the foundation of my career, teaching adult writing courses, completing a collection of poetry, starting two more, as well as writing and now promoting the publication of Our Difficult Sunlight. I have also deepened my commitment to the Comstock Review as managing editor. I am fully immersed in my identity of Poet. This is quite comforting. I have managed, albeit in an often bumbling manner; I have survived, in spite of the economy and certainly with the support of many, for whom I am ever and always grateful; I have succeeded. That is the most important of the three. I have met my goals and in many ways exceeded them.
Too often I set my sights on everything I have not yet accomplished or have put off for some compulsive procrastinating reason or another. I make incessant lists. I beat myself up for those items not accomplished, in spite of the inordinate length of tasks and to-dos. So I started a new practice: I established an Accomplishment Log. Instead of looking at a list with check marks that always leaves something undone, this is the list of the things I did accomplish to reflect upon with regularity. To qualify for the Log, the task must be something that I have avoided or put off for at least 24 hours. Some log entries have been completion of goals or actions left undone for 10 years. My log is filling up and my life is more manageable day by day by day. It is the accomplishment that I then dwell on, rather than the perceived failure. Small amateur behavior mod trick but it seems to be working. 
I have spent this summer concerning myself with the bleak future I have been perceiving. I am a realist. The economy is frightening and my own pockets reflect it. I am likely to have much less of the school work I have relied upon thus far. I also have new opportunities. I have applied for several jobs. I have not received them for reasons I don’t necesarily know. I am allowing my faith to soothe me in trusting that I am still making right choices that best suit me as well as the highest good for all involved. For, please understand me when I share this, this Work is about humanity and the power of language for me. This Work is about love and communication. I have to trust that I am supported to be able to continue to serve with my talents and abilities. For me, this work is about others and finding ways to support them in self-empowerment, however that may take form. These words are the heart of my personal mission statement.
I reaffirm, it is not about a job. It is about the Work. If a position comes along to which I am suited, I will be delighted. I will continue to network and reach out for consulting, editing, and teaching gigs. I will start planning the five different classes I will be teaching this fall. I will persevere. 
And today, I work under the leaf umbrella of the Norwegian Maple canopy of my deck, watching the feral cats sun, glimpsing the red and blue streaks of cardinal and jay, listening to the trance music of summer. Today, I also blogged…another entry for my daily Log.
Thanks again for following my blog. I appreciate your consideration of my words and thoughts.

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