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The Many Faces of Grief: J

Job Loss, Jealousy, Judgement

On job loss:

Job loss grief is natural as you navigate the emotionally difficult experience of being let go. This is especially true if you have invested years at the company. For many, you are losing more than “just” a job – you are losing a way of life, an income you likely depend on, as well as co-workers you consider good friends.

While you may think you shouldn’t “grieve” the loss of a job, this could not be farther from the truth. Job loss grief is natural. After all, losing your job is among the top five life stressors a person can experience. The grieving process is very similar to the stages of grief one goes through after losing a loved one or experiencing a medical emergency. While not as catastrophic, job loss can have a big emotional effect on you. To help ease the pain, gain an understanding of the stages of grief and give yourself permission to move through each of them.

~ Impact Group

On Jealousy:

Jealousy is a bitter, nasty, and ugly face of grief. We call her “the green-eyed monster”, no doubt because she will eat up your body, mind, heart and soul. Nevertheless, she must be acknowledged and understood. As Jennifer Healey states, “Jealousy is its own brand of poison. It stunts real growth, hinders creativity, dulls your shine, takes the wind out of your sails.” Indeed, joy is seeing the brilliance of another and seeing the reflection shining back at you.

Their light isn’t an indication of your shadow;

It’s an invitation for you to discover your own way to shine.

Only carry what's yours to carry...

You can’t take who I am

From me and make it

Who you are.

You would only be

Heavy with your

Cloak of Illusions.

~ Jennifer Healey

On Judgement:

What is it: "a formal utterance of an authoritative opinion; an opinion so pronounced”

Who does it: Absolutely everyone

Where is it: Absolutely everywhere

When does it happen: Absolutely all the time

Why??? Awwww, finally; the right question. Let’s go back to the dictionary meaning, which states that in our judgement, we are voicing an opinion. If we want something beyond a personal opinion, we would be looking for a fact, right? And that would be inviting us to use discernment. That word feels a lot better, doesn’t’’ it? It invites kindness and above all, wisdom!

As an English teacher, I have become confused about even the spelling of this word. It’s the “e”………… we use it or not? Is it judgEment, or judgment? What’s the correct spelling? Well, even the language is confused. Right now, as the English language continues to morph, we’re being told that either with the e or without it, you’re correct! Phew.

But back to the subject at hand, we might try to be more aware as to whether or not we are casting an opinion or a wise discernment. There we are. This is where the rubber meets the road. Awareness. Wisdom. Discernment. Choice.

We’ve all been judged, and isn’t is harsh and horrible? And it’s long-lasting. It just hangs there in the back of our minds, the judgement that tells us that we’re not okay just as we are. This is a unique face of grief, and it colors and shapes our world and the way we think about ourselves. It’s a dark cloud that we rarely escape, day in and day out.

Some time ago, I was put in a situation of facing a person who was my judge and jury and who pronounced a sentence upon me. Wow. It rocked my world! I know that he felt better having done his thing, but I was shaken. And I carried the heavy burden of that judgement for too long. Why should we carry a burden that feels unjust, that does not serve us, but only weighs heavily upon our hearts? I decided to let it go. Just let it go. Now I feel that whatever the issue was or judgement that emerged, it has been cleared through my surrender and forgiveness of the entire matter. This took a lot of work, but I am so much happier.

And yes, we have all been the judge. Guilty. Where does this need come from, to judge everything and everybody all the time? I think it’s our own need to feel okay about ourselves that drives the engine of judgment. And we can stop that engine. What good is it serving? Does it really give us a boost, a momentary high to feel right, or superior? Maybe it does – for a second or two.

Sure, it’s human nature to judge. My friend Elizabeth believes that the day is coming, however, when we won’t any longer be called “home sapiens”, but rather “homo luminous”. Beings of Light! Isn’t that amazing?! I love the trajectory of this word and its bright hopefulness!

Indeed, the times are calling all of us to step up our game and to be more aware of what we’re doing – to actually be the witness to our own behavior, and to be forgiving of those who haven’t found that higher octave: discernment.

What does it mean? DISCERNMENT: It means that we might find ourselves wise, insightful or perceptive. We might develop the power to see what is evident, accurate; or be able to distinguish what is true, appropriate or excellent. We might develop a witness within ourselves that offers sympathy or empathy for situations and/or the motives of others.

I can only write this post because I am personally being called to step up, do better in this regard; and because I AM, YOU ARE. We’re all in this together, a community of those who desire to make things better in our world.

The truth is that it begins with each of us, right where we are, right now. This is an invitation. Please consider and respond in your own absolutely perfect way. And begin with yourself! Drop-kick those judgements about who you are, your worth and value, and what you bring to the plate. You are enough, and what you offer to the world is uniquely yours – nobody can do it better!

I’m recalling the story of a Zen Master from the Buddhist tradition, whose name was Hakuin. He lived in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and was said to have lived and responded to all judgements and life situations with the wise response, “Is that so?”.

He was greatly respected and had many disciples in his time. As I remember, Hakuin had one precious son who was one day called to war. Hakuin responded, “Is that so?”

And, of course, the day came when his saddened family and friends arrived at his door to tell Hakuin that his beloved and precious son had been killed in battle. Hakuin responded, “Is that so?”

Months later, maybe even years, the glad tidings rang throughout the small village, and Hakuin was joyously told that his son had been found alive and would shortly be returning home. Hakuin responded, “Is that so?”.

I wish that I had possessed such equanimity of mind and heart to respond to the many challenging times in my life. Indeed, we suffer a lot with this harsh grief of judgement, especially when it feels personal. But we can be reminded through the story of Hakuin that we, too, are capable of maintaining balance and equity. And you bet your boots, it takes practice.

With practice, we may come to where we can offer compassion on the human condition of judgement, and we can apply mercy to ourselves and others. We are capable of this as light-shining, ordinary folks in a hurting world.

As Fukan Zazengi advises, put aside the need to judge and the burden of judgements.

“Learn to take the backward step that turns the light and shines it inward.”

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