I’ll start with the good news first:
I have a ton of time to accomplish tasks I’ve been putting off forever; the most time-consuming one being cleaning/organizing the house.
I also have time to research graduate programs (I want to start thinking about enrolling in a program), to work on the two lengthy online courses I purchased to advance my Excel skills and my finance knowledge, and to read the remaining half-read books I have in my bookshelf. I have time to reorganize my finances and reevaluate my budget to suit my goals for this year too. Lastly, I have more time to write!
I’m very excited and grateful for this time on my hands, but the reason I have all this time now is due to the bad news: I’ve lost my full-time job.
I was expecting to lose my job since the coronavirus has adversely impacted the business my company is in…I mean, the coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted the entire economy, and my company was no exception. Although my expectations became my reality, I’m not more prepared to handle this. I’m still disappointed, afraid, and uncertain about the future. Honestly, that is how my life during the quarantine can be described as a whole, and I think many would be able to relate to those feelings.
On the bright side, both the CEO and my bosses expressed interest in bringing me back once the quarantine is over and once business picks back up. So…whenever that happens, and if the company is still operating, there will be a job for me. I am grateful to have that support and kindness at the very least.
In the meantime, however, I’m going to do my best not to worry and to focus on what I can control…and I am going to maintain my routine to the best of my abilities to support my mental health.
Be well and stay safe.
I’ve been ready and eager for some change since the end of last year, which was fueled by a new relationship, dissatisfaction with my full-time job, and aspiring for more in my life. I wanted more money, more independence, more responsibility, more education, more experience, more travel…more, more, more.
So I set out to achieve all those things. I asked for a raise at both of my jobs, I started researching where I can take my career next, and I booked a trip to New Orleans.
I was so excited about the NOLA trip because although I’ve traveled since graduating from college, I haven’t gone somewhere entirely new to me since 2017. This was also the first trip I went on without my family since the summer of 2016.
The NOLA trip was more wonderful than I could’ve expected or hoped for, but as I was there, news that the coronavirus was becoming more serious in the US emerged.
When I returned to work on a Monday, I returned to an entirely different company. My boss, who had foreshadowed that he wasn’t going to be there when I returned, was indeed gone. Two of my colleagues in the accounting department were also let go, and sixteen other people in the company nationwide were gone too. On top of all of that, the people that remained, including myself, took a pay-cut in the hopes that the company could weather out this uncertain and ruthless storm.
Shortly after that, I lost my yoga job because the community gym I worked at understandably shuttered its doors.
Now, the entire country and a majority, if not the entirety, of the world are living in an apocalyptic reality. A reality without physical human contact in lieu of virtual human connection. A reality with an unstable economy, loss of jobs, weakened immune systems, and loss of lives. My heart goes out to everyone who has been adversely impacted by this virus.
The reason I’m writing is because…aside from craving to connect with you all, I’m intrigued by how strongly I desired so much change in my life…and in a month, my life has changed significantly…in a way I could not have even fathomed. Now I crave the familiarity and comfort of the past, even though I wasn’t my happiest a month ago. In hindsight, however, there was so much to be grateful for that I had taken for granted. A month ago, I was able to see my boyfriend every weekend, I was able to go to the grocery store without fear of getting sick and/or spreading illness to others…and I was able to leave the house.
While it feels like there was more to be grateful for a few weeks ago, I remind daily myself that there is just as much, if not more, to be grateful for now. For example, my family, my friends, and I all are healthy, and I hope that continues.
I am grateful to have a safe home to live in with clean, running water, electricity, and wifi. I am grateful to have the love and support of my family and my community. I am grateful for my “capital-Y” Yoga practice, which I’ve been leaning into so much lately…just to keep a smile on my face. I’m grateful to be growing and exploring my meditation practice and I’m grateful to share that with others via videoconferencing software. I am grateful for videoconferencing software and for cellphones. I am grateful to all the healthcare workers on the frontlines of this battle, and to all the scientists researching and studying this virus to develop better tests, vaccines, and cures.
If you’re inspired to do so, please share what you are grateful for in the comments below. Stay safe, and much love.
Although the relationship ended almost two weeks ago now, I haven’t processed it fully. That’s partly because my ex and I had been talking about the possibility of trying again, even though I’ve known all along that my heart doesn’t want to try anymore. On the other hand, I wanted to want to try to make things work between us. I had ended things, but I wasn’t ready to let go.
In general, I have a difficult time making decisions because of the finality of them. Even when I make a decision, I’m afraid to stand by it.
Since she knows my patterns, she suspected that I was unintentionally leading her on, so she told me about it. Then I did some meditating for a few days and reflected. I was reminded of one of the Yoga Kleshas called Abhinivesa. I tend to forget all of the other Kleshas, but this one has always resonated with me because it addresses the fear and worry of loss and change. In hindsight, the entirety of my post-grad life has been about releasing worry and fear. During my job search, I’ve been trying to secure a job offer, but after the interviews, I become mentally consumed with the fear of getting a job.
If I get the job, will I still be able to teach yoga? Will the commute be too arduous? Will I have to move? Where will I move? How am I going to get a car? Will I have to work too many hours? Will I always get home when everyone is asleep? What if I become depressed from working? How will I be able to maintain my self-care practices while working full time? How will I find balance?
A month ago, I had told my yoga teacher about this problem, and she informed me that there was no possibility of me moving forward if I am caught up in anxiety and fear. In order to move forward, I have to channel all my energy forward without clutching onto my fears.
Relationships are obviously different than personal goals, but I was trapped in the same cycle of trying to move forward while holding onto my fear of loss and change. When I realized this, my girlfriend and I talked on the phone about the finality of our breakup.
So…now I’m spending time healing from that before my life becomes busy again. I’m grateful to have some time to rest, reflect, and heal. Part of my reflecting process includes reflecting on an oracle card reading I did last week, right after the breakup. The reading continues to be relevant, so I decided to share it below.
Surrendering – An Oracle Card Reading
- The first card, which represents where I’m at now, is Divine Support. This card is associated with the sacred, cosmic sound of “Aum” that brought the world into existence. This card reveals that Ganesha wants to assist me in my divine path away from fear, distress, and anguish and towards light and love of myself. As I face all these obstacles and changes in my life, I struggle not to doubt or worry about my decisions. I’ve sought out more introspective self-care such as journaling, meditation, and yin yoga. I love chanting, particularly chanting “Aum,” which helps me feel connected to the Universe.
- The second card represents my next step, which is Acceptance. The card advises that I accept things as they are and that I release blame, anger, and sorrow so that I can continue on my spiritual adventure. When I overcome those obstacles, the ego can align with the soul. As I come to find acceptance, I must remember happiness, find contentment, recognize beauty within, and look at the world through a more spiritual perspective. Ganesha supposedly consumed the sadness of the Universe, which is comforting because I’ve been feeling lots of sadness in waves. When I worry, doubt, regret, or anguish creep up in my mind, I recall why I chose the path that I did. Then I accept it for what it is. I want to feel all the feelings so I can accept things as they are and move forward. Again, meditating and yoga play a huge roll in this process.
- My obstacle is Nurture. This card represents creating a calm and balanced life. To achieve this, I need to slow down and deal with issues as they arise. This card is associated with the heart chakra. This card advises finding female friends. I have been connecting with my friends more during this difficult time. I can’t help but wonder if sharing with my fam is the intention of the obstacle…but I’m not ready to do that yet. It took a lot to fight for the presence of this relationship and I’m reluctant to share its demise. I also don’t want to be vulnerable with them yet. I rather keep it to myself. Which may be why this is an obstacle.
- My resource to overcome my obstacle is my Inner Knowing. This means that it is a time for soul searching and to look for guidance within. This card states that I need to seek truth and to use meditation, consideration, and self-assessment to evaluate my direction. This card notes that my priorities may shift and to seek alone time. I think all my journaling has helped strengthen my inner knowing. I’m proud to have honed this and found more confidence in myself by exploring my inner knowing through writing. I plan to continue to grow because it will take me to the next experience.
- My final outcome is Surrender. Rest and recover from the challenges and lessons that I have experienced. Stabilize energy. To me, this is similar to acceptance but it’s more passive. It makes sense that this is what I need. As all these things conclude, it’s time to rest. Resting will refuel me for the next thing. Instead of regarding the break between jobs as a desperate time to obtain another job, use the time to surrender, rest, and refuel. Same thing for my relationship. It’s time to turn inward.
- Move out of state
- Take a trip
- Choose a grad school program
- Apply to a grad school program
- Light a match
- Drive on the highway
- Chant more
- Be confident
- Be positive
- Introduce more “yogic” things to my yoga class
- Write a book
- Develop my own business
- Make malas
- Reconnect with mentors
- Pursue my passions, even if I’m uncertain where they will lead
What does your list look like?
Despite how heavy my foot was on the gas, it felt like we were driving in slow-motion. I was weaving around the cars in my way and tailgating them as my dad clutched his side and dry heaved into a plastic bag. I had never driven so recklessly and aggressively.
I pulled to the front of the emergency room and he pulled himself out, hobbling toward the door. I quickly parked in the deck and with shaky hands, I put on my sweatshirt and sprinted to the ER after him. He was already inside, sitting in a wheelchair and checking himself in when I arrived. He had stopped shouting in pain and was relatively calm as he sat there.
They told him a room would be available in a few minutes as they wheeled him to the side to wait. Suddenly, his calm expression broke into one of agony and his mouth opened wide to verbally release the torture his body was causing him. I rubbed his back and reminded him to breathe deeply, hoping it would pacify him. It did not. He continued to cry and shout in the waiting room while people checked in. Then he started vomiting into a plastic bag. I got him tissues to wipe his face and I asked the administrator when the room would be ready. I was impatient at this point.
Fifteen minutes later, a nurse slowly meandered over and wheeled him to the room he would spend the next six hours in. Ironically, it was the same room he had spent nine hours in, the same time last year. That time was for a different emergency though.
After several hours, multiple doses of pain medication, and many tests, the doctor diagnosed him with kidney stones. He was able to pass it in the hospital and be released the same day.
Life is obviously uncertain, but it didn’t use to scare me as much as it does now. My cousin’s death has completely transformed the way I perceive the world and it has caused me to raise questions that I otherwise wouldn’t have asked or even considered. While I feel like I have more compassion and gratitude for life, I have also come to recognize as life as being very fragile. This has caused me to develop fears that I did not use to have. Some of the fears are silly while others make more sense but… I haven’t seemed to overcome them all yet.
The terrifying experience I had with my dad on Monday as well as the volcanic tragedy in Guatemala, among many other tragedies that people experience, has caused me to reexamine the reality that life is fragile.
I had shared this realization with the grief group I used to attend about two years ago now. Many of my peers had solemnly nodded their heads in agreement as I shared my concerns and worries about this fact. The therapist, however, raised the question: how do you deal with uncertainty?
One method for coping that my peers came up with included acknowledging the challenges we had faced previously and that anything that comes next can be overcome too. Another idea was to focus on the present rather than worrying about what might never occur.
Since I’ve been learning more about yoga philosophy for my yoga training, I’ve learned another effective method for challenging my fears is to be in a state of mind that is described in the Yoga Sutras, which is upeksha, or “indifference.” I learned about this idea in an article from The Yoga Journal written by Frank Jude Boccio titled, “Calm within.”
Boccio deems it is more apt to regard upeksha as “equanimity” rather than “indifference.” He defines equanimity as “a state of even-minded openness that allows for a balanced, clear response to all situations, rather than a response born of reactivity or emotion.” He adds that it is a balanced state of mind and heart. It allows one to experience pleasure and pain without clinging to it or condemning it. In other words, equanimity is about experiencing life and different situations without judging it as good or bad and therefore, maintaining an emotional detachment from it.
For example, my dad had kidney stones and needed to be hospitalized. It’s not good or bad, it just happened. He was able to get the care he needed to alleviate his pain through hospitalization, and he was working from home that day which enabled me to drive him there. So..while it may seem unfortunate that he had to be hospitalized for this condition, it was actually perfect timing and everything panned out well. In the moment, however, it was scary and awful but it needed to happen this way. If he was at work, he would’ve been taken to a hospital that was further away and it would, therefore, take the rest of my family longer to get to him.
Equanimity is also about realizing that while you can’t be responsible for nor can you control what happens in life, you can control your reactions. I controlled my reaction by driving him to the hospital, and I let the doctors take control of the situation.
The last aspect of equanimity as Boccio describes it is that you have to open your heart while simultaneously letting go of expectations and attachment to results. This aligns with what I’ve been reading in the Bhagavad Gita, which is Hindu scripture traditionally written in Sanskrit. It is part of several books of epic poetry.
The god, Krishna, tells a warrior, Arjuna, that it is important to act for the action’s sake, and not for the results, whether that be success or failure. This equanimity is yoga. (The physical aspect of yoga that is the most popularized is only one limb of yoga philosophy. Yoga is actually a more comprehensive philosophy with eight limbs).
I believe this type of mindset and state of being would be beneficial to me and it is something that I would like to practice in both my asana practice as well as in meditation. This way I can keep a level head when difficult situations emerge and I can also live with less fear than what I live with now.
How do y’all feel about equanimity? How do you live with uncertainty?
My aunt took me and my sister out to lunch, and as per usual, we had a wonderful conversation.
She had recently returned from a trip to Memphis with her husband, and they went to several Civil Rights museums. I confessed to her that the things I must do in order to get to the next chapter of my life seem impossible, so she told me this quote she saw in the museum that blew her away:
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
When she shared it with me, I was also floored. This quote is obviously in regards to civil rights, however, it also encapsulates exactly what I need to do that would answer my own questions:
How do I get a car so I can be independent? How do I get a job but also prepare for the GRE’s and figure out what doctorate program I want to do? How do I make new friends since all of my closest friends are moving away? How do I become a self-sufficient adult even though I’m afraid to do so?
Between these worries and fears as well as my disastrous room, which seems to reflect my inner turmoil, I have been feeling so overwhelmed that I haven’t done much to move forward at all. Naturally, I’m not going to get to the next chapter if I’m not taking any steps at all…thus, I should trust the Universe more. I should also trust myself more.
Evidence of the Universe conspiring to support each individual is evident in my own life in the past, as well as in my girlfriend’s life currently. Per Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life” :
“You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
I’ve sited this quote what feels like 10 times now on my blog, yet I always need to be reminded of it. Perhaps I should make it one of my mantras in addition to the Sanskrit mantra, Ananta Swa Bhava, I repeat for my japamala meditation. It means my state of being is infinite and boundless.
I am infinite and I am a child of the Universe too so…I need to have a little more faith.
So the first steps I will take until my yoga training starts in a little over two weeks will be to apply for at least one job a day and to finish organizing my room. Instead of watching endless YouTube videos at night, I will read material that will inspire me especially because I have an obscene amount of partially read books on my Kindle. I will also allot one hour each day toward researching doctorate programs that I may be interested in.
By the time my yoga program rolls around, hopefully, my personal space will be less cluttered and more organized and I will at least have some ideas percolating in my mind in regards to future education plans. Then I can write them down in the new journal my aunt got for me! It’s a beautiful journal and I’ve never had such a nice one before!
I hope you can see the gold detail on it in this photo above!
It also has beautiful quotes throughout the book too!
Anyway…that’s all from me for now. Let me know in the comments if you have any quotes that inspire you!
I’m bored with all of the books I’ve been trying to read and with all of the shows I want to watch so I decided it was about time to come on here and write again. So…yeah..I’m ending my Fall-Out-Boy-esque-hiatus now. My hiatus was not five years nor did I release an underrated, killer record before going on break and then proceed to get married, launch a solo career, or have children during my hiatus…but this has been the longest break I’ve taken from writing on here, and in general, since…my sophomore or junior year in high school. It’s a little unfortunate I didn’t write because I like to document my life, thoughts, and feelings…but everything seemed so…heavy at the time and the idea of writing anything…I didn’t perceive it as therapeutic.
During the last month or so, however, I have been documenting random thoughts/feelings into a journal by hand to at least get them out there and then I would organize them into the different Bullet Journal prompts I had going.
Anyway! I am going to resume writing again. I’ve been having an urge to write creatively over the last week or so…hopefully I can do some of that because I miss that. In the meantime, I’ll blog a bit about what’s going on and I’ll start with an update since a bunch has been going on!
I’ve been home for two days and they’ve both been arguably the shittiest days of 2014. I ended up hysterically sobbing to the point of puking in a parking lot and afterwards I called my boss, who’s like a mom to me, and she made me feel a lot better about everything. I usually would write about all the shit that’s going down at the same time that’s caused me to wish that I wasn’t alive anymore but everything that’s happened in the span of two days is still too sensitive for me to write about. I basically feel alone, rejected, pathetic, and…scared as hell. I’m afraid that I’m losing everything that mattered to me…and there were only a few things that I cared about so…it sucks.
Anyway…I hope my break can’t get any worse. Yeah, I can’t sleep nor can I eat but as long as nothing else awful happens hopefully I’ll be able to…feel like myself again. Right now I just feel numb.
I had my first panic attack and it terrified me.
My lullaby is her soft breathing as she soundly sleeps..I cocoon myself tightly in the bed sheets, wishing she was here taco-ed in my bed with me. I close my eyes and imagine how’d she lay..her body would be sprawled on top of me, with my chest used as a pillow for her soft right cheek…
Through the line, I hear her breathing stop for a moment..the sound of the line crackling bursts in my ears. I hold my breath for a minute…and then finally her breathing is all I hear.
I release the breath I’ve been holding, and meditate to her quick, quiet breaths. It’s late, I should also be sleeping…it’s late, I should also be dreaming.
But it’s hard to sleep when there’s a painful dagger in your chest, the same chest on which the beautiful angel rests. I close my eyes, fighting the urge to cry.
It’s late, I should really just go to sleep…it’s late, I should just turn off my mind and let my subconscious overtake me.
My consciousness, however, remains..it replays the nightmarish events from earlier that day. The disappointment, the mistakes..the misunderstandings…and although it all feels scary, my greatest fear is of me pushing her away…the thought of her leaving restarts the pain.
Instead of counting sheep, I count the breaths she takes while she sleeps…it helps numb the pain from the dagger that is stuck in me.
It’s late, and eventually my eyes flutter close..it’s late, and eventually my dreams take control..but it’s too late to undo the nightmare I’ve created in my home.
© 2014 Vic Romero