Wednesday, February 27, 2013

more on grief stupidity

Sometimes the dumb moves turn out for the best, because as I wrestle with the consequences of the decision, and feel the angst or pain or whatever uncomfortable emotion - I end up clarifying what is really important and what my truest, deepest self really needs. It's like the old saying, "good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment". So I've made bad judgments, but have learned from them, hopefully without too much collateral damage. People have been remarkably kind and understanding when I have screwed up, and even though I feel bad and guilty, they've had the grace and love to allow me this error and not count it too much against me.

So, an example. Last Fall I was offered a opportunity to go back to work part time. It sounded interesting and appealed to my intellectual ego needs. I thought I could manage the family dynamics well, even considering the upcoming holidays. I had been thinking it was time to look at doing something - I thought I had done enough "soul work" and was ready for a new challenge. Well, I underestimated many things:

how much effort the holidays take, in terms of prepping, coordinating, creating a loving and familiar family holiday experience;
how much the holidays whack you on the side of the head as you realize how much life has changed due to loss, and the resulting difficulty of doing things;
oh right, that time of year coincides with the anniversary of Meagan's death (Nov 21.) and her birthday (Jan. 23) which we wanted to acknowledge with ritual and remembrance;
ohhhh right, I'm in the middle of arranging her burial plot and memorial monument;
and, ohhhhhhh right, what feeds my heart and soul now is very different than before. What seemed important pre-grief now seems not so important to me. What I do needs to sing to my heart and soul. It's not about the competitive challenge or status or achievement. It's about love and helping and support and caring, and being around kind and loving people doing good work (their own soul work or helping others).
ahem.....and I hadn't done quite as much soul work as I thought. An eight day retreat in October cracked me open and let me see how much work was left undone, and how my intellectual self was trying to assert superiority over my emotional and spiritual selves.

So I quit. And felt guilty as hell. Despite the very kind and supportive effort of my employer. It was absolutely the right thing to do, but I still felt guilt. Especially as a guy, when so much of identity - self and as perceived by others - is based on what you do, not who you are.

The passage of time is reducing the guilt, the firm is doing just fine without me. It's allowed me to take the time to really think about what is important in what I "do". Or more specifically, tap into my feelings about what will feed me.

No comments:

Post a Comment