Those of you who follow my Musings might remember that last summer I wrote first about the way we navigated Bruce’s being given the news that after 28 years of employment with the same company, he’d be laid off the next month – for sure a challenging experience. And then – the day before his expected final day of employment – the surprising news of a reprieve. A project he’d been slated for was starting up. We were very thankful that though we’d been brought to the edge of the precipice and had a while to look over it, we didn’t actually have to step off. But this caused me to muse about a question … “What is it that gets in the way of our turning towards and exploring scary things?”
A rogue wave – a huge wave that occurs without warning …    

I’m SO thankful to have had both the invitation and the courage to turn towards and explore that scary layoff possibility back then.

Having done so made a huge difference when completely out of the blue in November, three days after he’d celebrated his 65th Birthday, Bruce got a call from his boss who said “This is your final day of employment.”

Because of our experience earlier that year this wasn’t totally unexpected, but it was still a rogue wave! We both felt rocked back on our heels. The feeling of shock and discombobulation – is this for real? – ran through us. Tell me it’s a dream, and when I wake up it’ll be like the last time and we won’t actually have to step off this edge! That wasn’t the case this time.

Even as I write this months later, I can still feel the catching of my breath, and clutching in my gut – that understandable human response to finding ourselves pushed off that knife edge of uncertainty that we all live on.

After having lived in Canada most of my adult life, navigating the US health care system had always been something I’d felt intimidated by. Now outside of employee health benefits, I was thankful for the provision of the severance package which included an additional month of health care coverage. This allowed us time to catch our breath, and dive into all the necessary administrivia before us.

Right here, in our moment of need, the resources were there for us – not in the form of continued employment for Bruce as we’d hoped or imagined, but there nevertheless. And because of the work we’d done earlier that year in our ‘practice run’ at this, we’d already looked at alternative health care plans, so could build on these discoveries and ideas.

Being the one who both had to deal with the grief of loss of long-term work relationships, and facing the challenge of finding new employment, Bruce’s journey has had many extra layers that I’ve not had to face. Having navigated so much change, and been so intentional about engaging these practices for many years, once the initial shock wore off, my tendency has been to be pretty open and excited about possibilities that this change brings with it. And, there’ve been times that have been challenging for both of us.

As one of my early teachers, John Savage, used to say, “We cannot not tell our story”. So even though I haven’t specifically been speaking about the layoff in my Musings, as I look back at them, I can see the way this journey we’ve been making as a couple has shown up in the themes I’ve been exploring.

Understandably, we’ve had many difficult conversations to navigate, and several of them didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. Several times I’ve found myself trying to explore things that Bruce clearly wasn’t ready to – and that didn’t go well. I needed to say ‘yes’ to Tad Hargrave’s invitation “To retrace the terrain you walked through. … (re)Learn the good trails through it all. Learn what your actions cost others. … Don’t look away. … do it without colapsing inside of yourself … so that you can be useful to those to come.”    

Especially in moments when there were hard things we needed to do, particularly when our old conditioned patterns were triggered, the practice of creating safety for ourselves and each other so that we could feel the connectedness of our tender hearts was crucial. There’ve been times when we’ve engaged in compassionate communication, and other times when we’ve simply been quietly present to each other. Each one of these has had a place.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the most critical practice for me has been yet another, deeper layer of awareness and attention on honouring myself first, THEN others. As a woman growing up in the time and culture I have, that conditioning to focus on others is very deep. And the additional stresses here made it imperative over the holidays that I actually press “Pause” and take some time for rest and reflection.

 Treasures we’ve discovered as we’ve exercised our SEA legs …

The journey clearly hasn’t ended, (look for Part 2 in the next Maralyn’s Musing) still, we can already see ways this work has paid off! As we’ve faced this rogue wave together and practiced exercising our SEA legs – Standing, Expressing, and Accompanying ourselves and each other – we’ve discovered many treasures, both inner and outer.

Though I’d not imagined it being precipitated in this way, we’ve developed something I’ve long held the vision for – a greater depth of ease, trust, openness and intimacy between us.

And in addition to all this inner work, because Bruce hasn’t been employed, he’s had more time to clean up his office, clear out files, and make and nurture connections with others. All of this has been creating an environment that’s more supportive of his being open to whatever Life is preparing for him next.

I’m also clear that for me personally, saying ‘yes’ and Allowing Life In through this experience has played an important role both in the expansion of my willingness and capacity to Voice Every New Expression, AND (even in the absence of literally Singing Solos!) led to the emergence of my word for 2018 – ALIVENESS!

If you’re experiencing challenges in your life, or feeling the call to say ‘yes’ to more fully allowing life in, and seeking a kind, hope-full, community, grounded in powerful, practical practices for engaging this, I invite you to reach out and be in touch. I’d love to connect.

One way of creating (or perhaps expanding) our connection is to join me and some of our Realizing RICH Relationships community Tuesday January 23, from 8-9 ET. It’s our usual 4th Tuesday of the month no cost, At Home with Maralyn & Friends call – the EVENING version.

Remember, you only need to register once for these calls, if you’ve not yet done so and would like to, click here.

Nurturing juicy co-creative partnerships
…with ourselves, others & life!