when the unexpected happens

((This article was originally published in March 2016))

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Last week I was delivered some not-so-good news. The kind of news that makes your tummy turn into a knot, leaves you speechless, shocked - I was told that my position at work was eliminated.

Yup. Poof. Gone. 

Just like that.

I was working at a small college marketing agency in Santa Monica for a little over 2 years and while it was a start-up, I was the first employee hired full-time and had been with the company the longest, so as you can imagine, when I heard those words, "your position has been eliminated" a flood of panicky questions emerged internally. “What does this mean? What am I going to do now? Why me? Why now? Did I do something wrong? Is there something wrong with me?” The questions were endless and while I knew it was nothing personal, you can't help but hear your ego's chatter.

Then, something surprising happened, when I left my office for last time. As I walked out the door, I felt a sense of relief. I felt light, like a weight has been lifted. I knew deep down that something larger was in store for me. I heard it, I felt it and most importantly I believed it.

I hadn’t been happy at my position for awhile because of my beliefs and personal values, but I also was afraid of the unknown and the possibility of leaving with no plan was scary so I stayed.

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” - Pema Chodron

One of my all-time favorite Pema Chodron’s quotes! These beautiful, wise words kept my spirits uplifted and provided me new perspective on why new opportunities possibly weren’t panning out for me when I went out looking or why they weren't presenting themselves during my time at the marketing company.

I wasn't done learning.

And now? Well, maybe I’ve learned everything I need to know from that 9-5 job and even it's absolutely terrifying how everything happened, I think this is the Universe’s way of telling me I'm ready for my next chapter in life. It's giving me a little kick in the butt to let me know I've learned everything I needed to there, I'm no longer aligned with my soul and it's time to move on.

While the whole situation is all still very, VERY new, I like to think I’m coping well!

I don’t know where I’m going from here or what my plans are tomorrow, but I have outlined the following steps to guide me to where I’m meant to be.

I believe these steps can be used through various unexpected events that occur in our lives, not just situations related to our career. These can be used to provide direction during a break-up with a lover, loss of a friendship, or even if you’re just in a funk. This process is a great reset.

1. Feel the emotions. The day that my position was eliminated, I allowed myself the rest of the day to really feel every single emotion that went through my body. I was sad, happy, scared, angry, frustrated, ashamed then sad again. It was a rollercoaster, but I let all of my emotions flow through me effortlessly. To move forward, I didn’t want this one life event to turn into an internal blockage that would prevent me from aligning with my purposeful path. After all, this problematic situation that I’m currently in may seem gigantic, but it’s not. It’s one small moment in my life that is not permanent. I didn’t deserve this. it isn’t my fate. What it is doing? It is preparing me for the best, which is yet to come.

2. Reflect and see the light in the situation that you are in. While it may not seem like it, there is ALWAYS light and love in every moment - sometimes we just have to look a little harder. For this step, what helped me, was to actually write down all the positive outcomes in this situation in my journal, even the smallest things. Here are some of my examples:

No more commute
Go to a 10am yoga class because I have nowhere to be
Watch every sunset
Take my bundle of joy, Bo, for walks at all times of the day
Get caught up on Nashville (Guilty pleasure!)
Go to the Manhattan Beach Farmer's Market, which are on Tuesdays at 12pm

3. Do things that bring you joy. You know all of those times when you said, “If only I had more time, I would work out in the morning.” or “If only I had more time, I would meditate.” Well, guess what? Now you have the time. Take advantage of your “me” time. Go for walks. Take a yoga class. Go to the grocery store midday. Stay in on a Friday night with a glass of wine and some dark chocolate. You are the most important person in your life right now. You matter so do things that matter to you!

4. Meditate and ask for guidance. What is the question you want answered? Ask the Universe. Take time out of every day to just be at one with your soul. Whether it’s 5 minutes a day or 20 minutes, commit. By quieting your mind during this chaotic life change, you will be able to hear your inner voice, your teacher, help intuitively answer your question and guide you on to your next chapter. It will take time and practice, but know it can happen and believe it will happen.

5. Surrender. Remember, you are fully taken care of and you have everything you need right now. Once you ask for guidance on whatever questions you have about the future or about your situation, give them up to the Universe and surrender. Take your hands off of the life wheel. Surrender some more. A couple months ago I went to a Gabby Bernstein and one of her affirmations really hit home for me, “Everything is happening around me and I am fully taken care of.” So good!

6. Remain present, live moment by moment and trust that the Universe is working for you. Often times when the unexpected happens, we try to control the outcome or fix it right away to “get back on track”. We try to steer our life in a certain direction towards where we think we should be, but the truth is that tactic often gets in the way of God’s plan, the Universe’s plan, the Spirit’s plan, whatever it is that you believe in. Let go of the outcome, dwell in the now and be in the joy.

Hope these words of wisdom can help guide you when the unexpected crosses your path.