A: First of all, I’m sorry that you’re faced with this challenge. I know it’s rough, and I see that it’s wearing you down. But here’s the exciting part: You’re now at the crossroads, at the place where you seize control of your response to it. Even though it doesn’t feel like it, this is the time when everything can change for the better, if you do what is required.
I suggest a three-fold approach. The first step is to resolve that you will no longer be victimized and that you will adopt the mindset of a warrior. Your wellness is at stake, and you must not compromise it any further. Mindfulness will be necessary as you shore yourself up each morning, noon, and night for the arrows that come your way.
The second step is to identify and do the things in life that fill you up and make you happy. Perhaps you will get together with supportive friends or ride a horse or splurge on small indulgences. And while you’re working on this, don’t forget to do something for someone else; this will get your mind off of your problems and give perspective. As lousy as the situation seems, at least you have a job, all your limbs, most of your sense, and you’re not huddling under a bridge, right? Okay then, at bedtime make a list of three blessings for which you’re grateful, and ask for guidance on what to do next.
Your real aim is to get closer to your flame, your inner life, so that you’re focused on the truly important. The key practice here will be contemplation, quieting your mind so that your deep strength can come forward. You’ve been strung out for a while, so don’t expect instant results from your prayer and meditation. But keep at it. As the monk at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit told me, “Don’t ever criticize your prayer. It is always sufficient.”
As you fuel your flame, your despair will run out of steam. Joy will emerge. You’ll become more centered because you’ve turned inward and realized you’re anchored, regardless of what’s happening on the “outside.”
The last step is more practical: Plot your escape plan. Designate time each day to find another job. Network, do research, and be open to opportunities that you may not have considered otherwise. There might be something sweet awaiting you that you can’t fathom right now.
As you begin to move into a stronger mental and spiritual position, you’ll gain more clarity and peace. You might find that your ego is causing a lot of your suffering. Ego will edge God out every time. You must fight hard against it. You may also be putting too much value on worldly concerns. On your deathbed will you be recounting what happened to you at work? Well then, give your energy to what matters, and what matters is invisible, not of the world.
You are standing on fertile ground. You’re angry, hurt, despondent, and cracked. Let the light reach the wound. Different thoughts and choices need to be made. Once those shift, your burdens will diminish and the stars will fall into astonishing alignment.
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Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at thecrackerqueen.com.