5 meditations to soothe the unemployed


Losing a job can be a grief-filled experience, rating high on the list of stress producers. The emotions you feel may be crazy as you pick your way through each unemployed moment of each jobless day, wondering what you could or should have done differently to keep your job, and why this is all happening to you.

Ugh. I’ve been there.

The simple answer is that life is not static and sometimes, in spite of everything we try to do to control our days, things just happen. Often, after the fact, we discover that it was the best thing to happen.

So, here are 5 meditations to help soothe you if you’ve lost your job.

 1. “You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety.” ~ Abraham Maslow

Many of us don’t do change very well.  We thrive on consistency. We like our comfort zones.  We seek out routines that are reliable and steady because they give us a sense of security.

But, change is inherent to all living creatures. Consider the lowly lobster, which each year sheds its shell, the very thing that provides it with protection, security and comfort.

Why does it do this? Why does it purposefully expose itself to such vulnerability?  Because, a lobster shell is hard and inflexible, and must be cast aside so that it’s inhabitant can grow larger and stronger and develop an even bigger shell.  In fact, it is necessary for the lobster’s very survival.

Many things in our lives are like that shell and must undergo a change.  Our jobs are among those things that will change during our lives, in order for us to grow stronger, better and live more healthy lives. Sometimes we decide to make that change; other times, the decision is made for us. But both offer an extraordinary opportunity for growth.

2. Nobody gets to live life backward. Look ahead, that is where your future lies.”  ~  Ann Landers

So often, we spend so much time and energy regretting the past and trying to figure out how we could have done things differently.  “If I had just worked harder, or took on that extra assignment, or wasn’t late so often, then I would still have a job,” we rationalize. But, in reality, even if all of those solutions were true, the time to do them has past. Your focus is now on today and what lies ahead.

As they used to say in the 60s, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Think about it. Today is a gift that has been given to you, and you may use it how you want. But you only have today in which to use it. When today is over, it is gone forever. Why use up today bemoaning the past?

Don’t dwell on what could have been or should have been. Put your energy where it will make a difference – into yourself.

3. “When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.” ~  Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Just as a plant needs water and sun to flourish, we also need to replenish our mind, body and spirit. That means setting aside some quiet time to relax, reflect, and maybe just do nothing.

Oftentimes, people who lose their jobs get on a fast track of busyness to remind themselves they still have a purpose. Even though they may not have a job to go to, they spend every hour of every day searching for a job, scouring want ads, writing letters and going to coffee meetings. They are no longer just unemployed, they become the frazzled, frustrated, and exhausted unemployed with very little emotional reserves left to give anyone, including a new job should that come about.

It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of staying busy. It can give you a sense of purpose and connectedness and there is nothing wrong with that. But, don’t forget to nurture yourself. Rest. Laugh. Have fun. Do nothing. Allow your mind, spirit and body to renew.

4.  “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~  Mark Twain

What have you been putting off because you were too busy taking care of business?  As the late Beatle John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”

Often, it’s after a significant life change that we find ourselves asking, “Who am I, what do I want to be, and is this all there is to my life?” Losing a job can certainly knock you for a loop, but it is also the perfect opportunity to rediscover your passion and purpose. And, it  may give you some extra time – some breathing room –  to do some of the things you’ve put on the back burner for so many years.

What is your dream? What is your passion? What have you been putting off because you were trapped in a job rut? Now could be your chance to enter one of your most creative and fulfilled periods of life.

5. “When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.”  ~  C.S. Lewis

If you woke up this morning, opened your eyes, and could see, you are blessed. If you took a deep breath in and out, you are blessed. If you got out of bed and stood on two legs that carried you across the room, you are blessed. If you could smell the coffee brewing, see the sunrise, hear the birds sing, taste the toast and jam, and touch the hand of someone you love, you are blessed.

If today, you have a roof over your head, a brain that can think, a heart that beats and a healthy mind, body and spirit, you are indeed very blessed.

I’d love to hear from folks who have lost a job — what helped you get through it?


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6 Responses

  1. Edit Szanto says:

    Although this post is over two years old, today I found it soothing. Unemployment is perhaps hardest when it happens suddenly, not by choice, and it happens to workaholics whose identity was intertwined with their work. Work gone, social network gone…Can be quite devastating…

  2. Cindy Gardel says:

    Thank you for this fantastic article. One of the biggest issues being unemployed, is that you feel so alone.

    This article put things in perspective. There is safety in numbers and it helps a great deal to know that what we are not alone.

    • Patti says:

      Hi Cindy, Thanks so much for commenting. I know very well the experience of being unemployed and feeling like I’m the only one. But it’s amazing to realize all the wonderful, smart, talented people who have lost jobs and how it so often leads to great opportunities. I will add a link here in case you haven’t seen this other post http://www.murphywrites.com/2011/04/thoughts-on-losing-a-job/

      — Best of luck to you!

  3. Liza Long says:

    Hot yoga. Every day. For 90 minutes. I realized that my identity was completely wrapped up in my job–and that in reality, I am so much more than my work. The grief was real and palpable, and I am glad I allowed myself the space to grieve. Now, on to the next exciting adventure!

  4. Nancy Sharpe says:

    Thanks for this great, uplifting post. I know people who have lost their jobs and they could use a bit of encouragement like this!