Monday, August 31, 2009

Unemployment: The good, the bad and the ugly

Maze update: In April, I found my dream job. Little stress, lots of creativity, great boss and coworkers, and an energizing atmosphere. What a relief.

In August, I found out that I don't get that job back (at least for now...can you see my eternal optimism shining through your monitor?)

Bummer. Big Bummer. Such a big bummer that for a week or two it felt like the universe had dumped a whole load of moldy cheese on my head. So, I did what any self respecting girl would do: I hopped on a plane and went to visit a friend- a friend who despite some crazy hard life circumstances, has always been an inspiration to me. And when that fails, she hits me over the head with a frying pan.

I came back with a new additude (and a bit of a headache). Sure, I'm still really sad about losing my job (or, as the HR lady put it, my contract wasn't renewed. The witch!).

But I am trying to use this opportunity to deepen my faith, and appreciate how much I have to be grateful for. I know it sounds cheesy, but it really is true.

One thing I keep hearing alot from people (its a major cultural flaw that we just can't resist giving advice to people who we think are in a tough spot) is "everything happens for a reason". Its an incredibly annoying thing to hear, but even I have to admit its probably true.

As a good friend told me, we are given many challenges, but we are always given the blessings to overcome them.

So the maze-ism for the week is: when you reach a dead end in the maze, look up. Odds are there's something pretty up there.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wait Wait, Don't Help Me!

I'm an avid NPR listener. One of my favorite programs is a weekly show, called Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me. Its a news quiz, in which they ask people bizarre questions to news-related (but sometimes totally obscure) questions, and its really quite funny. I enjoy it alot, but there's one game they play, called Bluff the Listener, where I almost always guess wrong. This is the story of my life. Give me time to study and prepare, and I'll apply myself and get an A. But give me random questions about things I know nothing about, with a 30% chance of getting the right answer, and I'll almost always pick the wrong one. It drives me nuts.

Fortunately, the people who play are usually better guessers than I am. But here's the thing: I was listening to the show the other day, and the guest did something totally unprecedented: he asked the audience. Now, this isn't Millionaire, and people usually don't do that sort of thing. Its sink or swim on your own, which is the way our society operates too. Either you get it right, using whatever resources you carry in your own brain, or you don't. Too bad.

But as I sit here, contemplating a major career decision, it occurs to me that while you can't study up on all aspects of life and guarantee yourself an A, you can rely on more than just your own brain power. You can ask for help from your friends, your family and even from random people you meet on the street, but most importantly, from God. And you can use these answers to help you make decisions that seem too complex to figure out on your own.

Of course, if you ask three different people about a decision (as I have) you'll get three different answers. But that's the beauty of it, and I believe God's wisdom is in each one. So while society may say "Wait Wait, Don't Help Me", I'm with the one guy on the show who decided to poll the audience to get the best chance of getting the answer right.

If you listen to the show, you'll know that he actually got it wrong, but that's not the point. It was inspiring just to hear him ask. The point is, we are in it together. This is the way life is intended to be, the true meaning of community.

We have been put here to support each other, to guide each other, and to challenge and encourage each other. When we reach out and ask a friend for advice, we're living that out, and by connecting ourselves, we exponentially increase our chances of getting it right, even when we get it wrong.

Here's to faith in the community we build!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Moving On In The Maze

Why s it that we have such a strong inclination to stay in the same place in the maze? Why do we get so attached to the layout of the walls that surround us that we mourn their loss when the time comes to move on, resisting the change as if it threatens our very soul?

When you look at the different stages in life as simply being in different locations in the maze, its easy to get enough distance to see this human tendency to resist progress as silly, unproductive and unnecessary. But that doesn't change the fact that its hard, really hard, to take a risk and see what's around the next corner.

It reminds me of how when I was a small child, each time I moved up a grade, I would cry and beg my mom to let me stay in the grade before, with its comforting familiarity and sense of safety in the already accomplished. She always encouraged me to keep going, reminding me that I would feel better as soon as the uncomfortable newness wore off, as soon as I found my niche in the new grade and got the thrill of being challenged anew. But those first few weeks were always painful, a reminder that I couldn't hang on to the small bit of cheese I had already found, that I had to gulp it down and have faith that I could find another piece in a new place.

She was always right (about that at least). As soon as I stopped mourning what I had lost, I got excited about the new subjects, new books, and new friends. And I think that's the key to overcoming our human urge to resist progress, the reminder to have faith in the possible, a confidence that somehow what we have already accomplished will give us enough strength and creativity to meet the next challenge, and the next.

Because in the maze, if you stop moving, if you wait for the piece of cheese to reappear where the last bit was found, you will starve. It takes a leap of faith to move from a place that has already given us something to look for something more, but it is this action of faith that shows us we are alive, this ability to take risks that forces us to keep growing.

We are always moving on in the maze. Instead of seeing it as a threat every time we have to move, we should see it as an opportunity, to exercise our faith in God and in ourselves. And every time that faith is confirmed, we will feel stronger and safer in the ever-changing maze we call the world.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

An A-Maze-Ing Day

Enough with the heavy metaphors, lets get down to the important stuff...what I did today in the maze.

Today was a good day in the maze. The weather was beautiful, and I took full advantage of it by getting myself going with Zumba in the morning and then heading out for a walk and a subsequent nice long hike in Upper Park.

I went further than I have ever gone before, (the trail seems to go on forever) and before I turned back, I sat on a rock and meditated about what felt so good about being out there. I struggled at first (okay, for a while) with keeping my thoughts from rampaging through my head noisily, as they often do, stomping around and running amok, making lists and plans and obsessing over drama at work, before I was able to calm down enough to pinpoint what drew me to this place. Once the cacophony subsided, and I was able to focus, I decided that it was the perfection that drew me here, the feeling that everything was "just right".

In a life where everything seems like it could use improvement, like someone always has something bigger, better or newer than I do, it was refreshing to find a place where everything was perfect just as it was, where all the trees, rocks and overgrown grasses seemed like they were intentionally set down by God in just the right place, just where they were meant to be. It felt good, so good, to sit for a moment and stop striving, stop trying to improve something, and to just feel for the tiniest second like by virtue of being in proximity to such a beautiful place, that I too, was, finally just right.

That's a big thing for me right now (huge, really,but I don't' want to seem dramatic) and I am thankful for the experience.


Hello, and Welcome to "Who Moved My Brie", my new blog.

I haven't ever blogged before, but I decided to start one for several reasons. First, a good friend started a blog recently, and although I don't have a cute baby that does all sorts of adorable baby things, I thought I might have something to say that others might want to hear (although that's a big maybe!). Also, I used to write in high school, and while my life was alot darker back then and consequently I used writing in a different way, I think I'm in a place now where I would like to try writing on the lighter side of life, to remind myself of who I am and what I am grateful for.

I plan to use this blog as a place to share my thoughts, feelings, daily habits, funny moments, confusions, questions, and gratitudes as I continue my journey in the maze of life. That's why I chose the title for this blog, Who Moved My Brie? It's a play on my name, combined with the fact that I feel like I am trying to figure out not only the location of my "cheese", but what it's made out of, why I want it so badly, and how to live each day with gratitude and joy, even when the cheese seems nowhere in sight. Because in the end, I believe that how we travel through the maze is much more important than how fast we finish and what we find when we get there.

Musings on Mazes:

If you have ever been in a maze, say the kind they make out of hay at the fair, the thing is, for alot of people it can feel very claustrophobic, very confining, just as life often feels like it is closing in on us. But the reality of the situation is that you can always look up and find the sky; there is nothing keeping you in the maze or forcing you to run haphazardly in an attempt to reach the end but your own sense of impending doom. If you simply accept that this is where you are, in the maze, then you can take a moment to look up, and find that there is plenty of space up there, plenty of room to grow and learn.

So welcome to my maze! I hope you enjoy the twists and turns along with me!