Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Temperance: Walking to The Front of My Brain

I’m finally in the home stretch.

I’ve got five interviews with local office leadership over the next three days. With any luck I’ll know if I’m being laid off, thereby joining the ranks of the unemployed, by the end of the month.

I am curiously and objectively aware that a huge part of my subconscious brain is preoccupied with this. I feel much like I did when I was 18 and getting ready for the first day of business school; nervous and a bit lightheaded, kind of queasy, and cognizant of being on the edge of change, like it or not, while the rest of me watches from the outside. I tried to get the same memo off my desk all morning with no luck, so I finally gave up and went walking … and thinking.

If this is over by February first, I will have endured over a year of merger angst, seven months of intensive change navigation, and at least three months of complete office stagnation in what was no doubt the most challenging period of my career. During that period, and with notable frequency, the Temperance card came up in my personal readings. It felt like the Great Mother shaking her finger at me, admonishing me to slow down, but offering no respite. Clearly, I wasn’t to be released from this and why?

I had something to learn.

About a week ago, I came across an entirely deeper meaning to the Temperance tarot card.

What is traditionally known as the Temperance card is a reference to the Soul. Classically female, she is mixing up a blend of subtle energies for the evolution of the personality. One key to interpreting this card can be found in its title, a play on the process of tempering metals in a forge. Metals must undergo extremes of temperature, folding and pounding, but the end product is infinitely superior to impure ore mined from the earth … the soul volunteers the ego for a cleansing and healing experience which may turn the personality inside-out, but which brings out the gold hidden within the heart. <source>

I feel like iron in a forge, and yes, much of the time I feel screwed, which is why this photo is appropriate. I bumped into it when I was walking. I look at this sculpture every day from the downtown San Francisco building I work in but I didn’t “see” it until now.

This process has changed me. I’ve matured professionally and am no longer deeply invested in the approval of others at work, not the way I was when I started this job two and a half years ago. My personality has certainly evolved. When the merger was announced, I came out of the gate strongly, overcompensating for my fears, when I should have been watching and listening. I’m a lot less stressed than I was when they first announced this mess a year and a half ago, and I’ve grown infinitely better at waiting, as well. Has this process brought out hidden gold in my heart? Perhaps it has. I’m less demanding of my staff and am better at letting little things go. Yes, my ego took a beating, but if it’s for the cleansing and healing of my personality, then I would say it’s a good thing. It's not an easy thing, but all in all, it’s good.

I have learned, and I suppose that if one is willing to learn, one must be willing to make plenty of mistakes and take a hit from time to time.

After my walk was done, I returned to the office and my subconscious distractions had moved to the front of my brain where they could be constructively expressed. I realize I’m not afraid like I was before. I will do my best in these interviews over the next few days, but I have no control over the political workings of this “merger of equals” and how they will undoubtedly affect the outcome. That doesn’t mean I won’t have myself a personal pity party if I'm released, but I know it’s no reflection of my capabilities and it’s not the end of my career.

Word is that one door is closed so another may open.

I find myself curious about what may be on the other side of this particular door.

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