I recently quit my job. I left the place feeling tearful, angry, and eventually relief. I jokingly called this time in my life a period of divine disappointment. Hundreds of hours poured into the hardest job of my life and the disappointment was not in what I was doing, but the company I was doing it for. Right as I was concluding my last few days at this place, several clients brought up stories that included an infuriating sense of helplessness in their life. I kept hearing the question on what to "do" with helplessness. Below is what I have practiced sometimes on an hourly basis in order to survive 21 months with this divinely disappointing company. If you take nothing else from what you read below, my invitation is to lean into the helplessness and keep breathing deep from your belly.
If you find or fear that your anger will turn from smoldering lava to a raging wildfire, try finding a younger one inside of you and grieving the loss of how they were told to treat and know their body). Sadness is the rain to the fire of anger, so use the sadness to work with the anger if/when it gets overwhelming. Another way to think of this is in the primal needs in all of to growl (raise our voice) and howl (cry). After you have practiced feeling both your growl (anger) and your howl (sadness), find the current story of what brought these feelings and the helplessness up in this moment.
Next, start to breathe into these two emotions and feel them in your body as you choose to practice them: Trust - How I can depend on this situation to not change. (What is a pattern in this situation that continues no matter what you do) and Curiosity - What am I missing that is changing? (Notice your body as you breathe from your belly. Notice how your body feels today versus a day/month/year ago when you were in a darker place OR notice how it feels IN YOUR BODY to have people recognizing you or brightening towards you in your life).
Finally, practice Forgiveness (towards your family of origin, yourself, and the person you feel closest too) and Gratitude (When I'm seeking an eagle's eye perspective of gratitude, I will watch the video below on occasion) as a completion to this meditation.
What do you notice on the other side of practicing these steps? Please share below.
About the Author
Ruth Diaz, LPC, Psy.D. is a counselor, consultant, and coach on returning to compassionate connection in relationship with ourselves and each other at every level. She works as an organizational consultant and therapist in Portland, Oregon.