A MID-LEVEL MANAGER’S REALIZATION
By Kemila Zsange
It was another busy Sunday morning. My mind had already kicked into gear as I was moving around at home. This was a time that my partner had learned not to initiate any conversation. Rather, he stayed in his space, left me alone, until I was ready to announce at the doorway that I was on my way out, so he would then come to give me a good-bye kiss.
I had my insulated lunch bag ready, found my door keys, put on my jacket, and bent over to tie my shoelaces. Then there came a funny feeling in my stomach. No, I was not sick. It felt almost a little like Deja-vu. And my mind immediately connected scenes from a motion picture with that feeling.
Jonathan Kray at the beginning of Rude Awakening repeated those motions four times: Sitting up upon waking from his bedside alarm clock, fumbling his feet into the slippers on the floor, brushing his teeth, getting dressed, and straightening his “mid-level manager” badge at the jacket collar before heading out with his briefcase. It implied another Groundhog Day on the linear journey of being a modern human.
Am I having a Jonathan moment?
It cannot be. I am so different! Almost a little annoyed, but largely confused, I called to say “I’m leaving now” to my partner, mindlessly kissed him good-bye, and pressed the elevator button as he slowly closed the door behind me. I tried to shake off that funny feeling. I am different, not because I wear a crossbody bag rather than carry a briefcase. I am different, not because I don’t wear a suit but normally a decent but comfortable and modest blouse (as a therapist, I don’t want to out-dress my clients). I am different because I work for myself. I’m not a mid-level manager working for a corporation with an unreasonable boss. I am better off than that!
Sunday traffic in downtown Vancouver is less busy. The air seems fresher. Streets are quieter. I can move around jaywalking more freely across city streets. Maybe there is a little similarity between Jonathan’s fictional character and me. Supposedly we both walk to our offices. On my 20-minute walk, thankfully, there was no fancy glowing back-to-the-future car to drive full speed over me in the middle of the road, nor my future master-self stepping out of it wiggling her hips and shaking her head at me. But then I was hit by a cynical voice coming through my mind: You don’t have one boss to work for, but today you only have four bosses!
Lately my mind has learned to use my wit against me. What’s going on with all this? Is it part of the post Heavens Cross effect? How do I consolidate all of the habitual narratives, feelings, and now new thoughts and feelings? For over ten years, I have been quite used to measuring my success by looking at my heavily loaded calendar of appointments. It is historically documented that I have been very busy for many years straight. On the calendar, I appear to be doing exceptionally well. This has been very significant to someone who had a hard time believing in herself for the majority of her life. I am now doing what I love doing. I have found my calling. This is fulfilling. I have passion. I’m living my purpose. And I am supposedly happy. I even came up with a self-congratulatory joking line, “After I retire, I’m going to hypnotize people.” That goes to say that I’ll never retire; or, you can say even though I am working, I feel retired already. What’s the difference? Don’t they say the labour of love doesn’t feel like labour at all?
Then, where did that feeling in my stomach come from? I decided to walk new pathways going east and north, rather than the usual route to my office. I breathed all the way to my stomach as I walked. Slowly, as I put one foot in front of the other, a deep longing for myself arose within me. It said I cannot continue to be satisfied by my “successes” anymore. I quickly scanned the current landscape of the life I was living, and knew I had successfully made myself a mid-level manager of my own “successful career.”
Disheartened, and at the same time rudely excited by that realization, I arrived at the quiet floor of my office. It was March 26, 2023, four days after Heavens Cross. And it had not been an easy four days for me. Adamus said prior to Heavens Cross, if we didn’t let it all go, all the junk, all the baggage, all the crap, it would hurt a great deal.
Something in me was quietly hurting this Sunday morning. My theoretical success couldn’t soothe and address it. My mind had been telling me the same stories and controlling all these “career success steps,” planning, plodding, fearing, and calculating for over ten years. I have always been aware of my habitual calculating mind, challenged over and over by the perception of loss – opportunities, finances, and status – accumulated from other lifetimes, and I knew, though the mind was not fully willing to acknowledge, that the calculating mind had kept me small, ironically.
On the quiet floor of my office – after all, it was Sunday – I took a few moments continuing to sit with that feeling in my stomach. “If you are to guide me,” I sent my deepest breath there, “I am willing to give up what I think I know and follow you. The ever present and persistent aspect that I call ‘calculator’ in me has created quite a bit of tightness and suffering, trying to figure things out, to overcome issues. But I can feel there is something that ‘calculater’ doesn’t know – the whole picture. What is it? Tell me. Show me. My mind may not be sold on it or convinced, but at this moment, I as a mind am willing to be quiet. I know the same old theoretical success could only take me so far. Now you be my guide.”
I need you. A small still voice started from my stomach.
Is that it? I really thought there would be a more “apocalyptic” answer.
Yes. All of you. Let go of the old definitions, including the definition of success, and enjoy life. Remember how relieved you felt when you heard Adamus say that the remainder of your stay on this planet is for the enjoyment of being here?
Are you asking me to work less?
That is another mind calculation. It’s not about more or less. It goes beyond that, my dear. And it’s also simpler than that.
My mind was very confused. It never liked the word “simple.” Meanwhile strange tears welled up in my eyes. What are all of these? Post Heavens Cross, strange things are bound to happen, maybe. I used soft tissues to wipe up my tears before they ruined my make-up. And I breathed some more.
My guidance is for you to accept whatever comes in the moment. Soften all the edges, so you can go with the flow that’s always here.
Wait a moment! A few days ago, I wrote a line on my social media, “I make change in my life by accepting the change that occurs in my life.” Maybe it came from you. Maybe you have always guided me. Maybe I don’t always need that funny feeling in my stomach to get it. We’ll see.
I pulled out the client files for the day. Just as I was going downstairs to meet the first client, my third client messaged me to say that she woke up with a bit of a sore throat and a slight cough. She wanted to reschedule. My fingers quickly typed yes to it before I went to greet my first client.
Between my first and second clients, I had some time to try moving my last client earlier to fill in the newly created vacancy. He responded by saying he actually wished he could do it half an hour later than the original appointment. That gave me the opportunity to propose rescheduling him to a later date.
So here I am, someone who used to hate any last-minute appointment changes, on this particular last Sunday of March, unexpectedly finished her work much earlier. I was still not sure how to categorize this particular day, and I didn’t care. Walking home, uncomfortable and uncertain as I was, I remembered how well into my early twenties, my then boyfriend told me he liked me because I had that child-like wonderment. Maybe it was time to be an enjoyer of this grand mystery of life once again…
Staying with what I was feeling, with no mental activity, I quietly gave myself permission to cross heavens.