One of my most memorable and enlightened networking meetings was with mindfulness expert Cheryl Jones. Our meet up happened in the summer of 2009, right in the middle of a global recession. Her guest article first appeared on my website on June 17, 2009. I feel it is still highly relevant and worthy of reposting in 2021.
Cheryl Jones’s expertise in the field of mindfulness is much needed today as we continue to suffer through massive unemployment as result of the global public health crisis of COVID-19. Cheryl’s advice about the mindset of being in transition is priceless. Please enjoy this article. Take it to heart. Practice it.
by Cheryl Jones
Losing your job or living with the fear of losing your job creates stress. It brings up one of our greatest struggles we share as humans…living with uncertainty. Something has ended but we don’t know what’s next.
While the term ‘in transition’ is socially acceptable especially these days, it offers minimal comfort. Not only are there financial ramifications, there are spiritual ones. It brings up questions like, “Who am I without this job or career?”
Many people confuse their sense of ‘who’ they are by the hats they wear or by the roles they play. Our cultural addiction to ‘doing’ makes it so our value comes from how we perform; what we deliver on time, how much money we save the company, and how many new sales we generate. Without this, we feel lost. I’d like to offer you another possible perspective.
How mindfulness helps
The transition time between one job or one career and the next can be tumultuous. We are often plagued by negative thoughts and feelings including grief, anger, fear, inadequacy, and self-doubt.
I invite you to put on a different lens. Imagine that the space between this job and the next is fertile ground for what is yet to come. Imagine yourself being in preparation mode even if you don’t know what you’re preparing for. The truth is that whether you are aware of it or not, you are on a path.
“Imagine that the space between this job and the next is fertile ground for what is yet to come. Imagine yourself being in preparation mode even if you don’t know what you’re preparing for.”
Mindfulness can help you navigate along your path with greater present moment awareness, better able to see new possibilities and solutions. You will improve your ability to access both your internal and external resources. These are the skills necessary to manage transition.
What mindfulness is and is not
Mindfulness is about being aware and awake in the present moment as it is. It involves being conscious of both our internal and external environments and then learning from what we see. Mindfulness is not something that we can learn from a ‘how to’ book. While it is a technique, there are no steps to follow. Cultivating present moment only comes from practice. We practice noticing the breath, thoughts, feelings, sensations, and sounds. We practice noticing how negative thoughts and feelings create even more stress in an already stressful situation. However, blocking them out isn’t the answer and it isn’t possible anyway.
With mindfulness we begin to skillfully notice the thoughts that go through the mind and bring the attention back to the breath, back to the present moment. We give ourselves permission to acknowledge whatever feelings are present without judgments and without dwelling on them.
How to change your frequency
Your greatest asset is your health. Practicing a high level of self-care during a period of unemployment is critical to your health and well-being. There’s no using the old excuse, “I don’t have time to _____” because right now you do have the gift of time. So make the best of it! Put the time, energy, and care into yourself now so that you can pursue both short term and long term career goals with joy and vigor.
How can you increase your vibration and start attracting into your life what you need to move your life forward? The answer lies in developing a healthy lifestyle now. Here are some questions to help you practice a higher level of self-care so that you feel more positive and more energized:
- How can I move more during my day? What kinds of food could I prepare in advance so that I’m eating healthier snacks? What could I do before bedtime so that my body would be more prepared for sleep?
- What kinds of books/newspapers/magazines feed my mind in a healthy way? What TV programs/movies have a positive effect on me?
- How tuned in am I to what I’m feeling? How could I communicate my needs to others more effectively?
- What conversations do I engage in that nourish me or leave me feeling depleted? How do certain people affect me and what effect might I have on them?
- What gives my life meaning and purpose? What energizes me? What do I care most about?
- What products do I use on my body or in my home that might potentially harm me? How does having an organized or cluttered space affect me?
Here are some of my favorite books on mindfulness:
- Mindful Exercise by Cheryl Jones-Reardon
- Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
- Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
- Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
- Heal Thy Self by Saki Santorelli
- The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
- The Mindful Hiker by Stephen Altschuler
- When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron
- The Mindful Leader by Michael Carroll
- A Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield
About the guest writer. Cheryl Jones, holds a Master’s degree in Exercise Science from the University of Connecticut and a Certificate in Spirituality from Saint Joseph College. She has completed extensive training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Cheryl is a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Health Careers at Manchester Community College and is the author of Mindful Exercise. Drawing from a unique background, she works with inspired individuals and organizations to help them achieve their wellness goals. For more information about mindfulness-based programs visit www.themindfulpath.com.