Moving through a life transition does not happen overnight, within a week or month, nor even a year. In fact, Bruce Feiler, in his book, Life is in the Transitions, contends we spend one-half of our lives in the unsettled state of transitions. He even asserts the length of a massive life transition may last an average of five years. Having the knowledge and skills to move through changes in our life is so valuable. So, let’s move on to Level 2 Energy and explore how it plays out in a life transition.
Level 2 is the second component of The Old Ending. In Level 2 , our core thought centers around conflict as it relates to the event or situation. At this level, we think we are ‘in the right’ about the event or situation, and that being right will make us happy. We may even go so far as to think we deserve to be happy because we are right.
At this level our emotions and feelings are predominated by anger, We feel afraid. We focus on blaming others and ourselves. You know what I am talking about the ‘should haves,’ would haves,’ and could haves’ of our lives. The conflict coupled with our anger, fear, and blame shows up in our actions of defiance, such as being disrespectful, uncooperative, and even rebellious.
Here is how my life played out, at Level 2, following the loss of my job. Eventually, after a couple of days of pleading, knowing my job was being eliminated, I was offered a position, within the same organization, at a different location, 18 miles away. The job description was vague. I would be filling in for vacations and sickness which meant no set schedule, and I could cover three different shifts working as needed whenever. I was pissed, to put it mildly. I was also afraid, no job, no money. I blamed incompetent and poor management, within the department, that this was happening to me. I declined the offer. Then for the remaining days of my employment, I frequently showed up late, spoke little to my office mate who was remaining in her full time position, and I refused to start a new project and smugly declared, I would not start something I could not finish, and let someone else finish and take the credit.
Because I was in such a state of anger and defiance my world around me also suffered, family and friends were targets of my feelings and behavior, and who wants to be around that energy? This energy was even spilling over into my job searching. I had four interviews with one organization, in the end I was told there was no money in the budget for the position I interviewed for, so I blamed the organization for not having their act together and for costing me a lot of money in travel and time. I was scraping by financially on unemployment compensation, so I blamed the government for not having money to go to a movie, out to eat, buy a new outfit, or take a dream vacation. It was not until years later when I could look back and acknowledge the role I played in all of this.
Leaving The Old Ending involves moving from the catabolic or negative energy of Level 1 and Level 2 into the anabolic or positive energy levels that begin with Level 3. It took me ten months to find my next position. I had to move to Level 3 before that could happen. More about Level 3 and my new position tomorrow.