Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Boldness had genius, power and magic in it

Five hundred people at my former company got laid off today. Among them were ten people from my former magazine, two of them very dear friends, one of them the writer I had long worked with. There are now only four editors left at that magazine, and one assistant editor, plus the editor in chief and executive editor. Also the meagre art department and production crew and the business side of course. Down from a staff of more than seventy when I was first hired 19 years ago, before the media giant bought the little magazine that not only could, but did. I believe the media company that bought out the magazine a little more than a decade ago has been slowly choking the life out of the once-proud brand. I am angry all over again today. It feels like remembered trauma, like an actual blow to the gut, a pummeling in the chest area, I swear. And so deeply unfair. But I cannot live with such bile inside me; I have to process this and work it out of my system. This happened. It happened to me. And today it happened to 500 more people. And we move on.

I suppose if I hadn't been let go when I was last September, I would have missed another opportunity, one that practically fell into my lap on the Monday morning after the Friday the thirteenth when I was told my job had been eliminated. That would have been a shame, because I absolutely love the work I do for this publishing venture, and the writers I am able to work with. And last week, another opportunity came my way, one with it's share of complications, but still an excellent thing, and just in time to make me feel that perhaps we, my family and me, will be okay. I'm trying to notice that the universe sends me little clues along the way to tell me not to worry so much, to trust myself, to trust how events will unfold. And so I will put my shoulder to the wheel and press ahead, because this will either work out okay, or it will work out okay. I choose to believe I am blessed and that is all.

Here's a photo of one of my blessings, my son, fresh from his final exam last night for his EMT class, which he aced. All that is left are his clinicals and then the State certification exam. Last weekend, at the Armory where he was coaching his team in a meet, at which, by the way, his triple jumpers took first and second place medals, there was a booth set up to recruit for the FDNY, and so of course my son went over to them and he is now in the system, one step closer to his dream.

I am reminded of something the German philosopher Goethe is supposed to have said: Move and the universe moves with you. I think I quoted that in the very first post I ever did on this blog, way back in June of 2008. Here is the quote attributed to Goethe, though there is some question as to whether these words are actually his, as they have never been found in his original language.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

That one's for you, my dear children. And for me too.



30 comments:

  1. I've always loved that quote. I feel sad for those 500, but I hope they can all adopt an attitude that's useful to them and clear and guiding, like the one you express here. And that is just a beautiful photograph of your son.

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    1. Thank you Andrea. I know what they are all going through today, even the ones who are happy to be let go, and there are some of those, because that company has been brutal to work for, with layoffs twice a year every year but one in the past decade. And the CEO who managed to preside over a year with no layoffs was himself let go at the end of that year. Nice to see you here.

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  2. This is a post that made me sigh, and pause before I commented. And so many thoughts to think about it. I understand the layoffs. Not as intimately as some, but I understand it. I understand your work becoming something that affects you at the gut-level.

    Your boy looks so strong and handsome - It is an honor to watch him at his very beginning of everything.

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    1. SJ, he is at the start of it all, isn't he. He is a little impatient, that one, but so hard working. Thank you.

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  3. And for me too. Oh Angella! May these tiny signposts be indicative of the path you should take. And hell- you have your own machete.
    There is no stopping true will and talent and love. I believe that.
    Loving you...M

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    1. Dear Mary, thank you! Yes I will wield my own path clearing magic, Yes!

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  4. I've never read that quote, but wow. It resonates like a bell, like a gong, like a hand clap and an admonition. Thank you. It's so much truth.

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    1. Elizabeth, it resonates with me too, it hardly matters whether Goethe said it or someone else. It is brilliant, and it rings true for me too.

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  5. I am so happy to read about your new directions and may it all work out well for you and your family! Your handsome boy looks tired. I am sure you are looking after him.

    I wish the wonderful quote was from Goethe, it could almost be (I had to study the man in college at a time when my appreciation of his works was limited) but no.
    More here: http://www.goethesociety.org/pages/quotescom.html

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    1. Dear Sabine, you see very deeply. Yes he was tired. It had been a long day for him as he went to his coaching job and then class and then the final exam on a very snowy night with the class starting time delayed an hour. But he did well, and was a little euphoric in his weariness that he was almost at the finish line. Yes, we try to look after him, but this one is inclined to burn the candle at both ends, and sometimes there is nothing we can do about that but have his bed waiting for him. He is one of the reasons why I pray. And thanks for the link about the quote. I have known that there is some question about the author of that quote, but I do love it anyway.

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  6. I. Love. That. Quote. And I believe it.

    I'm happy that you and the universe are aligning. And congrats to your tall, handsome boy. May the universe continue to unfold before him as well (and for the 500).

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    1. Nancy, i believe it too! May the universe align for us all, and may we see whatever doors we are supposed to walk through. I adore you.

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  7. You are brave and bold, yes you are. I think trusting is a good thing, and I believe very strongly in the power of positive thinking. I'm so excited for your new opportunity, for some breathing room.
    And excited to see your son moving closer toward his dream.
    Thank you for the quote, it is a very good one, especially for my family lately.
    xo

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    1. Darling Mel, breathing room is good. I am trying to change my worry habit; it is so darn reflexive. I always love to see you here. hugs, friend.

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  8. Onward, Angella! It seems the universe it quickening the gears lately. We're all in the same sea, just different boats. I'm sorry to hear about your past company. Hopefully your friends will find a similar path as you, one that leads to better happiness. xoxo

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    1. Thanks, Rachel. May your boat carry you wherever you dream! Mine too!

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  9. I love that quote and I love that you are feeling more positive about your path.

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    1. Kristin, that quote says everything. xo

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  10. angella, what a blow, to hear about the layoffs. it's scary and it's the future. we are seeing a sea change in publishing. our children's children will have a radically different relationship to print media than we did, if they have any relationship to it at all. how could so much change so fast? but kudos to you and the work that you are doing now; it's the right place to be, still scary, still unknown, but far less frightening than waiting for that other shoe to drop. kudos to that gorgeous, strong son; kudos to the boldness in all of us, and especially in you.

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    1. Susan, my children really don't read magazines; they get their news online, and fill their thirst for the kinds of features magazines used to offer on sites like buzz feed and unworthy. and yes, the change was lightening fast. We all need to be proficient in the digital world, now. Even traditional book publishers are starting ebook imprints. Thanks for the good thought!

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  11. I have to say, I have zero feelings about a company that let me go. You know why? Because they let me go--how can I have feelings for a company that had no feelings for me? However, I have a few friends still there that I do care about so they are always in my thoughts.

    I know you're going through a healing process, which is healthy--but you can smile knowing that it was a blessing in disguise :). You have so many great things going for you, especially with your beautiful family.

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    1. Candice, it was indeed a blessing, and I do think it has discarded its disguise! Thanks, friend.

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  12. It's so good to hear that you're finding meaning in your new job. How true that the closing of one door leads to the opening of another. Congrats to your son, who seems to turn to gold everything he touches.
    Goethe's (or whomever's) words ring so true... getting started on something is always THE hardest part (and for me, the millstone around my neck)... once you get going you wonder what took you so long...

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    1. Hi Deborah, it's not really a job; it's a freelance gig, but it's semi regular and i love the work. that said, i definitely need to supplement to get back to the vicinity of where we were before as a family, with our very expensive college tuition bill! But "begin it now" is a clarion call. So nice to see you here! love to you and ron.

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  13. Ugh. I'm so sorry for all those other people. I keep thinking, when will it stop? But it NEVER stops.

    Anyway, I'm glad opportunities have opened up for you as a result. The universe moves in mysterious ways, and whether Goethe said it or not, it behooves us all to move with it!

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    1. Steve, it NEVER stops. You got that right. But we never stop, either, so there will be a new normal at some point. Always.

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  14. I've heard that same idea in different words lately. I hope it is not selfish to point out the way that your recent ventures have sent threads out all across the country, creating opportunities for so many of us that I am so grateful for, and I know others are as well. You are deeply talented and dedicated and yes, you have your own magic.

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    1. B--, thank you for this absolutely lovely comment. It is I who have felt most blessed by those threads. It feels like ordained work. Is that crazy? Love to you, dear friend.

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  15. What a great lady you are! I'm beginning to notice, at my great age, that misfortunes (despite our devastated reactions to them) are often localized events in our lives. I need to remember that. On another note, concerning the most recent layoffs you mention: I sometimes imagine that the successful corporation of the future will consist only of upper management, CEO's, COO's, C-Whatever-O's, and all their little PA's. Their "product" will be their Brand, and we will continue to pay them according to Facebook-like "Likes" because that will be "the way things are."

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    1. Glenn, I think that's what they think; it's certainly where they are headed, but you know what? I think they are in for a rude awakening. Or maybe I just hope that. Not such a great lady after all! Hugs.

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