This morning, I had to do the difficult job of letting our gardener go, we’ll call him John. While John’s a nice guy and I’ve enjoyed working along side him on various projects for the past couple of years, he just didn’t have the level of knowledge we needed.
Yesterday, when I finally made the decision, I automatically started playing a tape of negative thoughts such as, “how can you do this, he has two little kids? He needs the money. He’s not going to take this well. He’s going to be angry. I feel so bad doing this to him.”
Once I became present enough to become aware of my thoughts, I consciously chose to change them. “It’s my right to hire and pay someone based upon their qualifications, not their needs. Who am I to know what is right or good for John? He may accept this well. It might even be good for him.”
Early this morning I sent John lots and lots of love. I intended that he’d take the news well and understand that it wasn’t him personally, but simply his lack of knowledge for our particular needs. Despite it being the first week of the month, I decided to pay him for the full month so that he’d have a small cushion. I sent us both compassion for the situation.
Before he arrived, I decided to share with the kids that I was letting John go and, of course, they wanted to know why. I explained that some of the trees were dying, the roses were pruned incorrectly, and things were generally not getting done. They accused me of being unfair, asked why I couldn’t just teach him, and said I was a mean person–exactly what I’d been thinking all day yesterday. I tried to use this as a teaching moment — that difficult situations can be handled peacefully, with good intentions, and love. And, that it was the right thing to do despite it seemingly being mean. They weren’t buying it outwardly, so I’ll just have to hope the seed was planted.
When John arrived, I increased my grounding, got in the center of my head and heart, and walked out to speak to him. These are good things to do for any meeting, but especially something potentially confrontational. With a smile and love, I explained the situation and handed him the check. Surprisingly (or not?), he understood completely, asked me a few questions which I honestly answered, and we departed on good terms. As I walked back to the house, I was filled with emotion so I went to my bedroom and allowed the tears to flow.
I didn’t want the whole day to be uncomfortable because I was suppressing pent-up emotions. While I felt great spiritually, I needed to acknowledge my body’s reaction–sure I’d done the energy work and things went well, but still, it brought up a lot–mainly “nice girl” pictures–and I wanted to let those go. It just took a minute or two to let them out, reground, center, take a deep breath and feel immensely better.
The reason I’m sharing this story is mainly because I wanted to talk about doing what’s right for you. We’re often taught to think of other people’s needs before our own and this is completely backwards. When I became hyper-conscious and present this morning, I suddenly realized that I’d known John hadn’t been working out for more than a year, but I’d put blinders on because I just hadn’t wanted to face all those negative thoughts about me being unkind, selfish, etc. Also, I’d just assumed on auto pilot that he needed this job. In other words, I was putting his needs above my own.
If I had been truly kind and loving, I would have dealt with the situation a year ago when I’d first realized he wasn’t working out. Now he’s gone a whole year thinking he’s been doing a good job. Maybe, had I let him go back then, he’d have figured out he needed more experience and knowledge and done something about it possibly getting even more referrals, better jobs, greater income, etc. Who knows, maybe he just bought a car or something since he was counting on my income and he wouldn’t have done that a year ago.
There are all sorts of scenarios that could have played out had I let John go as soon as I realized I should. I didn’t because I hadn’t allowed for any positive possibilities since I was so unconsciously certain that I needed to help him. Wow, that’s pretty egotistical isn’t it? Yep, and that’s exactly why doing what’s right for you is the most loving choice because it sends the universe the message that you want others to do what’s right for them.
Ok, that was/is confusing so we’ll have to discuss that another time, but this second awareness surprised me even more and so, despite, this becoming quite a long post, I’ll share it quickly.
After I re-entered the kitchen all calm and collected from my re-grounding, the three kids were still pretty mad at me and accusatory, which was understandable. One of my kids, however, became really angry and started taking down the quotes we have on our walls and shouting at me, “your fired!” Since I was still in hyper-present moment, I didn’t become angry or defensive, but rather looked at this child quietly and noticed he/she was desperately fighting back tears. I’ve always known this kid was super sensitive, but it hasn’t been at the forefront of my consciousness with all the business of our lives lately.
My heart went out to him/her and I just sent them love and compassion. Now it makes more sense why this child lashes out and we’ve had some growing conflicts recently. I’d chalked it up to age development, but now I see with crystal clarity that he picks up on everyone’s emotions and that’s a heavy burden to carry. Rather than fight him, I need to make sure I’m keeping my own energy in check and clean. It’s also a good reminder for me to revisit with the kids how they can own their energetic space so they are not so affected by other people’s emotions. In the meantime, I can have much more empathy for this particular child with my renewed awareness of his/her extreme sensitivities. Sometimes when we’re so busy getting through the days, our awareness of the depth of life can become dulled.
As difficult as this morning was, it served as a wonderful wake-up call for me to be more actively and intensely present. I hope you’re inspired, too. Now go out and do what’s right for you!