Thursday, April 29, 2010

How a Hike in Nature Centers Me

The above photograph was taken by one lady's iPhone at a scenic stopping point on a five mile path up and around Multnomah Falls just east of Portland, along the Columbia River Gorge(ous). The guy on the right is Jeff, a church member who started a hiking group that meets one or two Saturday mornings a month to hike somewhere. I went on the one in March that covered the trails in the hills overlooking Portland. It was fun and relaxing. In fact, I was amazed by the amount of clarity I received in the days after the hike. Sign me up for more!

The second hike was canceled due to rain. That one was in a different part of Portland. This past Saturday, though, the hike was on despite threats of rain. Jeff's wife is Japanese, so I enjoyed getting to know them better during March's hike. However, this time, she opted to take their children to OMSI (science museum, which has a special exhibit about space exploration). Other church members met us at the main building near Multnomah Falls. All together, there were five of us, though one decided she had enough after walking a third of the trail. As often happens among fellow church members, I learned of a coincidence with one lady and myself. Her father and my father are both from Atchison, Kansas and might have even gone to high school together. I forgot what she said his name is so I could ask my dad about him. Anyhow, that was pretty strange. The lady's husband works for Nike and was currently traveling in Brazil and Argentina for work. Why can't I have a job like that? I seriously want a job where I travel a lot.

When my parents visited in October 2008, they spent a week in Portland and a week in Seattle. Because my dad wants to see as much of everything as possible, we did a rush tour of two parts of Oregon (the northern half of the Oregon coast, from Florence to Astoria; and the Columbia Gorge to Mount Hood loop). We visited Multnomah Falls but did not hike the trails beyond the bridge that goes across the middle section of the waterfalls. Thus, when Jeff emailed people about the week's hike, I knew I wanted to go on this one.

It is interesting that just when our MAYAs group fell apart late last year (after Christine left for Europe), I find another church group to be a part of. This one is not age specific to young adults, but to anyone who is interested in hiking with fellow church members. Thus, I got to meet the new pastor, Ann, who called me a "Cheaster" church member (those who only attend on Christmas and Easter, which was inaccurate, because I overslept on Easter Sunday and missed out on going to church like I wanted to).

In our conversation, I told her that I've been undergoing a crisis and didn't feel like anyone at church could understand my plight, thus why I've not been attending church. Its not a fault of anyone. Just a reflection that the crisis I'm in can only be solved by me and how I wish that God would offer the guidance or light the way to lead me out of my despair of being in a job I hate more than I've ever hated anything in my entire life. I can't begin to tell you the depth of my hatred for the organization and people I work for. And I hate the feeling of hatred. Its a wasted emotion and not productive. However, its also natural that this feeling would grow the longer my job search continues and my biggest fear since childhood being true: being stuck in a job I hate for the rest of my life.

This hike allowed me to forget about work (the past week was really stressful, as my supervisor and I are at the breaking point where we can no longer stand each other and hardly speak to one another. She had three disruptive family dramas in the month of April and I'm truly getting sick of her constant and ongoing drama because she dumps everything on me and plays the victim card to management, who buy it). During the hike, I kept focusing on the question that has been at the forefront of my mind for a couple weeks now: should I move to D.C. in August or not?

During the hike, I just enjoyed the scenery, as we passed various waterfalls and the path continued to wind around an up the steep hillside at a gradual degree. By the time we reached the top and looked down at the cars passing by on Interstate 84, I was amazed how high up we walked when it did not even feel like we walked that far or steeply. Its an awesome trail, and just one of quite a few. I'd love to do more hikes in that area.

Leave it to nature to restore one's sanity and clarity. The three hours spent in the trees and hills around Multnomah Falls did my soul a lot of good. At the end of the hike, I was reminded about the reason I wanted to move out to the Pacific Northwest and settle here. It really is the most beautiful part of the country I have ever seen (and I've been to all 50 states). I still want to stay here, but in order to do so, I really need to find a better job that is more in line with my personality and values. Honestly, if I don't get out of there this year, I feel as though I'm as good as dead. I'm mentally exhausted by a never ending search for a better job, of unanswered prayers to God about the direction I need to pursue, and of my inability to make positive changes in my organization.

The February incident when a few co-workers decided to go to a strip club after I told them about the potential for being discovered and presented to the media illustrates the difference between my visionary outlook versus their short-sighted thrill seeking. As I learned from someone, there happened to be a newspaper reporter at the club looking to catch clergy members and conservative politicians that night and wouldn't you know? She hit the jackpot when eight employees of a conservative organization that is best known for discriminating against homosexuals and atheists while claiming to be a family values organization came waltzing through the door, with a manager even unknowingly dropping his business card. If I have more common sense and cautious outlook, why doesn't the organization value that instead of someone who is good at faking the membership numbers to reach set quotas every month or quarter?

I was disappointed that none of my numbers came up in the recent lottery drawing ($252 million) for the Powerball. Some twentysomething redneck with missing teeth from the Hoosier state won. Why do I get the feeling that he's going to be broke in five years? Winning that money would have set me up for life, as I would no longer have to work for incompetent and unethical managers who are obsessed about quantity over quality. I really am interested in forming my own foundation work and developing a leadership style that reflects the values expressed in the excellent book Spirit Matters (by Michael Lerner) that I had read in 2001. I don't see any company out there that is free from the conformist mindset of a typical capitalistic corporation. If unlimited growth is considered unsustainable to our planet's natural resources, then our mode of organization needs a revolutionary change. The new focus needs to be QUALITY, not quantity.

Thus, if I can't have the money to form my own foundation to put my ideas into practice as I work to develop a new economic and social model, then I want to work for a company (or government) that values innovative thought and employees. I'm tired of working for managers who are so afraid of the support staff that they hide in their office kingdoms and barely speak to the people who do most of the grunt work. Their fear of the low people in the crappy wage jobs only creates a negative atmosphere where I feel like doing as little as possible during the day. I'm wasting away my talents the longer I work for the organization I work for.

At the end of the hike, I felt as though I still want to stay in Portland, but a new job needs to materialize by June at the very latest. If I'm not in a new job by June, I will spend July reducing my things and preparing for a move. I'll also devote July to applying to overseas jobs as well as seeing what the job market is like in Washington, D.C. For now, I'm putting the terms to the universe. If I'm meant to stay here, then I need to be in a new job before June ends. The costs of staying in a job I hate any longer than four years is simply too high. There is nothing else for me to learn or experience in this situation. Its simply a bad deja vu trip from the worst aspects of my Atlanta job, and ironically makes the office in Atlanta look like a dream place to work.

The ultimate question will be: can the universe deliver on what I've requested for more than 40 months now? There is no good to be gained by my continued employment in an organization I do not respect and have no interest in (in fact, I'd love for lawyers all across the country to sue the organization into bankruptcy). Please, God, deliver me to the promise career where my passion for international cooperation is valued and needed in an organization that shares my progressive vision and values. That is my request to the universe for manifestation this summer, on the twentieth anniversary of my high school graduation and Naval enlistment. Its not an unreasonable request, is it?


Mandalynn said...

I haven't been hiking since the fall, but your post inspired me to make it to the canyons soon. Or as soon as it warms up here - it snowed today!!

Anonymous said...

thank you for you to make me learn more,thank you∩0∩