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The Great Resignation

I recall the naïveté of the start of the pandemic. Now, we laugh at our thoughts that we would experience a month of inconvenience and that life would return to normal. This didn’t happen, of course, and we are forever changed in ways that are unfolding. 


The term “The Great Resignation” has been used to describe the widespread resignation from jobs. I believe we also experienced a collective inner resignation which arose from working with our own particular suffering as we were also denied our usual distractions. For me, this was loneliness. At the end of the 2 year lockdown, I quit my job in Hawaii and moved back home to the east coast. But first I took a month-long drive across the mainland United States. 


Meeting the mainland after the pandemic was a process of reacquaintance. We both felt lonely. The poignant loneliness characterizing a road trip of the past was now a resigned loneliness bordering on despair, still beautiful but thicker in texture and darker in light. And it stretched out to unknown horizons. There was no escape. 


As a student of zen and taoist emotional alchemy, I have studied suffering and our “dark” emotions. Sitting with our discomfort, approving of it, and even reveling in it is the process by which we move through. Sitting still through the metaphorical fire as we have, delusions which keep us stuck often drop off on their own. This photo essay is a celebration of mine and everyone’s great resignation -- our sitting at length with our loneliness and despair. What drops away is ours to experience.

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