I want to pay tribute to seven amazing women who were “let go” from UCLA last week. That means 50% of the administrative staff were “let go'” from a program that was running out of funds. The magnificent seven were all diligent employees of a building on campus that serves the cause of scientific research. These women were employed to coordinate work for outreach programs to scientists and to high school students interested in the science as a career. teach yoga in this building and some of those magnificent seven are my yoga students. Most are approaching 50 or a little older. All of them have had the rug pulled out from under them financially and emotionally. The fear of instability reigns. But if I know these eleven women, tenacity will rule. The phoenix will rise again.
It took me a week to process their loss. And then I saw Michelle Obama speak on Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, and I was pumped about how women are amazing creations. I began to process my emotions. First, I know that they will all try to get other jobs on a campus that has been cutting back for several years in all departments. Unfortunately, there aren’t many jobs available for them on campus. Secondly, they will spend the next two months looking for work on campus and then the women will have to leave. The HR people gave them a pep talk but never painted a rosy picture. There is no rosy picture. The job market on a college campus is pretty thin but they will walk around to various building, make calls to friends on campus, and, at the same time, use resources in their communities. Thirdly, my heart is sad and I can’t stop thinking about them. But then there was Michelle picking me up with hope and energy and an inner calm unparalleled in most mortal beings.
My mother taught me that our gender is truly inspiring, independent and resourceful. My magnificent seven are a tenacious and focused group and will go on yet another journey in their lives. They will discover that out of the negative, they will find a positive. They will find other opportunities among friends, relatives, neighborhood associations and businesses and they will succeed because they are truly capable of finding the best of who they are.
Sometimes our gifts we are given are disguised in a negative context. But if we dismiss everything that comes our way because it feels just awful, we might miss that rare gem of a gift that will change our life for the better. I have a friend who says to me: “We can find an opportunity around every corner but first we must be grateful. Actually, it is the negatives I find most interesting because they cause me to work harder at succeeding.”
But it’s hard to change. Change causes stress. It causes us to leave our creature comfort zone. But change can be transformative, it can invigorate, stimulating and it can be a blessing in disguise. Change also makes us brave. When change happens, we need to look for the good, observe the positive in the change, find the lesson in the change. Don’t label the change, don’t judge it, and never anticipate an outcome. I know these women will adapt and find their path, go on their journey and be grateful for the next opportunity.
These magnificent seven will survive and exceed themselves because that’s what we do as women and as productive members of society. I’m not saying it will be an easy road, but that which makes us stronger will produce growth and eventually transform us.
I will always think about these eleven women and I will continue to send them love and light on their new journey.