On overcoming adversity

climbing to the top of a mountainHaving gone through a particularly trying time over the past couple of years or so, involving pretty much every type of major life-changing event (moving, career changes, divorce, child-custody battle, loss of parents, etc), I made some time to write down my thoughts about it, to write the whole story from my perspective, what it was like, mistakes I made, what I did right and what I learned. There is not room for that here, nor is it the proper venue. However, some key things are worth memorializing. These things require no explanation:

1. Feelings. Don’t hide them. Feelings are a part of the language you have with yourself and enable intimacy. They’re tidal and move in and out of your internal ocean against the orbital gravity of your moons, whatever they may be. These moons and oceans are yours. Feel them fully. Walk out into the clear light of them and the darkness and the rain. Let them wash over you. They are temporary.

2. Show up. Do your best. 

3. Opportunities come and go. You will always find them if and when they don’t find you.

4. The word ‘no.’ It is a complete and full sentence.

5. Needs. You have them. Sometimes it is a frightening thing to name them, for fear they won’t be met and will fall into a void of neglect. They also connect us all, a part of something larger than yourself. Don’t apologize for having them. Also, remember they are less than the tip of a pin to the overall scope and scale of the world and the Universe. 

6. The relationship you have with your child. Parenting is not easy and sometimes it is so meaningful you try to memorize every moment, such as how he looks out of the corner of his eye when he is about to laugh at something. What stories do you want to leave with him? Don’t over think it. Keep it simple: just love him, share your stories and continue to be available to him consistently. Continue to lift him up. Don’t worry if he gets bogged down with someone else’s fear, doubt or schisms. Let him be the child he is for the time being. Protect that right. Gently hold the reigns and help guide him to discover his own identity.

7. Continue to absorb the in-between moments. They are as pure as you like.

8. Idealism. You are still secretly committed to helping everyone be their best selves whether they are interested in it or not. Solutions-oriented in a world of complainers? Don’t let that get you down.

9. Marriage. Divorce. Staying. Leaving. Your choice, your choice, your choice.

10. Changing your mind. Totally legal and acceptable.

11. Writing. Words. Music. Art. Expression. Creation. Evolution. Learning better how to learn. Necessary. Continue to instill it in the boy. It is already in him. Lead by example.

 Remember: this is all quite temporary.

The relationships you want to give your very limited time in this world to. Your choice. If it is true, you are a combination of the 5 people you share the most company with – you will share and absorb their ambitions, talent, intellect, success, potential and, yes, integrity. 

14. Boundaries. Take time to explain yourself. If someone is continually asking you to explain the reasons and whys of your boundaries, it’s usually an indication that they are not honoring them. Spend as little time and energy as possible on those people. Isolate them into a box where the energy is as mechanical as possible. Save your best for the rest who nurture you back as you nurture them. 

15. People have opinions about politics, economics, science, philosophy and it’s really all for their own entertainment.

16. No more small talk. Let the big ideas come right out. 

17. Who cares who has the killer idea or who makes mistakes? There’s a mountain in front of us. Let’s get to the top of it together and celebrate.

18. Celebrate the small stuff.

19. Continue to trust and let love in. It’s worked well so far. You may be disappointed when someone isn’t able to or chooses not to trust back but don’t let that affect your ability to be open to the world, ideas and possibilities.