“You cannot protect yourself from sadness
without protecting yourself from happiness.”
-Jonathan Safran Foer
This week feels like a victory lap after a wildly-challenging year. I don’t know about you, but when 12 months pass in complete upheaval, I’d gladly take some real, external challenges over the pants-pooping scenarios we conjure up inside.
What’s with all this insistence on being afraid?
Krishna described our persistent, epic battle to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. Our little body-bound ego clings to the old familiar drama, while The Soul is adamant about writing something on a far grander scale.
All pain comes from holding on. Clinging, striving, and comparing, are just slightly different versions of hanging on.
You can’t take on massive change without enduring some pain and sadness. Any pain I’ve experienced this year came whenever I wasn’t acknowledging my true feelings. There were patches where I was grieving my old life (job, home, sense of security, work relationships), while I was celebrating my bitchin’ new life (home, business, friends, neighbors).
The Soul operates at the higher vibe of pure love, acceptance, and oneness. So when the ego refuses to see things as they are—to be bravely sober with the hard realities of human emotions— the tension can become unbearable.
As I bounced around NYC earlier this week, I met with clients, old friends, and new allies. Two days packed with the magic that reminds us who we are, and how far we’ve come.
My January Self would be emerging from fetal ball right now, trembling, and saying: “So, we Did end up with some clients?! Thank God.” Not just any clients. Early adopters. Believers. Allies I’d lovingly create insane value for beyond any contract.
And as the checks roll in through the holidays I look outside at the snowflakes floating down. I’m sitting in a giant room of windows facing the woods. It’s a view I had no idea existed– relative to my old life a mile up the road.
It occurs to me: any sadness was worth it. So was the uncertainty, the variable income, the never-ending learning curves of turning myself into a business.
Because whatever emotions tore through, I had no choice but to honor them, sit with them, and get to know them fully. Time constraints wouldn’t allow me to hide.
I held this false belief that people relied on me to only see the magic of life. That I needed to project my positive “All is Well” light in any and all circumstances. It’s a job that has felt increasingly important in our brutal world, facing ominous times.
When the truth is, all anyone needs us to do is to show up and Be Human. Our messy, stressy, fleetingly genius, temporarily flailing selves. The Magic is always in the rebound, in our redemption.
There’s a line I wrote for one of my culture clients. It’s for their new Mission + Values, on a little card a few hundred employees received. The line reads: “There is no failure on a path of continuous improvement”. The flip side of the card reads “BE BOLD.”
The only failure is when we quit showing up, or when we temporarily block our channels from letting our light blaze through.
I’ve been polishing my skylights all year, up on my actual roof, and also figuratively.
2016 will always be a point arrival and a point of departure. It’s the year I truly released the need to always be happy. Or strong. Or to appear like I always know what the hell I’m doing, or what’s going on.
I don’t need to. We only need to love what we’re doing, and what we’re creating.
That way, whenever we feel devastated, or scared shitless we know it’s all worth it. Our Divinity always knows what matters.
So, how was your year thus far?