Oh gratitude, it has taken me so long to understand how you work. And most days I do, and if I don’t I know how to get back to you, even if it takes all day.
When I left my life in New York City almost three years ago [after meeting Jacob to move back to California where I was from] I had no clue what I was getting into. All I had was a little intuition that the life I was leading needed to change.
Sometimes people ask me advice. They ask me what to do with their relationship. They ask me about self esteem. They ask me about career direction. They ask me about anxiety.
Through my own journey I’ve learned to respond to others with questions rather than answers. All the advice in the world can’t change someone. The metaphors about moving through the darkness before seeing the light are true–but when a person is in darkness it’s hard to contemplate light, let alone see it. In this society we do everything in our nature as humans to organize and control what feels like an unpredictable world. We are terrified of darkness and quiet.
Sometimes you have to fake yourself out to be able to see what I call “the light.” Eventually that story of light becomes your reality, but the journey to that point is terrifying. You can’t see what’s in front of you.
What I’ve learned is the big tests are not in any one moment. The tests are inl the moments leading up; the preparation, the habitual good choices, the optimism. The tests are the late nights spent hovering over work. It’s those nights you spend scrubbing that one last spot on XYZ. The tests are in the mornings where you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and the commitment to not act out of frustration–but take the time to change your state. The tests are in those moments where one decides to make great sacrifices of what’s comfortable in order to do what needs to be done. The tests are the two roads diverged in the wood, and you take the right one, not the easy one.
The Big Secret: the Answers Are ALL INSIDE
This year I got serious about looking inside. I got serious about being grateful for what’s in front of me rather than some moment in the future. This is the year that I spent thousands on getting better tools to communicate and show respect to people in my life. I spent countless resources and hours on self improvement. I made it my job.
I committed to going to long way to be a better person.
Today I give myself a very long leash. I don’t force myself to do things just because they’ve been ingrained in me. I’ve learned how to work myself out of a system I was not happy in. I’ve learned to accept and embrace that I am mostly separate from the dominant system we operate it. I have chosen to work outside of it because it makes me content.
Here’s my official 2012 gratitude list.
1. The choice to be positive.
2. The escape into my own mind and body during meditation
3. That I learned how to channel all the angst and pain I felt into something positive (see Project Enough).
4. My love and forever man Jacob who has been with me through really thick and and really thin.
5. My smiling puppy Athena who cuddles with me while watching Netflix when Jacob is out of town.
6. That I healed myself, and in doing so healed my relationships (family, friends and otherwise).
7. Gilfriend Suze Orman who has been my unofficial money mentor.
8. I’m grateful for my clients–all of whom I admire and respect–and give me the opportunity to work on things I love for people I care about.
9. I’m VERY grateful that I have dealt with the mishagas so that now I am a stronger person–and all of that was a result of being vulnerable and learning how to ask for help.
10. Grateful that I don’t feel the rush as I used to. I have learned how to slow down, read things twice, and think about consequences before I act.
The point of this post is no one can tell you what to do. You need to feel it in your bones that you need to change–whatever that journey is–and through that journey you will gain the understanding, and then the physical terrain of your life will change–in a big way–and when it finally does happen it will happen overnight.
More than anything I’m grateful for the life I have. Life is a precious and beautiful thing–and it should not be taken for granted.
If you’re interested I wrote a gratitude list with Jacob in 2010 and another one in 2011.