Having dinner with a good friend jump starts me in many ways. We have not been friends for years but we have an immediate connection which I treasure. I can talk to him about almost everything. Today I have spent time looking inward at myself and these things I have learned and what I know now is not true:
Problems are bad. You spent your school years solving arbitrary problems imposed by boring authority figures. You learned that problems stink. But people without real problems go mad and invent things like base jumping and wedding planning. Real problems are wonderful, each carrying the seeds of its own solution. Job burnout? It’s steering you toward your perfect career. An awful relationship? It’s teaching you what love means. Confusing tax forms? They’re suggesting you hire an accountant, so you can focus on more interesting tasks, such as flossing. Finding the solution to each problem is what gives life its gusto.
It’s important to stay happy. Solving a knotty problem can help us be happy, but we don’t have to be happy to feel good. “It’s okay to be as sad as I need to be.” This kind of permission to feel as we feel—not continuous happiness—is the foundation of well-being.
It matters what people think of me. This dreaded fate causes despair, suicide, homicide.. Ridiculous! Right now, imagine what you’d do if it absolutely didn’t matter what people thought of you. Got it? Good. Never go back. As my wise Irish grandmother used to say, “if they are talking about me, they are leaving someone else alone.”
Loss is terrible. What I now know is that losses aren’t cataclysmic if they teach the heart and soul their natural cycle of breaking and healing. A real tragedy? That’s the loss of the heart and soul themselves. If you’ve abandoned yourself in the effort to keep anyone or anything else, unlearn that pattern. Live your truth, losses be damned. Just like that, your heart and soul will return home. I learned this when my house caught on fire and I lost so much. But out of the ashes came MY HOME, and helped propel me to a new ME.