It’s coffee spilled on your laptop, no reception, a flat tire, a rejection, debt, divorce. It’s pain, sickness, death, uncertainty. People call it misery, trouble, suffering or pain. I call it adversity and it comes in all shapes, complexions and sizes.
I am no expert at adversity, I’m definitely as inexperienced at it as you can get. What I do know is that no one is immune to it, when it hits, it feels defeating, confounding, and crushing. The worst adversity feels paralyzing, devastating, tragic.
I lost my job a year ago. It’s not nearly the worst thing I went through by a long shot (I was in the hospital for a weak and almost died once) but it affected me in ways I did not expect. The circumstances were unethical, borderline unlawful and petty but what bothered me ran deeper than that.
It all stems from my belief that all people are good and in time, you can find humanity in anyone. Even if I catch just a glimpse it is totally worth the wait.
My work brought me in contact with people that regularly reinforced that belief; they were so beautiful and so inspiring. But there were also some who were so territorial of their little 4×4 plots of status, accomplishment and ego that they became so ugly and small. I worked in a school, a setting where people are supposed to help others, not protect their interests.
It felt kinda like this:
The whole place was like Catch-22 actually.
It went against what I believed, seeing people do things so wrong -things they went home and taught their children not to do- enough times that it became the right thing. I knew that they had people who loved them, children, spouses, friends who saw them in a totally different way and that bothered me even more.
Instead of obsessing, like I did, I wish I realized that this too shall pass.
Using an impressive Rube-Goldberg machine, the band OKGO shows how life is so interconnected. Life experiences; the beautiful and the graceful, the harsh and the painful all flow into each other leading you to places you never imagined. Wherever you are, be there, until you can’t anymore. Sometimes you need to walk away, sometimes you need to be pushed out. It’s fine.
I work in a better setting, I’m writing more, I’m working on two books, I keep trying (and failing) to start a podcast. I learned important lessons and I’m better for the experience. It al happened for a reaon.
Adversity has this way of upgrading even adapting just when you get a grip. Sometimes it just feels like it’s punishing you.
This too shall pass.
I pushed against the bitterness, I refused to hate, and I found forgiveness and clarity. Today I feel empathy and pity for those people who feel so trapped and scared that they felt they had to behave that way (not that I would want to hang out with any of them just yet or that I won’t work try to change the way things are in too many schools). I also had to acknowledge and accept that there are people out there who feel the same ways about me.
In the thick of it, I felt trapped, confused and frustrated first by the circumstance, then by my own mind. It took time to work through and re-center myself.
This too shall pass.
I do a simple self-inventory. I consider how much I have, how blessed I am and how priceless my experiences and relationships are and they are so valuable no matter the circumstances. Next, I concentrate on the fact that whatever is happening, it’s only temporary. In an hour, a day even a year it will pass.
In those suffocating moments, the only thing I know of that can pull anyone through is an unwavering sense of self-purpose and a belief that no matter what happens, there is +a greater context to fit into; a kind of optimism that sees a larger picture out there that you believe in and can get to. You will feel sadness and pain but nothing will be bigger than what you are living for and so you will keep on living. I still have a work to do in that area but I’ll get there someday.
I also realized recently that I should not just try to get through any hard situation; I should embrace it, and try to smile through it a bit more. Things pass better when you realize it was all really a gift.
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Ok #realtalk, I aso wanted to say that I dmit that I can be super stuborn and at times come across as a a huge jerk if you didn’t know I was all fuzzy inside, so yeah, that puts people off too.