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Thursday, July 8, 2010

May Everything Be Exactly As It Is

I'm continually surprised by how quickly in life things change. Maybe it's not the things in life that actually change, but it's how quickly my perceptions change. At any rate, it always catches me off guard when something I thought was reality not but a couple of weeks ago is drastically turned around in moments.

I started writing this yesterday, but I wasn't able to focus on it. Maybe it's just the dry Colorado weather, the altitude, the heat... who knows. Salida, Denver, and Ketchikan are all very different places. I find myself getting a low-level dosage of culture shock when I step into a new environment, and sometimes it takes me a second to catch my breath. (I'm sure the altitude doesn't exactly help.)

Steering this quick, disjointed blog in a serious direction for a second, I must note that I've found myself in a few situations simultaneously where I'm struggling to find the answers to the question of what the right course of action is. This being said, I remembered the mantra "May everything be exactly as it is." There are things in all of our lives that we cannot control. Friends and loved ones pass away. Jobs are lost. Vehicles are crashed. Babies are born. Lotteries are won. It's so easy to hope for a random, uncontrollable good thing to happen, but we shudder when a random and uncontrollable bad thing happens. We find ourselves seemingly dropped into a life where things seem to be spiraling out of control, and for whatever reason, we just can't get any bearings. Then we become angry that we were treated unfairly or sad because we feel helpless. But the mantra implies that everything is, simply, what it is. I know that saying is cliche, almost annoying at times, but I am pushing the deeper meaning. You lose your job. Maybe you're supposed to find a better opportunity. Maybe you're supposed to learn how to tighten your belt and empty your refrigerator. Maybe you're needing to sell your big house and get into a smaller one? And then, down the line, you're happier in a new line of work, you're in better shape, and you have a lower rent or mortgage payment. It sounds suddenly like losing your job was the best thing that happened to you, yes?

We have things we care about, but more importantly, we have loved ones, family, with or without bonds of genetics, that we must care for, must fight to ensure their happiness. We can't do it if we aren't happy ourselves, and we certainly can't do it if we're resenting them for making us work hard for them. What we can do is work hard, be the best we can be, the happiest we can be, and when we have the time, to share that happiness, that joy with them. There is joy to be found in every nook and cranny, from the bottom of the nastiest dumpster to the middle of every seedy, corrupt organization.

While the struggle in searching for this joy feels to most of us as it is never-ending, the search itself can be a positive, life-changing thing. Keeping your eyes on the prize, as it were, proves to ourselves that we know that the suffering and struggle along the way is sharpening our souls and lighting a fire under the motivation we need to keep going.

I'm going to assume you all know a little about poker as I write my closing remarks. I would hope that anyone reading this would take a second to look at the cards they've been dealt. Really look at them. Look at your job, your family, your wife or husband, your children, your parents, your grandparents, your friends, your car, your dog, your cat, your neighbors -I can go on and on, but the point is that, no matter what cards you're holding, you can play your hand. And while you may not be holding a royal flush, I can guarantee you that you're holding at least a pair, and probably a full house. Don't fold. Play the hand, and look forward to the next round of cards you'll be dealt. Assume you're playing with good friends. Someone at your table will be a winner every time, guaranteed, and be happy for them when they do, because when it's your turn, they will share that sentiment.

May everything be exactly as it is.