"We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph." [Elie Wiesel]
What do YOU see while passing the homeless man panhandling on the corner, the bully acting out in the schoolyard, or even the woman sitting at her desk in her corporate law office? We are all so consumed with waging our own daily battles that we neglect to take the time to see the "universe" in everyone around us. Next time you see someone in "triumph", think of the "anguish" in their darkness. Next time you see someone in "anguish", think of the "triumph" that also lights this soul.
"What is addiction, really? It is a sign, a signal, a symptom of distress. It is a language that tells us about a plight that must me understood." [Alice Miller]
It's so tempting to demonize the addict as weak, callous, or broken, but in so doing, we further isolate the person and deny a part of us that we all have. Pain, hurt, and loss have no language, but it's in the addiction that we can hear the soul's cry to be understood. Hiding behind every addiction, be it alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping, or work, is our fear of disconnection. Addicts terrify us because they are "us", and they represent the parts of us we shudder to shine a light on.
In the search for truth, human beings take two steps forward and one step back. Suffering, mistakes, and weariness of life thrust them back, but the thirst for truth and stubborn will drive them forward. And who knows? Perhaps they will reach the real truth at last." [Anton Chekhov]
Progress in life usually comes on the heels of regress, or disquiet in the soul. Learning to bolster your resiliency reserves is critical to lessen the disillusionment we feel when we are knocked off course and are face to face with the erratic trajectory of life. The more resilient we are in the tough times, the more stubborn we drive ourselves forward.
"Life is a sine curve... When you're in your highest moments, by definition, the down is coming. And when you're at the down point, by definition, the up is coming. the downs are connected to the ups and the ups are connected to the downs." [Jamie Metzl]
When you first read this, you might be left feeling a little depressed at the idea that when everything is swimming along smoothly, it's only a matter of time until it all goes pear-shaped. That is one way to look at it, or you can take solace in knowing that life is a series of "moments", so it's a waste of energy to get too attached to the good times and to the bad times. It's all about riding the waves and accepting that nothing lasts forever.
"Honor the space between no longer and not yet." [Nancy Levin]
Life is series of climbs and valleys, but often we are so consumed with what comes next, that we forget to pause in the tranquility of life's plateaus. The crazier our life gets, the more we try to artificially place those moments of solitude into our day. Instead of feeling anxious when one door closes and another has yet to open, why not languish in the moment--in the joy that at least for now, you are not being pulled in either direction.
"Hope is not wishful thinking; it is risk and action and the courage to undertake both." [Debra Dean Murphy]
Whereas faith lies within us now, and is the inner belief in something unseen, hope entails future expectations. For any of our hopes to come to fruition, we need the strength and conviction to bring them to life. In a sense, faith + purpose = hope. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi: "Be the change that you wish to see in the world."
"I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be." [Joan Didion]
There is an incredible feeling of liberation when we finally let go of "the person we thought we were" and become "the person we were meant to be." Our "story" is our past, and when we are victims of our story, we stop growing and become entrenched in what was, instead of living in what is. Everyone of us is like an onion, and the more honest we are to ourselves, we peal away another layer of that onion—with each layer, we get closer to who we really are.