My mind is cracking open, slowly but inexorably.  

I thought it would hurt more.

What began in Bali has been spreading, first through books, then through conversation, then through events that put my emerging ideas through the fire of real-life experience.  Although deeply unnerving, this breaking open has delivered me to an unexpected place.  A place where I’m beginning to see that all the *bad* in life is just as important as the *good* — two sides of the same coin we call balance.

And so I give thanks for things I previously thought to banish:

Bad Weather

What better reason to savor the pleasure of a roaring fire?

Migraines

Name another way I get to sit for hours, in a dark and quiet room, and feel 100% justified about getting nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, accomplished?

Writer’s Block

Without it I would never experience inspiration — that profound moment when the damn of uncertainty finally breaks open and a blank page submerges beneath a torrent of ideas.

Kids That Struggle

If my kids were perfect I’d never cry tears of joy as they emerge from their tribulations bolder, stronger, and infinitely wiser. 

Aging Parents

By observation they teach me both what to do and what not to do, equally valuable lessons.

Politics

What better way to learn tolerance? 

Failure

Without it I would be insufferable, a person not worth knowing.

Fear

Because it is the greatest teacher of them all — how else do we practice faith, hope, perseverance, resolve, transcendence, acceptance, and occasional triumph?

Death

Or more precisely, my own, because I cannot (yet) be thankful for being left behind by those I love.  And yet embracing the very finite nature of my own existence drives me to be fully present to every precious moment I am granted.  Indeed, it is precisely because I am mindful it will all end (and far too soon) that I am able to savor it so deeply.  Remove the sting of death and what would it matter, present or not present, there’d always be another moment.

Embrace the suck, said a very wise man.

I used to think it meant stop complaining, grin and bear it, stiff upper lip and all that stuff.  But I was wrong.  He meant hold all that is bad in one hand, and all that is good in the other, and feel the way in which they perfectly balance.  How they shape and intensify this thing called the human experience. 

He meant be grateful, no matter what.

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