Friday, May 13, 2016
After 4 years, I left my job to start something completely new.
To thank everyone for their friendship and support, I hosted a party, my way, with pizza and drinks at one of my favorite places. So many colleagues were there, chatting, eating, drinking, sharing. It was perfect - a great way to close this part of my journey.
They asked me why I was leaving - maybe it was the scotch talking, but I arrived at the metaphor of a coin, which seemed a good way to explain some of the basics of my philosophy.
It goes like this...
The decisions I make are based around two facets, which are related so much that they could be called two sides of the same coin - each integral to the whole but each with a different aspect.
One side is about The Journey.
Each and every one of us has a Journey. Whether we know it or not; whether we acknowledge it or not; whether we accept it or not. The Journey is our birthright as a human being and is part of being self-aware. Animals do not have a Journey, they are able to just BE. Humans, every single one, have a Journey. Moreover, the Journey is unique to everyone and everyone is responsible for his or her own Journey. This is very important.
Like every Journey, it travels forward, not backward. It may pause but it does not stop. It has goals, steps, way points, hills and valleys along the way. It has rain and shine, vistas and panoramas. It is the beautiful, glorious human adventure.
My Journey belongs to ME. It is not the journey of my father, my wife, my children, my boss, my co-workers or my friends, even though sometimes it may seem like it is. Recognizing that the Journey is unique helps us with the second key aspect of this understanding - we are all, each one of us, fully responsible for our own Journey (and ours alone). This is true empowerment, since I can only ever seek to control myself, my decisions and actions; my responses and reactions. Only I can determine my own happiness and success, and only I can affect the outcome. In short, only I can be accountable, and must be fully accountable, for me. Sometimes I step off the path, sometimes painfully. However, the Journey remains and I can always find my way back to it if I try. It is never too late.
The Journey of my soul is a Journey of Happiness. When my actions are in accord with my personal journey, I experience happiness. Not a giddy, delirious laughter. Rather, a deep sense of contentment born of purpose and accomplishment, knowing unconsciously in my core that I am doing the "right things". My soul tells me so if I can learn to listen. In the end, it will not matter what clothes we wore, what car we drove or what size house we lived in. What will matter is if we found happiness. I believe this is found by following the Journey purposefully.
I believe we human children are born of The Light, born from the centers of stars when the universe was young. Our Journeys are toward the Light. This means that our happiness can never be meant to come at the cost of someone else's. We must have a vested interest in the happiness of others, just as they must have a stake in our own. We are far more alike than we are different. Human beings come from the same source, with the same roots. Our skin color matters as little as the color of our eyes or hair. Our religion matters even less. We are all one, each perfect soul with our own Journey. I try as hard as I can to see past the physical self to what is inside - the soul and its Journey. I try to see all people as beautiful.
Thus, knowing that I have a unique personal Journey in this life, self-discovery is of critical importance. I focus on understanding myself, my drivers and motivators, my likes and dislikes so that I can better identify my Journey and prepare myself with the tools I will need to travel it well. The Journey cannot be denied, but we can travel it smoothly or roughly at our own discretion. My teacher often says that we are passengers on a train. We do not control the route to the final destination, but we can choose where to sit. Personally, I like a window seat.
The decisions I make, the big decisions, I try to make in accordance with my own personal Journey. I know and accept that I need to own the outcome of my life - no one else can.
Very importantly, my parents, my wife and my children do not own my Journey - I do. They can share my joy in accomplishment but cannot be blamed for the choice I make, good or bad. My Journey is mine, and I do not have the responsibility to achieve what my parents did not or could not. Likewise, my children's Journey will not be to finish what I start - only I can do that. As a parent, husband and friend all I can do is offer support and encouragement to the Journeys of those I meet and facilitate their Journey. I can share my happiness and comfort their sadness, but I cannot own their Journey for them. As a parent, I try to prepare my children with the tools to seek their own answers about their own lives, and encourage them to discover their own Journey, their mission, whatever and wherever it may be. I try to teach them to prepare themselves by trying many different things to see what resonates in them. There are no wrong answers, and I know the destination with be worth the effort. They must learn to do things not because it makes me happy, but because it makes them happy. It is their Journey which matters. I have my own.
The Gratitude Attitude
The second side of the coin is the Gratitude Attitude. This is an ever-present feeling of thankfulness for the gift of our lives and the gift of our Journey. As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin writes "we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience". We are each privileged to have the chance for this great human adventure and to be given a chance to live fully, with purpose and meaning. We have the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy and positively influence those around us. We can be part of the Journey of others and increase each other's happiness.
I am deliberate in finding things to be grateful for, every day. This is an important part of changing my perspective from negative to positive and has helped me to see the bright side of things as much as I can. I feel very fortunate to have been given so many chances to do so many different things. In my life and my career I have learned so much. Now, turning 50 this year, I am given a chance to go in a brand new direction. I couldn't be more excited. I am truly grateful. I own my own outcome, and I am grateful to be in control of my life.
All my friends, family, co-workers have given me so much support. Thank you all for believing in me and for being such an important part of my Journey. I promise you the story will be a good one.