470 Words To Continue

You must understand your life will have eras of ascension and decline, punctuated my “high” and “low” experiences. Some say they’re ordered like seasons. It’s important to figure out what creates those cycles, both internally and externally.

Sometimes you need help.

I decided to avail myself of John Assaraf’s Having It All Challenge a few weeks after the breakup. I had grand ideas of what it would bring me: more income, a better outlook and the accountability to achieve the myriad dreams that stream through my head. I ventured into the six-month process with little in the way of defined targets for any of these fantastic goals, save one. I remember distinctly telling myself I would be satisfied if I could feel better connected to God.

I’ve been a person of faith all my life, though my family went through fits and starts when it came to regular attendance on Sundays. God has been a part of my belief system as I’ve grown up, though I will admit to asking a lot of questions. I have traced a winding, inquisitive path marked by what I perceived as a lack of faith when it comes to building a relationship with the Creator. I realize now it was simply a lack of understanding.

In that way, I consider the Challenge a raging success.

Throughout the program, participants are bombarded with content on all fronts. There’s much to do and learn. Shifting a mindset developed over years–or decades–takes a lot of time and effort, more than I conceived of at first. The toughest lesson to grasp, one which I feel I’ve only come to really comprehend in the last few weeks, is sometimes you must go back to move forward.

Bursting at the seams with confidence and hope in May, I hit July with less energy than a cyclist pedaling past the halfway point in a Tour de France mountain stage. Churning with all my might, I seemed to be hovering in one place–unhappy with a job rumors surfaced I’d be fired from, feeling my mind partially disconnected from my body and wholly frustrated. What the hell was wrong?

Mercifully, something clicked.

I was on a weekly conference call, trying desperately to listen to something I knew was important. My mind was elsewhere, remembering a conversation I’d had earlier in the day with a coworker about “the one that got away.” (Or, to say it the way I’d acted for seven years, “The one I kick the shit out of myself for screwing up with.”) As the gentleman being interviewed, Jeff Gignac, went on discussing the importance of choosing our words and realizing the impact of the stories we tell ourselves–something I firmly believe in–I finally asked myself the right question…

“Why are you still carrying this stuff?”

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