I’m coming out of a long-term psychological pity party.
I’ve been having some brief but dark moments of depression lately and getting triggered by the slightest things. This isn’t like me. I’d say I’m naturally a pretty dang positive person.
With a little guidance from a friend and spiritual guide of mine, here’s what was uprooted…
I’m 35. For the last 23 years, I’ve been taking care of one human or another who needed my assistance for their well-being, if not outright survival (it seemed like).
When I was 12, it was my mom’s long battle with breast cancer while fending away her dysfunctional siblings who encouraged her to turn to booze to dull the pain. She made her transition when I was 16.
Then it was my dad’s long struggle with depression, poverty and cancer. Every month for years, I worried whether or not he’d be able to pay his rent and eat. He somehow pulled it off for the longest time, but eventually, the same disease that took my mom grabbed ahold of him and didn’t let go. It was a messy end — one that I felt that I was all too involved in.
Next came Rory, our daughter. She was born six months after her grandpa passed. Although she’s the joy of my life, my wife and I haven’t had more than a few full night’s sleep in almost two years. And she’s extremely lively and adventurous. So in public, it’s a constant foot-chase. 24–7 suicide watch for this beautiful, feisty, rambunctious little girl.
So, I’m tired. I haven’t really had a break in a long while. And I was feeling extremely sorry for myself.
Why have I never gotten a break? Why wasn’t I born a trust fund baby where I could summer in the Hamptons and reflect on life with my Ivy League buddies over fine scotch around a camp fire on the sound wearing tennis sweaters?
Being the spiritual superhero that this woman is, my spiritual guide showed me a higher view of the situation. Here’s what she reminded me of…
We’re here to give our gifts. It’s why we’re born with this fine-tuned, outward-perceiving, earth-moving, environment-sensing machinery of the human body and five senses. To do stuff. To mix our labor with our environment. To cognize and create what wasn’t there before. To heal. To be. And to do.
If we ‘give’ in order to eventually have a break and ‘get’ stuff, we’ll likely be often disappointed. This gets exhausting.
HOWEVER, if you use giving as your life-affirming purpose — in whatever shape and form that giving takes — and do it in a non-expectant joyous way, then boom — you’ll recognize your gifts coming back to you a hundredfold. And you’ll enjoy the giving which becomes a gift in itself.
Taking off the blurry mask of my sorrows, I see this now. I see that all the battles and struggles I went through added to this story of me. I’m glad I gave so much to my mom. And my dad. They were incredible people and deserved it.
And now Rory. She’s the biggest blessing I’ve ever had. Spoiling the hell out of her is a gift. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Seeing it from this perspective gives me life. It gives me affirmation that I’m doing the right thing. And I wake up every day now looking forward to giving something to the world.
Even if it’s some words on a digital page.