2016 Redux

Saturday, December 31, 2016

What an odd year. With all of its twists and turns, I’m not sure anyone could have scripted quite a year.

It began simply enough with the most joyous occasion possible: a wedding. I will forever remember this as the year I got married to the love of my life. That day is seared into my memory. The fates conspired to provide perfect weather on a Friday in February. My wife looked like something from another world because it seems impossible that so much beauty could take shape in one person. But she’s real and I’m lucky. It was a day full of love and joy. One of the greatest feelings of my life.

Unfortunately after that the year seemed to take a turn. As we were coasting along, mid-year I experienced two events that would upend everything I knew. One was the most agonizing heartbreak at the hand of a lifelong best friend, someone I considered family. In most years this would take the cake. But 2016 is resilient and wouldn’t let us off the hook so easily. Soon after my mother was diagnosed with her second bout of cancer. This was absolutely devastating.

My world still isn’t right side up, some five months later. But I believe she will win the battle. And all the heartbreak lead me to something I never would have believed I could prosper in: mindfulness. Buddhism saved me. Daily Dharma pulls me out of the deep end. I have now meditated for over a hundred and ten days consecutively and don’t plan on stopping, ever.

In 2016, I learned to let go. It hasn't always been perfect and I’ve had to remind myself that after ecstasy then comes the laundry but I’m in a better head space now than ever before. Everything is temporary.

The end of the year brought more challenges, some large and some small. The election of the single most unfit (and corrupt) candidate to ever run for the highest office in all of the land. The death of one of my greatest idols. A stomach flu that left me sicker than I have ever been. A panic attack that landed me in the ER. All of these challenges failed to squash my spirit, however. This December the latest Star Wars movie was released, Rogue One. The final word of the movie resonates as we move into the new year: Hope.

2016 hasn’t broken me, we shall all come out on the other side. I’m blessed with a caring beautiful wife, a strong family, everlasting friendships, and a fortunate life. This year may have been terrible in many ways but we can stand taller knowing we made it through.

The journey is not about going into the light. The forces of our human history and entanglement are tenacious and powerful. The path to inner freedom requires passing through them.” — Jack Kornfield
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