Life is cyclical. This shouldn't come as a surprise seeing how everything around us works in cycles. The seasons change, the sun rises and sets, our heart beats... things repeat. Life, much like the evolutionary process that drives it, is a matter a repetition with occasional variation. Those occasional variations produce change, but the repetitive nature of energy is what drives it forward.
As such, perhaps it shouldn't have surprised me this evening, when I sat down to write my first blog post in a long time, that I discovered my last post was exactly a year ago. Perhaps it shouldn't surprise me that once again I've begun a period of serious reflection on my health and life. It is after all September – and for the first half of my life that meant going back to school and new beginnings. New teachers, new subjects and fresh sneakers. My parents were both teachers, so this experience of things starting over again in September was deeply rooted in my entire upbringing. For the same reason I find it nearly impossible to focus on work in the summer, I am immediately inspired to transform my life in September. Nearly twenty years after my final course, I still find myself bound to the academic calendar - my internal clock is ready to start a new year.
I am a bit disappointed that I took an entire year off of writing on the blog. I would say my attention turned to vlogging, but truth be told I didn't produce much on that front either. To recap the past year, shortly after writing the last post on sobriety I decided to take to leap and go sober. It was a staggered start to say the least, but by October I had stopped drinking entirely and maintained sobriety until shortly before New Years. Three months of not drinking was a very powerful experience and opened my eyes to a lot of issues not only in my own life, but in our culture in general. I've never had an attempt at self-improvement be met with more push-back and generally negative response from those around me. The experience made it clear just how much of my life revolved around intoxication and how difficult it was to find social activities outside of it. The improvements to health, energy, mental clarity and my wallet were all amazing. In fact, by the end of November things were going pretty great. I was feeling healthy, I was living in a million-dollar house on Maui, my business was going along smoothly. Then a bit surprisingly, my landlords (and friends) decided to sell the home I'd been living in. I had known this was always a possibility, but it had arrived sooner than expected. To make matters worse, the house ended up selling the first day it was on the market, and suddenly I found myself with only a couple weeks to find a new place to live on Maui. At the same time, a long-time client announced they were migrating their website budget into their marketing budget, and asked me to throw my hat in the ring at the larger scope. While the opportunity was exciting, the potential downside was that if I didn't land the larger gig, I would lose one of my best clients. With my housing situation suddenly in limbo and a must-win project to close in Portland I made the decision in less than 24 hours to relocate back to Portland. It was excruciatingly hard to give up Maui - a place that is not only beautiful but to which I have a strong spiritual connection. What was even harder was it was now January - and Portland was experiencing its worst winter in decades. I went from 82 and perfect to snow covered streets and frigid winds. Having no furniture, I rented a studio apartment and purchased an air mattress on Amazon to arrive before I showed up. And so there I was on January 1st, in an empty studio apartment on the 17th floor of an apartment building in South Waterfront - looking over a snow covered Portland wondering if I had made a mistake.
I had. Many in fact. Portland was cold and miserable and the various issues that had inspired my initial migration to Hawaii were not only still present but had multiplied. It was wonderful to be back in my old studio for work – but as if I'd entered some alternative reality upon my return to Oregon, I discovered my long-time friend and business partner no longer considered herself to be either, as she made clear in a series of emails, and with no discussion to be had, a partnership of ten years came to a rather unceremonious end. I didn't land the project I'd returned for and in the process lost the client. That combined with the loss of an even larger client the prior year left my company without an anchor client. By the time July came around a month-long trip to Europe had to be cut down to just two weeks due to lack of funds, but not before cutting lose the studio – the last remaining constant – and making the hard decision to move on from Old Town and the remnants of what I'd mistaken for a great partnership.
Europe was cleansing – getting away always is. But the problem with leaving is the return, and upon returning in August I found myself in a bit of a funk. Business was strong - up on last year despite the various setbacks. I even managed to land The Westin as a client - my largest client to date which will hopefully lead to many new opportunities. But the question that kept bringing me down was "what's the point?" I created The Interactive Dept. as a lifestyle business - in the sense that its purpose was never to create wealth and recognition, awards or accolades... but to provide me with the freedom to live as I wanted. In Maui it seemed I'd found that sweet-spot. And now here I was, on a hot August day in Portland, fully aware that I could go and be anything I wanted... without a single vision of what that might be. I was bored... inexcusably so. My initial reaction after the start of the year was to accept reality as it presented itself and then work to rise above it as I always have. And I'd tied up the loose ends, walked away from the things I couldn't fix and rebooted the business for the umpteenth time... and I knew I could do it again. But what's the point...
And so I marinaded in that frustration for a few weeks. I got lazy and sloppy and fat. I managed to exceed my own highest weight. Lucky for me my rock-bottom is usually still pretty high in the clouds - and I found it and I decided enough was enough. I'm currently on day 4 of a transformation. Sober and cleansing, exercising and focused on finding purpose. I see multiple paths again, but I realize that this time before I head out on the adventure, I need to take care of myself first. I'm not the best I can be and I will continue to meet with unforeseen circumstances, and worsening challenges if I don't start at the source. I'm not upset about the past year – if anything I'm impressed at how easily I let it all go. I've learned that nothing is permanent and so I'm only thankful for the wonderful experiences I have, not the the imagined ones that never came to pass. I've learned to let go – what I need to master now is welcoming in. Opening my mind and heart to all the potential that exists.
And so it begins again. Nearly a year to the day. A journey to find clarity not in the world around me – something I've accepted I will never be granted – but within myself. It is time to discover new truths about myself as I am introduced to new people and new potentials. Unlike last time, I hope to document this journey a bit more on the blog.
Let the school year begin!
"Wanting to reform the world without discovering one's true self is like trying to cover the world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes."
— Ramana Maharshi