happiness is good, but joy is better

There are times when you read something beautiful and it just makes your day. This was beautiful. I feel I am climbing the second mountain. I broke open, too soon, while I was still too young. So young, that I feel a decade older than I am. I still behave a decade younger than I am – sometimes 🙂

“Then there is contact with the heart and soul — through prayer, meditation, writing, whatever it is that puts you in contact with your deepest desires.” The fact that David put writing in the same place as prayer and meditation, was touching. I strongly feel that writing should not be a hobby, but a ritual. I hope Tara grows up to love this form of meditation or prayer, as much as both her parents do.

It’s true that, “When people are broken open in this way, they are more sensitive to the pains and joys of the world.” As someone was reminding me the other day, “you are an extrovert. you absorb other people’s joy and sorrow.” I sometimes do feel that I feel more than I should. Unlike some people who associate feeling with being weak. I actually think it is my super power. It takes little for me to put myself in other people’s shoes and feel like them. It is exhausting at times, but I’d rather have this skill, than not have it.

“Perhaps most of the people who have emerged from a setback stay in their same jobs, with their same lives, but they are different. It’s not about self anymore; it’s about relation, it’s about the giving yourself away. Their joy is in seeing others shine.” Yes, I derive joy in seeing others shine. The gleam in their eye when they accomplish something. I am not all the way there. My age catches up with me sometimes, and I crave my own shine. But I recover, fairly quickly. I remind myself that it is not what’s going to give me the joy I desire.

And I did shed a tear when I read “I can now usually recognize first- and second-mountain people. The former have an ultimate allegiance to self; the latter have an ultimate allegiance to some commitment.” For the last decade I have been telling people, I can now tell, those who have lost a loved one in their life, to those who have not. David’s way of describing that feeling is much better. I can enter a room and tell who is committed to them self and who is committed to a higher purpose. I seek the later, and surround myself with them. I can empathize with the former. But I don’t expect them to be as giving as the later. From the later I expect a lot. I expect them to be kind, giving, and patient. I am myself working on the patience piece. I had a wonderful conversation with a mentor at work once. He said, he knew which camp I belonged to. He knew it from the first day he met me.” And I replied, “Ditto. And perhaps that’s why we get along so easily.” That day I realized, that it’s not just me that sees the world made up of two camps – one’s who have experienced loss, and those who have not.

Lastly, David gave me hope when he said, “The second-mountain people are leading us toward a culture that puts relationships at the center. They ask us to measure our lives by the quality of our attachments, to see that life is a qualitative endeavor, not a quantitative one. They ask us to see others at their full depths, and not just as a stereotype, and to have the courage to lead with vulnerability. These second-mountain people are leading us into a new culture. Culture change happens when a small group of people find a better way to live and the rest of us copy them.”

I count myself a part of that culture change. I don’t know if this culture will change in my lifetime. But I will do my bit, to influence more and more people to climb the second mountain. And may be someday people will be able to build a bridge from the first mountain to the second, without going through the valley. Because going through the valley is hard.

It’s been a few interesting weeks on both personal and professional fronts. Whenever I feel like I am alone on a cliff, and I feel despair, I remind myself of what JFAB told me. My only option is to fly, and even though I know I might fall, there is also a chance that I can also soar. We’ll see where this takes me. But at the moment there are only headwinds in sight!

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