Doing The Hard Work

Before you get the wrong idea, allow me to clarify: the title of this piece isn’t about me. I mean, I’m sure I’ve worked hard historically, but the thing I put the most effort into is this website and, as you can likely see, I’ve not gotten much further than that. I’m not sure what I’m doing requires hard work, rather some sort of blind tenacity.

But enough about me.

These are stressful times. I don’t mean for me specifically, but for people at large (though I do include myself among them). I know many people who are struggling, some with a burning intensity. There are people I know who seem to handle any situation with grace and understanding, and others who I worry are feeling the weight of life’s woes harder than others.

I know a magical woman who takes a mindful and hands-on approach to life. I often think of her and her guidance by example and I consider myself fortunate, indeed, to know and love her.

When things are rough, she digs down and finds the beauty.

I know some wonderful souls. Troubled souls, but wonderful souls.

One in particular made me want to write this today.

We’ll call him Colin.

Colin has had a rough go by any standard. Life has not been especially kind (or even cordial) to him. He has a lovely soul and a way with words. I like him very much.

Recently, he knuckled down and committed to doing the hard work of investing in his personal well-being.

I couldn’t be prouder of him. It’s so much easier to think about doing the hard work than to actually do it.

And he’s been doing it.

I am inspired by his strength and his resilience. He reminds me, by his actions, to do the hard work. There is merit in doing what isn’t necessarily easy or comfortable. The growing and progressing can usually be found just beyond our comfort zone.

There are times like this where I wish my words were better. More magical. Flowed like some sort of glorious stream where I not only made sense but made it pretty. I wish I were a better writer. I keep writing in hope that I one day will be. It’s a path I’ve committed to. The path is bumpy and often awful, but I have to see it through. The forest isn’t always dark and I carry light within me.

I see so many people trying, truly trying, putting in the tangible work to improve their way of life, and I can’t help but be inspired and filled with joy at the courage it takes to do that. It’s far easier to encourage someone to take the steps to make their dreams happen than it does for us to do the same. Words are wonderful, but they are, in the end, just words. Actions are the powerful stuff. Actions show us. Actions define us. How often in our lives have we come up against a hurdle we didn’t think we could handle, then found a way to handle it in short order?

I’ve seen some hard situations in my life. I’ve lived in my car in the dead of winter in another country when I didn’t have a place to go. I’ve been treated terribly by people I’m related to. I was shown time and again that I wasn’t important and wasn’t “worth it.” These are all things I’ve had to work through, and still have to work through. Some work isn’t ever “done.” There are things to learn at each signpost; I just have to remind myself to look for them.

When I see people like Colin, people who are so far down in the hole of despair, pick themselves up with their last ounce of courage and find a way to do that painful and fruitful work, it gives me pause. It’s beautiful. Not the suffering; never the suffering. I wish for the end of suffering for everyone. There is a beaming beauty I can’t not see. I don’t know how else to explain it than to call it the human spirit. It’s like the manifestation of the insides of the old people in Cocoon.

What I’m saying is: I am inspired. I am heartened. I long ago committed to doing the hard work on and for myself. It’s a strange path, but some of the best ones are.

Thank you for being you and doing all you have to get to where you are today. It’s all kind of a miracle. A beautiful, gooey miracle.

A sincere hug to each of you, friends. I’m glad you’re here.

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