It Turned to Ash in Our Mouths.

Let’s take a lap around the grim reality that nothing ends up being what we hoped it would be. We are sold and endless dream of better, of more. Yet, when we get there, we find that we are not better or more.

Society is plagued by the mad pursuit of a better life. It’s perhaps the easiest thing to sell in today’s digital economy. The beauty of selling this idea is that “everyone can have it”. But also, that no-one can. An endless supply of hungry customers consuming and never eating.

It’s perfect.

I can tell you this because, I have both nothing to sell you. Not a damn thing, and
I too have spent years consuming the endless nothingness of status and station.

I have had many dreams in my life. Big dreams. Dreams most people wouldn’t consider to peruse for fear of failure. Having started this life as what I already considered a failure, I felt I had nowhere to go but up. So, pursuit it has been.

The great problem with this is not that life is worse having reached a dream. I would not trade my position now with a mouth full of ash for the position I had ten years ago. Simply because, as we grow and pursue, our lives do improve. The problem is that in seeking the dream, we consider the start and not the end.

Why is it that actors and musicians hang themselves on hotel rooms?
Why, once status is achieved, must a person continue to drive forward on an unending journey of self aggrandizement?

I know a man who lives in a beautiful mountain home.
He wanted to get his son into skiing, so he bought a helicopter. The helicopter needed a place to park so he built a helipad. The helipad sits in the middle of his home, surrounded by glass. The house built around the helipad in a beautiful display of his ability, accomplishments and generosity towards his son.

He is alone.

His wife filed for divorce not long ago and his son and daughter won’t speak to him.
Can you imagine the hell it must be to look at that helicopter every day as you wake up in your empty home knowing that, while you’ve achieved great financial success, the people you love most hate you? They can’t stand him.

Tell me that is not ash in the mouth of a successful man.

Learn to love the ash.

Perhaps I am not alone in this experience. Perhaps the man in the story above isn’t either. Perhaps some you have also met face to face with your asperations and felt them lacking. You want to be truly depressed? Search reddit for the topic and read miles of posts about this very thing.

It is not an uncommon human experience. Deep, overwhelming lack of satisfaction.

In most cases, this leads to aimlessness. Perhaps sociopath tendencies. “If I feel nothing, why should anyone else?”. I know, it’s dark.

For many however, it is not an end but a beginning. They ask a different question. “If the pursuit of my own self and good has been meaningless and my own life even feels empty, what do I have to lose in the pursuit of good for others?”.

We all desire to experience some satisfaction. A deep hunger for real validation and fullness. What if that is simply misguided?

To find the answer, you have to look in a different place.

I don’t believe you will find great satisfaction in free time, or freedom or living a great adventure.

Let me throw out something really radical. Something that may be so simple, and accessible that mentioning it after such a walk in the depths feels trivial. What if gratitude is the antidote?

What if gratitude in your situation, your moment, your life and it’s details but also the reception of gratitude from others you serve or provide service to is the savory meal you seek?

Too simple. Too humble. Not thrilling enough or grand enough or worth a real story.

This idea grinds at our ego. It grinds at the story we tell ourselves about how significant we are. For anyone here who’s not truly tired of the taste of ash, it will be an answer that is lacking. For those of us who have truly met an end, met a true end of effort. Met the darkness there in those last inches of reality. It will ring true.

If you have not been there. You have not reached the full depth of suffering that comes from the ash, I’m happy for you. Continue on your way.

For those of us who have looked in the eyes of desperation, seen the depth of our own emptiness, let me challenge you.

You have something special.

The gift that is the end is a better gift than can be found anywhere else. To reach it and still have time left, think of the power of what you can now do. An empty vessel.

From here, from this place, you can move into great affect to the world around you.

Return here often.

I don’t write this because I am in some terrible situation. I write this to remember who I am. I encourage any of you reading this to do the same. Don’t just “fix” the things around you. Let them change you. This hollow feeling should be your greatest strength.

You have nothing to lose. Unlike all the sorry saps around you who cling to some meaningless hope of “being something”. You are free. Use it.

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