This Pandemic May Be My Moment
I have actually been home-free for the last nine years, choosing to make the kinds of sacrifices that fellow entrepreneurs accept as normal and civilians tend to judge (often harshly, but I digress). Losing house and home and virtually everything else during the Great Recession, circa 2010, coincided with the introduction of my entrepreneurial project, Spiritual Workout, a personal growth practice. So instead of launching it from a lofty perch of a cushy, best-practices financial runway, I would do so instead from the bottom of a deep, dark ditch of financial ruin, homelessness, pennilessness, and emotional upheaval. Whatever.
The good news was that my escape from that hellscape would happen in short order because my work, conveniently enough, is all about giving people tools to solve problems and create futures free of them. It’s an outgrowth of my experience as a psychotherapist and I’ll cop to being really good at this one thing, this practice. Screaming mad? Be present by accepting things as they are, without judgment. For starters. Victim of the economy? Taking responsibility means not being a victim of anything and, besides, plenty of people are doing just fine so…better to root out any beliefs that created the losses and intend to be one of the ones who’s just fine instead. Got it. Freak out when there’s only $1.35 to your name at the end of the day or be grateful for having $1.35 more than was needed that day? Grateful. Make it your business not to freak out about anything, ever? On it. Give up because none of the pain and struggle seems worth it or listen to inspiration and that voice that whispers, “keep going?” I’m all over it. Next?
Well, that was nine years ago and let’s just say the escape from the ditch did not unfold in short order after all. As prepared and eager and poised and ready as I was to urgently bring my work into the world, Life had other plans. Anyone? The foundational online component just wouldn’t happen. I was beset by countless other large and small ridiculous and maddening obstacles, seemingly on a loop. Fits and starts. Soaring highs and crushing lows. No momentum; no leverage; no rich uncles. I felt restrained, constrained, hemmed in, and held down virtually every minute of every day, week after week, month after month and, oh God, year after year. All the disappointments and shattered timetables, all the doubt and uncertainty, all the anger and rage, all the losses and dearth of dollars and daily practice and not living anywhere — all in service of simply holding out for doing what I wanted to do in this world.
So when I arrived a few months ago in New York, my home city, it was with an air of personal triumph. It was the most recent example of things in my life working out for me regardless of circumstances. (And, it must be said, not because I’m that person but because I’ve made myself into that person.) I wanted what I didn’t quite have the power to create on my own: an urban retreat for writing for a few months, to feed off the vibrancy and dynamism that is the everyday pulse of New York City, to work anonymously in cafés and coffee shops. It was handed to me on a silver platter from out of the blue and just as my writing rhythm and flow kicked into high gear, my very reasons for being here literally evaporated. Suddenly “everyone” began living the life I’d been living for the last nine years so I took a break and watched you all adjust. Welcome to the party.
Today, demand is way up for people offering solutions to stress, anxiety, depression, fear, and doubt. It’s way up for how to crush confusion and cultivate certainty. It’s way up, specifically, for doing so online. Go figure! I’m poised and ready. Further, covid-19 has exposed every single disparity in our society rendering our policies for everything from education and health care to poverty and work to policing and politics — all of the ills — up for review. It’s not only about serving the underserved but eliminating the very concept of the underserved. With innovative, “we are not going back” consulting and training, I am poised and ready.
Is that so wrong? Not when one considers the “creating from nothing” I’ve been doing for nine years. Not when one considers that my urgency and readiness went unheeded for years as I took one “not now” slap from Life after another. Not when one considers my long-held intention to contribute something of value to creating a world that works for everyone. Not when one considers how frequently, these days, I’m hearing “You’re right on time.” Not when one believes that there are no accidents in this life.