Activism - Art - Authorship
"Do not look away from what's wrong, look through what's wrong."
When we are forced into a corner by life's unpredictability, the quality of our character can define who we are. Whether on the collective or individual level, character matters in the big and small areas of our lives.
Sometimes we make the best decisions for our lives when our backs are up against a wall. I faced such a problem six years ago when a massive black hole opened at the center of my life. Since all of my exits were blocked, I decided to ask for absolution from my higher power. The psychic, emotional and physiological pain was so unbearable, I assumed the fetal position begging for mercy. "Dear creator," I implored, "I have nowhere else to turn, if you pick me up out of this dark hole I will live a life to make you proud."
The idea of leaving my teen daughter to fend for herself without a mother's guidance was just unbearable to ponder. When I asked for spiritual intervention because her life was so valuable to me, I was willing to release the illusion that was mine to help launch hers. Fortunately, this was the moment my life situation changed. A new me was born; it was the moment I shed my childish ways and became an adult; it was the moment I took full responsibility for my life; it was the moment I realized how much character matters.
A Littered Landscape
When I was younger, my mother told me character matters. She said that if you cared for your character, life would bring you many benefits. However, being young and willful, I blew her off, going on to make a mess of my life in ways big and small. Over the years, many opportunities presented to change, but why stop a party when the music is so good?
There was nothing that sunk in, even up until I learned about the potential for contracting a rare disease—hitting rock bottom with nowhere to go made me bow before the incredible power of life itself. The worry that the advance of the disease and the unconditional love for my daughter allowed just enough separation from my out-of-control ego to create lasting change. Looking back over the littered landscape of my life, I am amazed that I made it through.
Everything is Brand New
Six years later, I am standing firm and recreating a new life rooted in the promise I made to the higher power. Grounded and aligned on many levels, life is brand new, and my life situation has dramatically shifted for the better. I have a new attitude and a deep reverence for the importance of possessing a good character.
As I regained my strength, I pondered the deeper meaning of life and my place in it. Feeling like a toddler taking steps for the first time, I delved deep into books and readings from various spiritual teachers to understand the meaning of what transpired and why a character should matter. Day by day, as my healing progressed, I came to understand that up until the moment of my crisis, I took for granted how crucial it was to treasure and value your character.
Sadly, because I treated my character so shabbily in the past, I stood isolated in crisis. There was no one I could call a true friend, outside of my immediate family, in my time of need. Fortunately, my prayer to the higher power created an opening for me to see the error of my ways, and I decided to revamp my life situation. Over six years, I gutted and rebuilt my broken psyche from the inside out. My prayers came through in ways I did not anticipate.
Positive change slowly but decisively unfolded. The first noticeable changes occurred in the hospital lab results. In those early, critical days when the labs were not reassuring, I thought the appeal to my higher power was ignored. However, as the days shifted into weeks and then months, I saw positive results. Not only did my labs change for the better, but all kinds of cures and foods serendipitously appeared.
Subsequently, my energy returned after learning how to manage a diet for a digestive system, which slowly regained steam. I learned about the power of mushrooms to rehabilitate a damaged immune system and gained inner strength by going deeper into meditation and contemplating Nature. This work was all relevant in achieving the real goal, strengthening and rehabilitating my character in preparation for a new life.
Creating a New Path
At last, I have come circle. It is now clearly evident that the lowest moment of my life was overhauled due to prayer. Over the previous years, I tore every part of my old self apart and put it back together again, writing letters of apology to family members I hurt, not even sure if they were received. I wrote all of my negative attributes down, symbolically burned, and washed them down the kitchen sink; I wrote positive goals and aspirations, signing them to show my dedication to a lasting, decisive change.
I have no idea if past actions are forgiven, but I do not need to know: I need to be. The only thing that matters is finding the courage to atone for the damage caused by appealing to my creator. In taking these steps, I am creating a new path forward while cementing a foundation forged in granite. At last, my life situation is firmly rooted in awareness, clarity, presence, gratitude, and acceptance.
Why Character Should Matter
Nowadays, there are many playing a footsie game when it comes to having a good character. Like me, some are willing to jeopardize the valuable currency this trait endows. Young people today are left holding air as they look to public officials for guidance. It is challenging to parent amidst the many conflicting and disingenuous messages.
By sharing this very personal journey, I hope to continue healing and help those who struggle with similar issues through my writing and artistic endeavors. Nevertheless, as the above quote says, we should not "look away from what is wrong, we should look through what is wrong." Looking away is not an option, but we should not allow drama to infect our lives by passively looking and absorbing the trauma from the theater. When we look through what is wrong, we see the problems but are not affected by them. In this way, we can operate from a higher place, on individual and collective levels, to find viable solutions for our most pressing problems. In times like these, a newly recalibrated character matters more than ever.
"The best index to a person's character is how he treats people who can't do him any good, and how he treats people who can't fight back."
- Abigail Van Buren