image credit…. jumping pages
“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”
i have managed to become involved in some cultural changes happening at my workplace. we are working to create a recovery oriented system of care (rosc) where there has been little visibility of recovery before. i know it sounds simple, but i refuse to be that naive. if it were easy, it would already be in place. there are some barriers to this that exist and i am not even sure i am familiar with most of them. there is much to do. i was chatting with some co-workers about it yesterday and i was intimating that part of i am energized by the idea of change and had been involved in creating business and redirecting it for as long as i could remember.
in 1982, i started working for a friend who had spent years developing an after hours club in chicago. i had the opportunity to contribute ideas, concepts, and labor which helped create a fairly well-known night spot that was around for 10 years.
in 1987 i started working for an uncle and his friend for a very small travel agency that was basically a bucket shop- reselling international airline tickets to customers that were issued by wholesalers at highly discounted prices. i was fortunate enough to contribute ideas, concepts, and labor which helped steer this company into a 17 million dollar business over the course of 10 years. a definite bonus was my ability to travel all over the globe and widen my world-view.
interspersed throughout my life, i have worked at the openings of at least 12 restaurants, each time afforded the opportunity to offer ideas, concepts, and labor that would result in the creation of something new. there has mostly been a source of creation and excitement as i showed up for work on a daily basis.
historically, the sad and painful truth is that mental health and substance abuse have accompanied me on my journey. as i review all these fantastic opportunities, i realize that these issues were the david to my goliath. i can now see that the gifts of imagination and inspiration are accompanied by self-doubt and a drive to self-destruct. these thrill killers are an integral part of my psychological make-up and have demonically fueled by drugs and alcohol over the years.
since getting sober, i have had the fortune of helping to start a counseling program directly followed by a resurgence of ptsd which became emotionally global. i have developed an hiv community newsletter that has been publishing for 5 years now. i have helped a friend create a not for profit organization so he could develop his philanthropic efforts and get funding. most of these things were simple ideas that became inspiration which led to action and creation.
currently, along with the culture change i am involved in, is an acute awareness of my vulnerabilities. they are definitely with me still. i am much more aware now, and have become skilled at maneuvering them without numbing them out. it is very exciting for me to be part of this change, especially because i don’t know where they will lead.
i am following my heart and my instinct here. it is challenging. it engages me. my hopes are ignited- both selfish and philanthropic. i want to succeed and i want to do well. i was reporting to a co-worker that i always find myself in a position to ask questions about making things better. she replied that i put myself in that position. her acumen startled me. i guess it’s true. this must be part of my skill set. i hope it is the work i am here to do. it sure feels right.