"I had to start getting more honest than I had ever been, more honest and more humble. I was living in a state of shock. Since those days I have learned a great respect for the condition of vulnerability. It is a source of access to immense spiritual power. At that time however I had not developed my current understanding and was living totally on faith.
I am usually a very happy person. When I am down, anyone can tell that something is wrong. It is written all over me.
I recall being with my friend Kris who was getting sober at the same time and with whom I felt very safe. Both our fathers had been master sergeants in the air force. It was a bit of a bond. It was obvious to her that I was suffering and she asked me gently, “What is it, Jim? What is your private nightmare?”
I was dying inside and just wanted to disappear.
A word appeared in response to her question, but it was exactly the one I did not want to say, not ever, not to anyone. But my pain was too great to keep to myself and she seemed genuinely concerned.
“Poverty,” I admitted.
I told her the truth and as the word passed my lips slowly and reluctantly I felt like Adam hiding from God. Now I was found out and was supposed to disappear.
“Poverty,” I said, as if I were confessing some secret crime, some unimaginably shameful defect. It was a genuine moment of truth. I had never admitted that before, not even to myself."
This excerpt comes from my upcoming book Hating Irving: On the Genealogy of Resentment—Confessions of a Compulsive Under-earner.
This excerpt describes a moment in time where the dust settles, the fog lifts, and a path clears guiding towards creating new possibilities in life. It's a lesson about the power of words; about the power of the very word that ruled a life and steered a lifetime of resentments. My story is one of nearly 8 Billion playing out all over the world, and yet it is a story of us. Just as your story is a story of us. It's a story of many births and many deaths.
In this world, exists the magic and power of words. And we create and destroy worlds, with those words. We assume a life of positives with no negatives, not fully aware that our resentments towards those "uncontrollables" of life are reflections of a world we view as happening to us and we're not the cause of it. This is our world of reason. Brene Brown suggests that the "conversation" (especially societally) we have with ourselves is about what we are supposed to be afraid of and who we blame for it. Maybe it's our universal fear, disgust, anger, enjoyment, and sadness, according to The Ekmans' Atlas of Emotions , that's behind the wheel of this trip called life, so what does that mean for our power to then create something new out of a seemingly pre-determined life?
What are we missing? What could we stand to learn from our abilities to give life to the meaning of who we are being? And could taking back that creative power lend us the freedom and peace we are collectively searching for?
What if we create nothing and that lights our way?
What then are the possibilities for who we can become?