March 5, 2012

Appreciating Every Adventure

The challenging adventures in your journey are powerful paths designed to provide you strength, awareness and accomplishment for positive, celebratory reflection on the calmer, easier days.

It seems like nothing is ever as fast and easy as we desire.  And, when we do declare our frustration with the process, one of our friends will toss out the standard line “if it were easy anyone could do it.”  Life’s journeys are designed to be challenging so we can appreciate two things about them: how difficult it was and all the amazing things we learned along the way.  If life was as simple as we all would like it to be, we would not learn very much about ourselves under pressure and we wouldn’t benefit from the knowledge gained as it relates to the experience.

Life is not easy.  Life will never be easy.  And, the more you embrace the gift of the adventure, the more you will realize how truly capable and strong you are.  And, you will have incredible insights and stories to share with others who are experiencing what you already have gone through.

When I speak with people regarding their journeys and the difficulties they experience in working through life’s challenges, I help them focus on the opportunity of the challenge rather than attempting to understand why it is happening and how to make it stop.  When something difficult is placed before you, it has not been put there for you to try to avoid it or understand it; it has been placed before you as an adventure – an opportunity to learn from the process of overcoming adversity and facilitate accomplishment.

When I attended my oldest son’s PhD ceremony last spring, the speaker talked about the excitement of adventures.  As he detailed a few of his more significant adventures, he emphasized that his best adventures were the ones that began from the direst situations.  Then, as he found his way out of trouble, he was able to look back at what started out as a very frightening, serious situation and discover excitement and accomplishment in having worked his way through the adventure.  As he explained in his talk, it is in the moment of our adventures that we learn the most about ourselves and it is the greatest source of innovation and growth.  While most adventures aren’t necessarily very fun at the beginning, the experience, the lessons, and the outcome can be very satisfying and beneficial in the long term.

I look at the adventures in my life over the past few years as some of the most painful and yet, most rewarding, powerful time in my life.  Dealing with Brandon’s addiction related issues have caused me more pain than I ever thought possible.  On the other hand, the lessons, the experience, and the transformation in my life have been an incredible gift.  Here is an adventure that very nearly destroyed me and is now inspiring me in ways I never thought or believed possible.  I did not always find the experience enjoyable or easy.  I wasn’t always patient in searching for the answers.  And, I often struggled to keep moving.  However, I trusted in myself and in those around me and reminded myself to keep going forward, no matter what.  In the end, I kept moving, I continually listened to others for advice and inspiration, and I allowed myself to engage with those who were in a position to love, guide, and support me.  And, while many aspects of the adventure are not behind me, I have discovered a great deal about myself, my life and my passion – all because I faced this adventure as a challenge with a commitment to passionately focus on working and learning through it.

When we find ourselves in the midst of an unplanned adventure remember, there are no shortcuts and there are no easy, quick answers. The best we can do for ourselves in that situation is keep moving, keep learning, keep believing and focus on discovering how to work through it so  we can appreciate the lessons and celebrate the story afterward.

About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.