April 9, 2012

What A Difference A Year Makes

When you look for opportunity in adversity, you will discover the strength and courage to face it. 

It was a year ago that I celebrated the accomplishment of my goal — 100 consecutive bicycle rides of one hour or longer.  I began those rides in a quest to gain control and perspective in my life in the face of the pain, confusion and desperation with Brandon’s addiction related issues.  While I had no idea what these rides would offer me in terms of a solution or outcome, I proceeded forward with the mindset that I had to do something.

On this journey I discovered so much.  I found strength, peace, my inner spirit, and perspective.  And, as I shared my thoughts, pain, and experiences, I found a community of people who were both fans of the commitment and of the insights.

What I didn’t realize was how the lessons, the experiences, and the community would continue to influence me long after I celebrated my 100th ride.

Today, I celebrate the gift of the lessons and of a heightened awareness of all the incredible opportunities placed before me daily.  It is because of the experiences of my journey that I am able to discover opportunity in the midst of conflict; and, I have found the confidence to embrace these challenges with a significant  passion and commitment.

This does not mean any conflict is easy.  It doesn’t mean I do not get nervous or concerned about it.  Believe me, I have my moments.  But, that is what they have become – mere moments. The lessons learned from previous experience and my ability to discover opportunity in the midst of these conflicts empower me to face adversity with the confidence that I can and will move through this; and, I will discover a solution and a lesson in the process.

I have two very close friends who faced their own adversities in the past year.  Both of them loved their work — they enjoyed the experiences, the relationships and found incredible joy in being a resource to those around them in their professional assignments.  In both situations, they found themselves rudely forced out of their jobs.  In one case, their employer simply didn’t recognize the value of their work; and, in the other, their employer decided to plan for their retirement – even though they weren’t ready.  In both cases, the experience was hurtful and painful.  They had each made a passionate commitment to their profession.  They loved what they were doing and they made a difference in the world.  And, they felt kicked to the curb and devalued when they were forced out from something they really loved.

Fast forward a year.  Both of them have begun to discover the joy and opportunity associated with the changes in their lives.  They each embraced the future with the commitment that there is another opportunity waiting them.  While they still feel the emotional pain of the overall experience, they have each found new joy as they discover and embrace other activities, opportunities and relationships.  What each of them has started to realize is that the role that they played in their respective “jobs” may have been taken away; but, it does not change who they are.  They have each discovered how to leverage their previous lessons and experiences to embrace opportunity in their lives. And, they have discovered that their ability to be awesome was not dependent upon their jobs, but exists within them.  They can celebrate who they are anywhere, with anyone, at any time.  That is very empowering!

What a difference a year makes!  So true.  Life throws us curves.  Life can give us pain.  Life can be very, very frustrating and hurtful.  However, every painful, hurtful struggle is an opportunity to learn, grow and improve.  We are often not prepared for what comes our way.  However, we can have faith in who we are — our make-up, our previous experiences, and our community – that we will get through this; plus, we will discover a benefit from the experience, as well.  When you look for opportunity in the challenge, you will find the strength and courage to face it.  Enjoy and celebrate your life!

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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.