Finding that “thing”

We all want to find that one thing we’re good at. That alignment between our persona; mission and work that is fulfilling. But you know what? Chances are we’re not the first person to have done it. There’s been a lot of people doing a lot of things throughout history. Even now, nearing 8 billion people, there are only so many “things” that can be done.

But no one can do your thing like you can. No one has the same you-ness that makes your contribution value. Not finding it, that deprives the world of what you were here to offer.

As Marianne Williamson wrote in A Return to Love: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”


Quite a month

March was, without a doubt, the strangest month that I’ve ever been privy to. It had ups, and it had downs. Mostly downs.

We’re still waiting for answers to questions over the health and wellness of the US, and the world at large. The financial sector continues to be in an uproar, and unemployment claims are skyrocketing. And all anyone can really ask is, “When will it end?”

The best news in times like these is to remember that it will end. Sometimes it doesn’t seem to move near-fast enough towards its resolution. But we don’t always get to control the speed. All we get to control is how we respond to it.

Some are better prepared. Some are less affected. Some are struggling to get by. Yet, we’re all a part of the new landscape, and its unclear still what the new normal will be.

Hitting bottom

So Dalio’s book caused me more introspection. This, coupled with my seclusion in Alaska, has brought some things to the forefront.

“Embracing your failures – and confronting the pain they cause you and others – is the first step toward genuine improvement; it is why confession precedes forgiveness in many societies. Psychologists call this ‘hitting bottom.’ If you keep doing this you will convert the pain of facing your mistakes and weaknesses into pleasure and ‘get to the other side’…”

If you were to rate days on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best, in my 12,000 or so days I’ve had twenty (estimate) days I would rate as a 1. That’s less than one bad day a year. But the fact is, those days tend to stand out more than any others. Those days rank higher in my internal auditing systems than any of the other days.

Richard Michael Hui wrote this enlightening piece on mistakes, and of those twenty or so days, I’d wager that 75% were from mistakes I had made. Maybe not specifically in that moment, but at least in the moments leading up to them. And if you’re able to learn from those mistakes – to accept and forgive yourself – you’re vastly ahead of the curve.

Day hikes

I’ve been taking some day hikes, clearing my head, getting out of the house, etc. And what strikes me about this pandemic is that, while I or others will step far to the side to let each other pass (six-foot rule), it’s all very pleasant. There’s no sense of discomfort or fear. It’s just caution and a shared understanding of the experience.

As the Nation’s leaders try to sort out this mess, we on the ground just have to keep on any way we can.

Weekly Rundown

All about Ketchikan, Volume Two.

The history of Ketchikan is closely tied to fishing. As I mentioned last week, the Kadjuck Tlingits made summer fishing camps along the coast of this island at the Tongass Narrows. But it was in 1883 that a salmon saltery (fish packaging operation) was established. This saltery, started by Mike Martin, was the first such business in place.

In 1885, Loring cannery opened its doors; in 1887, the Tongass Packing Company built its cannery; other immigrants began to open businesses, and in 1900, on August the 25th, the City of Ketchikan was incorporated with a population of 459 residents.

Southeast Alaska is one of the great breeding grounds for all species of the Pacific Salmon. There are about 1,100 islands that make up the Alexander Archipelago, which themselves have steep inland ranges and streams (aided by the about 150 inches of rainfall each year). All these factors contribute to the returning salmon runs, some with upwards of one million fish!

During the mid-to-late summer, salmon can be seen running over the falls and fish ladder at Creek Street, right through Downtown Ketchikan.

Creek Street

Track the positivity

There’s some terrible stuff out there. This virus is just the latest in a string of negatives that link throughout history. At the same time, there are a number of voices railing against the negativity, offering positivity, an upbeat message, and even, if you’re open to it, hope.

Find the positive messages in the world. Take control of your emotion, and be hopeful. It’ll get better. And just maybe, we’ll have a better frame of reference for the next downswing we experience.