One Day Stronger – The Genesis
Welcome to the human experience. Some days you’re the cat. Some days you’re the litter box.
At the end of every day, though, we all put our heads down on our pillows, and for better or for worse, richer or poorer, healthier or sicker, we all get to take a deep breath and realize that no matter how awful today was, we’re one day stronger.
Why One Day Stronger?
What does it mean? Where did it come from?
The genesis is not that sexy. There was no flash of divine insight after a long meditation. I didn’t see a buzzing neon billboard in my mind after taking ayahuasca in Peru. There was no burning bush, no revelation. Nothing of the sort.
2015 was a challenging year for me to say the least. We hang our hats on only a few pillars of identity – be it our jobs, our relationships, our connection to our church, or our family. Take one of those away and we can be left wondering who we are and what we’re here for. Believe me, I know.
When my wife left unexpectedly, I was crushed. When the harsh reality became clear a few days later that my business situation would also be transitioning, I was left with what can only be called a colossal crisis of identity. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that soon after there was a day – a moment to be clearer – THE moment when I looked at the twelve pack in my fridge and the loaded pistol in my drawer and knew that one could lead to an irreversible decision that I really didn’t want to make with the other. There were two distinct choices – go dark, or go light. Both required going all in.
In I went. All in.
Adding sobriety to the two life shifts listed above changed every way I interacted with the world – in the same week. For months on end I felt like I was the litter box – every damn day – and the cat had epic gastrointestinal issues. No bueno.
One of the many hidden gems of the above situation, however, was getting to hear from other people who were also struggling. A friend who was bravely working himself off a pornography addiction reached out for some support. He vented that getting to the end of the day felt of no value as he would only have to start with his struggles again tomorrow.
My reply was simple, “Get to the end of the today sober. Do whatever you have to do to get there. Yes, your struggles will show up again tomorrow to fuck with you, but you’ll be one day stronger and maybe you can fuck with them back.”
That was it, I said it and then went and made some rice. It was a simple maxim. He lasted through the day, woke up one day stronger, and is still porn free to this day. My Sheriff buddy started telling the meth addicts on his beat the same line – it moved them. A woman I know with depression writes it on her bathroom mirror. It started to stick. I have it written on my hand as I type this.
Crisis Will Find All of Us At Some Point
The more people I talked to, the more I realized how challenging life is. Crisis will find us all at some point, sometimes more than once or twice. And the more challenging life gets, the more profound our internal choices become. Pass one test and a larger one is headed your way. This is the way Earth School works and we’re all enrolled.
We all yearn for the magic pill, the one that makes the pain go away. The one that makes whatever we’re going through less awful. The book, the CD set, the spiritual teaching that gives us what we want. Most days though, the lesson isn’t in getting what we want – it’s in learning how to live with grace in spite of getting exactly what we don’t.
There will be days, days that come as close to breaking you as they possibly can. The day you get the phone call that your fourth IVF treatment didn’t take and the hope is gone. The day the cancer that was previously in remission has returned and will take your prostate, if not more. The day you walk down the street and smell her perfume even though she’s been out of your life for five years but has never left your heart. The day you see photos of him with his arm around his new wife, who’s half your age, smiling with your kids, living happily in your old house. The day you lose everything, and then lock your keys in your car, and really have to pee.
Those days. Fuck you, cat.
Those days come in flavors exquisitely designed to push us to the brink of our very sanity and there isn’t a Tony Robbins quotation or Bible passage that’s going to do a damn bit of good. Those are the days you have to lean in and just take it. You didn’t choose the wrench, it chose you, and you can’t escape it.
But those are also the days that no matter what has happened, you can rest assured. You can take solace, no matter how small, in knowing that at some point you will lay yourself down, close your eyes, and, whether you believe it or not, you will be one day stronger.
Hold onto that on your dark days. Hold it next to your heart. Broken or otherwise.