“Everything Happens for a Reason”

Hey there,

On Friday I shared a bit of my history and that pivotal moment in my life when I decided to stop using drugs.

There is a cliché that’s often bandied about in self-help and get-off-your-ass-and-do-something circles and that is,

“Everything happens for a reason.”

What we most often take from this is that there is some divine plan at work; that we are a part of a bigger scheme devised by God, or the Universe, or whatever name you choose to describe the force that drives what we know as reality.

There’s comfort in the idea that someone else has gone to the trouble to think about our lives in advance and that even if we are miserable our lives serve some greater purpose.

I’m not here to tell you that’s not true. For all I know it is, but there’s another way to look at this phrase that I find more helpful and that is:

“Nothing happens without a reason.”

At it’s simplest this is the Law of Cause and Effect applied to your life. This means that everything that is happening in your life right now is the result of things that happened before.

There are some people who will tell you the past doesn’t matter, that it’s all about right now and what you do with your future.

There’s some merit to this, but if you don’t understand the missteps of the past you’re bound to repeat them in the future.

It’s important for me to realize, I didn’t just become a drug addict because I had nothing else to do. There was a sequence of events and their associated emotional responses that drove me toward a place where a manufactured happiness seemed my only recourse.

This does not mean I wasn’t responsible for what I did.  Every choice I made I made of my own free will, but it does show me why I was inclined to make those choices and how I can orient my future so that I’m not inclined to repeat those errors.

If you went to Sunday School as a kid you probably remember singing “This Little Light of Mine.” It’s a syrupy little ditty all about how we’re not supposed to hide that special little light of individuality that, if you’re Christian or Jewish, God put in each one of us. (Don’t worry, if you’re not Christian or Jewish, you still have that light, it just got put there by someone other than dear old Yahweh.)

For most of us, this is the original sin. We let someone else convince us there was something wrong with our light and we hid it. I believe that most of our subsequent suffering came as a result of squashing who we really are and then trying to deal with feelings that came from that.

Do you remember when you were a kid and hadn’t yet learned to care what other people thought of you? Do you remember how goofy and spontaneous and joyful and free you were? Did you know you were beautiful?

Did you know that still lives inside you?

To your perfect imperfection,

Dave

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