No pressure, no diamond.Never look at a diamond without seeing its origin. A diamond is a crystal of pure carbon formed by the intense heat and pressure of the overlying rock bearing down upon it that's brought to the surface by a violent, deep-seated volcanic eruption. Even then, by all appearances in its raw form a rather simple-looking rock. Only through precise cutting are its true radiance, beauty, and unparalleled hardness forcibly brought into existence.
Someone asked me the other day about the cost of leaving our safety nets, our careers, and our comforts to launch our own endeavor. I sat quietly, fumbling for words. How could I give authentic impact to the truth? We've paid everything, and over and over again, we've had to give more. Each time, we dug down, our weathered, cracked hands scraping the rock bottom to dig in a little deeper.
I feel like I've returned from a three year vision quest where I completely lost my shit - like this entire experience shed all excess layers, all bullshit away from my experience. I stripped myself bare, and others too. I peeled back layers of time, meaning, purpose, effort, work, love, marriage, money, depression, frustration, anger, joy, hope, disappointment, outrage, and courage until nothing remained. I cowered in the silence and darkness of having no purpose and no point in breathing. I felt lost in space: drifting, timeless, weightless, muted; without place or reason. I clung to our crew of a handful of trustworthy souls, and leaned on fellow business-folk like lamp-posts on a moonless night, linking kind words to knowing smiles to blindly feel my way towards the next rest-stop.
There was once an oak tree growing beside a river, and there was also a reed growing beside that same river. The oak tree was very proud and boastful, while the reed was very modest. Even when the oak tree insulted the little reed, the reed remained cheerful, refusing to argue with the sturdy tree."You are such a puny and small plant," the oak tree said to the reed. "Just look at how tall I am and how hard my trunk and branches are! You, on the other hand, are tiny, weak, and worthless." The reed simply smiled at the oak tree but said nothing in reply.Then one day the sky grew dark with thunderclouds. Rain began to pour down from the sky and mighty winds began to blow. The reed was able to bend and sway in the wind, but the oak tree was torn up by the roots and fell to the ground. In the end, it was the reed, not the oak, who survived. ~ Aesop's Fable 70: The Oak Tree and the Reed
Tired, we kept working. Scared, we persevered. Angry, we held our tongues. Poor, we learned to need less. Doubtful, we quietly stayed the course. These three years have been a blustery storm; to survive, we bent as the wind blew, slowly growing a stronger, more flexible core. That same wind that chafed us, and pushed us, and caused restless nights made us dig deeper and deeper until our roots grew strong, as our outer selves learned to yield to the subtleties of nature.
It's always darkest just before the dawn.Isn't it though? And isn't the answer to always trust the the journey? The process? Ignore the destination - it's a lie, a farce, a distraction! Nothing has been what it seems in this life, and if I've learned anything it's to embrace the darkness - for the light really is waiting just around the next turn. I recall hiking in the jungle of Costa Rica towards Cerro Chirripo - we started in the pitch black of night. The jungle at 3am is not a pleasant place. To be honest, it's absolutely fucking terrifying. My buddy took off at a quicker pace ahead leaving me with my light of my headlamp, endless uphill mud, the flickering eyes of bugs and creatures, and the nonstop racketing symphony of jungle. I hiked and prayed to a god I was pretty sure had stopped listening to me for the sun to please just come up a little sooner. I could feel the shadows sizing me up; the bustle in branches well overhead of animals moving; the rattle and shuffle of bugs and snakes. The instant dawn broke, it was like emerging from a fever-induced nightmare. Just a hint of violet in the rainforest canopy, a different symphonic movement, birds waking up and shaking off the dew - and it was enough for a simple, but rare thing - hope. That brilliant dawn is worth all the dark nights in the world.