The grey beginning

This is not a site about personal development. I like you fine, warts and all. In fact, your warts are what I love about you. Nothing is more obnoxious than a saint, unless it’s someone who’s trying to be one. So light up that Marlboro; I won’t complain. I’m having a mocha overstuffed with sugar and two shots of espresso, even though I know the caffeine will keep me up tonight.

This is not a site about how you need to lose ten pounds OR YOU WILL DIE TOMORROW!!! or how to stop yelling at your dog UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE A BAD AND EVIL PERSON FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!!! And, no, I don’t have the first idea what you should do about your 401(k).

This is a site about coping with the hard things in life (major loss, catastrophe, even) and accepting the gifts that such experiences offer us.

Now I’m going to tell you a story. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

When my daughter was three days old, a neurologist said to me, “Your daughter’s brain is massively deformed.”

In the heartbeat that followed this pronouncement, I thought the very best thing that could happen would be for us to die in a tragic auto accident on the way home from the hospital. You might call that not wanting to deal with the world as it is.

Later, when I decided I would do everything I could to cure my daughter, I was trying out another fantasy: that everything would be all right if everything just changed, if I just did something about it. The world was not to my liking, but it could be altered so that I would like it better, if I just tried hard enough.

On the day I thought, “I need to let go of everything I think I know about life,” I found the path through the forest. In thinking that, I chose the positive road, the warrior’s way, the path I like to think of as the Tao: saying yes to life in all its joy and sorrow.

In the beginning, what I sought for my daughter was something out there: an elixir, a cure, a magic amulet that would make her all right, take away her crippling disease. But there exists no such thing. What I learned, instead, was how to find everything I needed inside of me: acceptance, courage, strength—and joy.

On the art of not solving problems