where the writers are
My Now Life
Amazon.com Amazon.com
Powell's Books Powell's Books

Once a current spiritual teacher told a group that I was in that luck really didn't exist.  Luck was, he said, was "'opportunity meeting preparedness."

So there was nothing lucky or miraculous about getting the right job or book contract or mate.  It was about us being prepared--having done the work we need to do as people--and then setting forth into the world finding what was available.  Nothing lucky about it.

For a while I didn't want to believe that saying, imaging that there were amazing episodes of luck for every person.  Perhaps, I was trying to avoid the hard work that goes along with "preparedness."  Getting prepared is the hard part.  Getting prepared to find the things we want in life--jobs, contracts, mates--takes work, unless of course we settle for jobs, contracts, mates we don't really want or need.  Jobs that we hate, mates that we become resigned to, contracts that compromise us.

Working to the point of finding what we want hurts sometimes, and I just didn't want to go through the effort it would take to get the things I wanted.  I was tired.  I was exhausted, actually, having lived a good long while in a way I didn't want to, and wasn't it just my turn to have these other things? 

When the spiritual teacher said this about luck, I wanted to stand up and tell him he was wrong, but that would have been counterproductive and embarrassing.  So I listened and resented him instead.

And then I went out and did the years of hard work that it would take to find the life I wanted.  And I found it, years later.  Here I am.

I could whine a little and explain to you what leaving my marriage was like and all the things I had to burn through--things and people--to get out.  There were many dark nights of the darkest soul possible.  Then there were fewer nights like that, sort of slightly gray nights of the soul.  There were many bad dates and weird dates and strange journeys with strange people, myself being one of the strange.  There was changing the way I did my work, at school and at home.  There was the ripping myself out of book contracts and mortgages and relationships. 

It was messy and harsh, and I lost a few people along the way.  I regret that I couldn't do it all in a pretty manner, but there was no marker, map, strategy that I could have employed as all such rebirths are individual.  And so, almost seven years to the date since it all started, here I am.

I found it, though it didn't' t land in a lump at my feet.  I didn't find it in a paper bag at the side of the road, a million crisp bills within.  I prepared myself and opportunity and I met at the crosswalk.  Damn.  The spiritual teacher was right.