Clarity is defined as the quality of being clear, particularly the quality of being easy to see or hear; sharpness of image or sound.
What is clarity to you? In my experience clarity is a momentary glimpse into the ideal vision of your life and your path. It's one of those things that I must work constantly toward but that still only shows it's face in rare moments of epiphany. For example, the moment before I decided to take ownership of my life (more details below), was a moment of clarity. The moment before I left my lifelong career in pursuit of my lifelong passion(more details below), was a moment of clarity. The moment after I met my wife, was a moment of clarity. These are pivotal moments in my path that without a doubt shaped and continue to shape my future. But it's important to note that the clarity came before the actions. Clarity born out of discontentment with my current circumstance, and out of a vision that life is more than "this".
These moments are not powerful only for the fact that they offered relief to my pain, that I felt inspired in them, or that I saw opportunity in them. These moments were powerful because they changed my perspective! A perspective shift can spark the most monumental growth in a person's life and everyone has their shot at experiencing this. I'm finding that that shift is the thing that I may be chasing so desperately. I am a perspective shift addict. For example, I recently jumped into a 9-5 lifestyle in pursuit of a new perspective, it has been a great learning experience, but has also brought even more clarity to what I know to be my purpose. This is what brings me to this blog today.
We are all in pursuit of our happiness but do we all know what our happiness actually entails? Maybe that happiness is completely dependent on the growth of your perspective. I know that I'm constantly trying to whittle down to that answer... today the whittling is leading me toward the value of perspective shift...bringing me back to the concept of clarity, and how you can catch some for yourself.
1) Things don't have to be going well for you to find clarity.
I lost my father at a young age, and despite having a loving mother I struggled deeply in his absence. A few years after my father's passing, I found myself sharing a home with a heroine addict, my step-father. He was a good man broken by addiction and driven to abuse, by both weakness and desperation. My perspective on this situation left me with a feeling of worthlessness, despite being encouraged by some that I could do whatever I set my mind to, the reality was that I was lost, hurting, and lacking guidance in an environment that nurtured the idea that we are weaker than our demons.
2) The greatest growth follows moments of discontent, and even desperation
Out of a sheer lack of options I became interested in baseball, and at age 14 decided to devote everything I had to it. At first I sucked at it, but as I avoided home more and more it opened up the time needed to work on my pitching skills. I began to develop not only skill, but a vision for what my future COULD look like. This was a fantastical future that I held in my mind to contrast the dull reality that my environment stifled my chances of growth and the reality that I did not feel valued, loved, guided, or cared for in the ways that a boy of 14 needs or deserves. I saw desperation traumatically destroy a good man whom I loved as a father, and in turn decided to use my own desperation to motivate myself toward a better vision instead...this is the first perspective shift/epiphany/moment of clarity that I ever remember. This is where I became ADDICTED to that shift, that concept of clarity that stimulates growth, and oddly enough this is also where I became obsessed with creating music...this was what some would call a true "God moment."
3) Everything Balances Out If You Let It
The machine like response to my situation had to be balanced by a more connected and vulnerable pursuit. Knowing that my father had been a musician, both in passion and profession, helped to propel me toward using music to express my own pain, loneliness, loss, and to reflect on my path and the paths of those around me. Like baseball, I was no good at first but I played my fingers bloody and wrote hundreds of songs out of my need to move the pain I felt from the inside to the outside. This grew and grew and my music became more than pain and loss, it became triumph and love, it became my clarity.
4) Pain Leads to Awareness, which leads to Reflection... REFLECT!
Now I'm not writing this just to chat about myself, my story, and what I've learned. That cant add the value to your life that you deserve in the same way that this next message can. I'm writing this instead to remind all of you that everyone experiences moments of desperation. That desperation can drive you to weakness or to strength, and the choice is yours. You matter enough to embrace your worth and to devote your strength toward growing your perspective. Now this strength can come from within, from those around you, from your connection to God, from your pain, or from any number of other things. Just remember that we are not weaker than our demons and its important to notice your value and your power here. If you don't value yourself then you will attract others who don't value themselves and who in turn don't value YOU. In this environment it is so hard to find clarity. Nobody else is going to feel your pain, but we can ALL relate in the fact that we all deserve live in a way that makes it easy to value ourselves. This doesn't mean being a saint or doing good deeds...this simply means to take a moment every day to reflect on your value, your power, who you are, who you want to be, and what you're going to do to get there. This, in my opinion, will give you the BEST chance of bringing clarity to your life. I find myself in need of this same advice every single day. Moments of discontent lead to reflection, leading to actions, leading to inspiration, bringing clarity, and the cycle continues as we grow and improve.
5) You're only as good as your impact on others
In the pursuit of clarity we owe it to ourselves to experience as many perspectives as possible, to encourage others to take ownership of their fate, and to be incredibly positive in nurturing the growth of those around you just as you are in nurturing your self. In one phrase to sum this up, we owe it to the world to express our value. To our loved ones, to god, to the universe...to anything else that you may believe in. I find myself at a crossroads currently with what I choose to devote my life to...how I bring the most value to the world and people around me... it's a question we all have to answer at some point, ...until then, keep pondering. Thank you for reading.
"In desperation find strength, in loss find clarity, and in silence find music." #CatchingClarity