In the days after my father died, there were many quiet moments and many stories told. It was a small thing my mother said while crying over tea that allowed me to connect these small stories of my great-grandfather, my grandfather and my father. I never realized that they form a legacy I'm a part of.
Part of everyone's journey in life is to arrive at precipice or fork in the road or at the end of a path and to realize we no longer know our way. Hard as this is, this is where the inner journey begins, when all we've carried has served its purpose and now we must burn it for warmth and to see what's next.
No matter what we're going through, the opposite is happening somewhere else at the same time. This awareness doesn't minimize our own experience but adds context and medicine to the truth of any given moment, the way a rip in the curtains we have drawn seems like a violation of the privacy we so wanted though it is only letting the light of the world in. This poem tries to understand this paradox.
When in the crucible of a difficult life change, I went to be by the sea, to clear my head, to open my heart, to imagine next steps. What I found was the beauty and resilience of life waiting under my trouble and all trouble. It helped me look beneath my pain and confusion to remember that while what happens when we're alive can be alarming and disappointing, the fact that we're alive is all that matters.
With Christmas in the rear view mirror, and New Year's just up ahead, it's the perfect time to reflect on the year gone by, and thank everyone in the HuffPost community for helping make 2013 such a record-shattering year for us. Last month, HuffPost attracted 94 million unique visitors, with nearly 45 percent of that traffic coming from our eight international editions (with Brazil and Korea joining the fold in the next two months). HuffPost Live continues to make news and attract views -- nearly 110 million in November, and over 750 million since it launched. And our Third Metric initiative -- devoted to redefining success beyond money and power to include well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving -- has taken off across the globe in a remarkable way. Clearly 2013 was a year in which many of us felt the need to bring more mindfulness into our lives and reconnect with what really matters -- a perfect New Year's resolution for 2014.
When you are a supporting character of your own life and you let others be the protagonist, you'll look back and see that there is nothing left. But when you take ownership and be grateful in your own skin and lead with the giving heart, then you are THE protagonist of your own life. Your feet will be grounded.
Sooner or later, just by living, we are reduced to what matters, as so many things we thought were important and irreplaceable are broken or snapped like small branches in a storm. And somehow, we stand taller with less coverings. It is then we begin to feel gratitude, even though it's hard to be grateful for what is difficult.