It’s becoming increasingly popular for people to give back regardless of where they are in life. I attribute that partially to social media- technology that allows the average person to shamelessly promote the good they are doing in the world for the sake of likes. Partially, I think this is just a function of our society truly becoming more self-aware and more compassionate.

The law of the attraction is pretty clear. Whether we refer back to books like Think and Grow Rich, The Secret, The Bible, The Upanishads, basic Yogic wisdom of karma; the world seems to be slowly awakening to the mechanic of cosmic abundance. This wisdom descended upon me when I was at the lowest point in my life and was seriously asking myself, “what am I doing with my life?”

I had come to a place where I had to concede that life can be hard or at least, I was making a lot harder than it needed to be merely as a result of my stubbornness in many areas and general self-centeredness. There came a moment… really, it was a series of moments that followed in slow succession like mountain peaks slowly transitioning from yellow to orange to brillant red in autumn. I began to see for the first time since childhood that my parents truly are super heroes.

Despite all of the challenges that life throws at us they still managed to continue forward with their heads held high. They continued to provide for their five children by putting food in our months, clothes on our backs and a roof over our heads all while investing in our futures by signing us up for sports and other extracurricular activities. These extras help all of us shape our identifies, build social skills and develop self-confidence. They didn’t have time for depression although I am now very aware of the fact that they did experience their own versions of this. They didn’t wallow in the muck in ways that were very evident to me as a self-absorbed child but conversations with my parents in my young adult life has revealed that they had both, in fact, experienced their share of moments when they thought to their self, “this might be the end”.

I am so grateful for my parents. They are both strong, beautiful, glowing expressions of the creator’s majesty. Their character is unmatched in any individuals that I have met thus far in life. Their dedication and devotion to our family is without question the most consistent Earthly phenomenon I’ve experience shy of breathing and the sun shining every day.

My parents were such regular fixtures in my life that I had come to take them for granted in very much the same way I had come to take for granted waking up every morning. My grandmother had always said that “every day that you wake up, Quentin, is a good day,” in her weathered old-southern-black-woman-voice. Having fallen out of the practice of saying my morning prayers shortly after hitting puberty, facing my own personal crisis was such  a humbling occurrence that I have been forced to my knees to ask  for help from a the creator so that I can keep on moving forward. It may seem strange, but through this place of self-absorption, I was able to see my parents and their countless sacrifices for me and my siblings through the fire of my personal ordeals.

This article isn’t just about pain, my pain or anyone else’s. It is about the fiery furnace of transformation that every person who has every accomplished anything timeless has had to go through in order to shed the layers of bullshit that keep them from moving into the purity of a truly loving and blessed way of living.

Yes, depression is a reality for some of us at times. It’s been my experience that these feelings of being down are often a result distorted ways of looking at our current circumstances. When we unconsciously color our life through the singular lens of self-absorption it is easy to fall into the trap of giving away our power by playing the victim or any number of other excuses which shift our power of self-determination away from us. Any resistance to this acceptance can elongate these downward cycles.

Through gratitude, we begin to experience as very essential reality. We begin to experience other people’s experiences as our own. This goes back to our organization’s matra: i Am You. By creating an atmosphere of gratitude for the actors in your life, whether they be family, friends, coworkers, enemies, animals, mineral, prana or nature; you begin to shift your perspective from a selfish and isolated point of view, to a wider lens that places you within the line of sight of grace and love.

If I could boil this article down into a few simple phrases then it would be this: Life isn’t just a marathon. It’s a relay. Without the others, the race will never be won. Be grateful for all you’ve experience and love is sure to shine upon you much brighter 🙂