Memoirs of a Minyan: The Phoenix!
The purpose of the journey is the journey itself.
As I looked to the sky and spoke to my grandfather, trying to sort through the disparate aspects of my existence, tears formed in my eyes. Minutes later, I began to sob uncontrollably. I couldn't remember the last time I cried but it was surely measured in years, not months.
Sept. 11. Losing Ruby. Leaving a high-profile perch atop a lucrative hedge fund. Battles with established media based purely on principle. Chewing through most of my life savings.
The thoughts sped quicker and quicker as I stood in the empty desert. I turned around to make sure I knew where I was; I wasn't quite sure I did. I was confused, angry, sad, lonely, bitter and empty all at the same time.
Without warning, the skies opened up and cried alongside me; rain pounded down with intense pressure. I felt sorry for myself, heaped misery upon misery and absorbed as much pain as possible, feeling as if I somehow deserved the wrath of nature.
"Perfect," I said out loud in an act of defiance, "Bring it!"
I looked down, around and back at my two feet placed firmly in the desert sand and suddenly realized I was in a safe place. It was then that I connected with the person I lost years earlier and found the friend who was missing since Sept. 11.
I let the rain consume me, raising my arms in the air as my head fell back. I felt a smile creep upon my face.
As I let go of the pain and strain of my internal burdens, a ray of sunlight peeked through the clouds and kissed me on the cheek. I was certain it was my grandfather, putting his hand on my shoulder, telling me to think positive, that "this too shall pass." To this day, nobody will convince me otherwise.
I've always been spiritual but that was different. It was a sign.
Something very powerful shifted within that day. When I walked into the desert, I operated from a position of finality. At 35, I saw who I was, what I made, where I had been and whom I was with. There was comfort in being able to define my experiences but that safety came with the cost of containment.
By the time I arrived back in my room, there was a tangible sense of release, as if I shed the weight of the world, left it in the desert and arrived at a new beginning. Rather than obsessing about what was, I felt extremely blessed to have an opportunity to shape what could be.
I didn't have much money, my future was uncertain and there were real risks in my master plan.
But what did I feel? Gratitude. Immense, complete, absolving gratitude.
It was then I understood that the greatest opportunities are born from the most profound obstacles, and the greatest wisdom is bred as a function of pain.
Click here for the next chapter of memoirs, "Lessons Learned."
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Todd Harrison is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minyanville. Prior to his current role, Mr. Harrison was President and head trader at a $400 million dollar New York-based hedge fund. Todd welcomes your comments and/or feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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