The Crucibles of Life and the Opportunities for Golden Reinvention
Crucibles—the word rooted in the vessels medieval alchemists used to turn metals into gold—create just that: opportunities for golden reinvention–for finding meaning in daunting events that threaten to incapacitate you
A crucible is, by definition, a transformative experience through which an individual comes to a new sense of identity. I now realize a crucible is what I experienced in my apartment’s bedroom during the first few weeks of the New York City lockdown.
We are all tested by life, and some extract fortitude and wisdom from their most trying experiences. They are who we call survivors.
I am one of those. From the moment I landed as a Cuban exile in Miami when I was just six years old, to that of arriving in New York City thirty-five years ago, fleeing my life and my problems, some of them dangerous, to begin a new one here, I have been a survivor. And since then, despite its many blessings and joys, my life has been a rollercoaster of changing and evolving, of surviving intense pain and many challenges.
But none of that prepared me for the Pandemic.
Crucibles—the word rooted in the vessels medieval alchemists used to turn metals into gold—create just that: opportunities for golden reinvention–for finding meaning in daunting events that threaten to incapacitate you. That is why I call those early days of our confinement a crucible, for they gave me the chance of turning the potentially debilitating circumstances of our shared seclusion into a life-changing juncture.
I could see how I could be defeated by isolation and loneliness and chose otherwise.
I stopped listening to what my brain was telling me about fear and loss. Through meditation and reflection—and God knows I had plenty of time for both–I saw clearly how the separation from my family, friends, and colleagues, even the cashier at the deli and the coffee vendor in the corner, from all the people that were part of what once was my “normal” life, was affecting me, distorting my reality, and it was not a pretty picture.
So I stopped looking it that way, and listening to that voice, creating a new view and a new sound. Digging up insight and, after a while, strength, as the survivor that I am.
Here are some ways you can approach for surviving a crucible:
- Accept that life is uncertain and assume it–own it
- Reflect on what you want the near future to look like. Write it down and keep working to realize it
- Tell others about the future you want to create and ask them to support you in that vision and support them in theirs
- Have a schedule and follow it religiously
- Listen to your brain and separate the noise–it has no business in this matter
- Understand that what does not kill you makes you stronger–really get that
- Find a higher power
- Hire a coach and have that person hold you accountable through the transition
Life is constantly changing, and it is the interpretation you give situations that will alter the way you interact with the circumstances surrounding and affecting you. Life is what you make of it. A cliché perhaps–because it is so true. Be gentle with yourself, but be courageous.
It is doable–I’m making it, l’m still here.
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