4 Lessons from 2013
1: Humans need to stay connected to other humans.
One of our most common tendencies when we are exhausted –physically or emotionally — is to isolate ourselves and disconnect. I did that a few years ago when my son Diego’s was diagnosed with Autism. I neglected my friends and relatives and only learned later that staying connected was the best medicine I could have given myself at that time. Now I realize that behind life’s greatest events there is always an element of human connection, not an element of human disconnection.
This essay is about how 2013 has been such a great year for me and what I learned along the way. I think about Penelope Trunk and her World Trade Center survival story: “I remembered one more moment under the rubble. When I couldn’t breathe. When I couldn’t see. In the middle of the dead quiet was a voice. He said, “Is there anyone here? Can someone hold my hand?” I reached out to the voice, and held his hand. It was shaking and the skin was old”. That was the hand of a dying person asking for human connection in what was probably the last minutes of his life. This is a perfect example of how we yearn for human connection – not just at death, but all through life.
2: Keep your body connected no matter what.
This year I focused on ideas so much and worked so hard that my body got separated from my head (not literally, that would be terrible). I neglected my body so it got inflated with 20 pounds of “air”! My body went up in the sky just like a balloon. Thank God I was able to grab the string on that balloon in time before I landed on Mars. I pulled the string down and here I am, making sure that little by little my head and body are reconnected once again.
As creative people, we tend to spend lots of time in our heads. That’s not a bad thing as long as we get out of that place often enough to remember that we also have a body. Our body is our vehicle to go places. If we don’t keep it in good shape, we can’t go very far. I have promised myself to keep my body and mind connected in 2014.
3: Pay attention to the most important people in your life.
Something great this year was my relationship with Natalie and Diego. It got even stronger. Most nights I spent special time with them before bed. Focusing on them, listening to their stories, laughing with them and making jokes. It is amazing what a few minutes of love a day can do for your happiness and for the happiness of your loved ones.
Remove yourself from whatever is going on and stay present for your children and your partner. They have their own struggles and preoccupations so listen to them. If you give your best to them, they will give their best to you and that will make everyone’s life a so much nicer experience.
4: Challenge yourself to do something difficult.
I am proud of myself for having built this place, my paper place and the new shop. This was a lot to carry out in one year for someone who is not a professional website/blog builder. It was a self-imposed challenge. The main idea behind this challenge was to teach myself something new/valuable, and to break away from my plateau as an artist. Sometimes we feel like we’re not moving forward, like we are not inspired enough to make special things happen. I felt like that before I set out to built these new places on the internet. Now everything is exciting, wonderful things are happening and I am receiving the fruits of all the hard work.
If we only choose to do what is easy, then we will have to accept the fact that nothing extraordinary will happen. When it comes to your career or to anything else (relationships, dreams) you get as much as you give. My son Diego is a great example of it. He wouldn’t be where he is now if he didn’t work really hard to overcome many of his challenges. The rewards for his hard work are too many to mention here, but it all boils down to one thing: he is a happy person who enjoys life. There was a lot that he was missing before his brain started developing thanks to his hard work through all the therapies.
Tomorrow the new year starts and it is going to be great! Let’s create some wonderful things in 2014 and let’s stay connected. I am so looking forward to it!
I send you a big hug!