Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Last week my business website vanished without a trace, taking my primary email account with it. The culmination of countless hours I've spent polishing my online presence to most brightly reflect my professional self was in one instant taken away without recourse or explanation, along with the email address that every current and potential client uses to reach me.

I had to actively combat my natural tendency to make this a crisis of the highest proportion. I'm quite capable of creating a calamity out of misplaced keys and of turning a red light into an inconvenience of the highest order, so you can imagine what this would do to me if I didn't practice some essential spiritual principles like they weren't just a theory.

So I clung tightly and with conscious effort to the thought that this was some sort of clearing-out, a colonic of the soul that would allow a new and wondrous opportunity or insight to emerge. Meanwhile I slowly and methodically began creating some stop-gap measures for damage control, such as shutting down my Google and Yahoo ads and other broken links that would quickly begin to degrade the SEO (search engine optimization) I've worked assiduously to develop and maintain. I simultaneously began a forensic and fundamentally fruitless investigation into the cause of this massive crash of my hosting server.

And then, as suddenly as it disappeared, my website and email came back online, initially in sporadic bursts and then consistently stable. I don't yet have a full understanding of the cause although some pieces are beginning to fall into place. What I do understand is that surely gratitude and joy are the hallmarks of heaven. Already the gift basket seems quite full.

I'm gradually re-tethering myself to the links and contacts that have been integral to my sustained professional success (OK, in conjunction with my experience and skill). But I eventually noticed that an article I had just written and uploaded before the crash was no longer there. I felt a momentary pang, remembering the effort I made to get it to read just so.

I quickly laughed at myself for this momentary faltering of what had just moments before been unblemished gratitude. It brought to my mind this famous joke, attributed to Myron Cohen

A Jewish grandmother is watching her grandchild playing on the beach when a huge wave suddenly crashes over him and carries him out to sea. She pleads, “Please God, save my only grandson! I beg of you, God, bring him back.” Immediately another big wave comes and washes the boy back onto the beach in front of her, good as new. She hugs him, crying with joy, then slowly she begins to frown and then looks up to heaven and calls out: “He had a hat!”
Gratitude is an ephemeral attribute, and the broken links that were all around me online were just pale reflections of how quickly and totally I am capable of vanishing from this all-important connection to my soul. I see people every day struggle and suffer in this faltering economy, to say nothing of the inequities that define the basic existence of so many millions of people around the world. As I wrote in one of my very first blog entries called "Drinking Starbucks While Others Starve", I have a moral responsibility to be grateful for the quality of problems I have and burdens I carry.

Gratitude is as much an ongoing, necessary and invaluable responsibility of my heart as breathing to my lungs.

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