As I walked across the mottled clay tiles of the Alvord Desert, I was struck by the impermanence of everything. Thousands of years ago, the ground beneath me was submerged in two hundred feet of water. Geological change caused the then-lake to burst forth from its confines and fill rivers to the south. Today, the 140 square mile "playa" is dry half the year. During the season of my visit - when most of the five inches of average annual precipitation falls on the desert - water crept across the landscape like a mirage from the northeast. I stood alongside it and watched as it bubbled closer and closer to my feet. Slowly. Surely. In the words of the Buddha, Everything vanishes.
In my dad’s obituary, I wrote that he was "probably the nicest man you’ve ever met." Someone told me I should have never written "probably" because Marc Butler was undoubtedly the nicest man he’d ever met.
In yoga, there's a concept known as "releasing into." It's what we aim to do when we get into poses that are uncomfortable. We focus on breathing and "send the breath" to the places we feel tension and discomfort whilst trying to settle in beyond the resistance. We can apply this same concept to our lives.
I read something recently: whatever choice you make, it will be the right one because it’s the one that will move you forward in your journey. It will change where you’re at right now by creating new circumstances for your life, and those circumstances will be precisely the ones you’re supposed to occupy.
On August 6, 2017, I lost my favorite person on the planet.
I had my first "encounter" with depression my sophomore year of college. I remember the time and place of it like it was yesterday - and even still today as I reflect on it I can feel those first moments - the emptiness, the confusion, the loneliness and desperation. Sadness swept over me like a wave, and the lights went out all around me. And, more painfully, the lights went out inside of me. I had no idea what was happening, and I certainly didn’t know what to do about it.
It’s only as a result of difficult circumstances that trees grow in the direction of achieving their full potential…