I’m writing this article from a partially reclined hospital bed on the lavish fourth floor of Valley View Hospital — on Thanksgiving Day. As I lie here with intravenous antibiotic drip and a team of talented medical professionals tenderly attending to my every need, I think about the deeper meaning of what I’m really doing here. The French poet Antoine de Saint-Exupery famously penned “perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Contemplating this sentiment under the colossal windows of my gorgeous hospital room, I feel indescribable gratitude and joy through this experience.
My 3-step method for helping people discover simplicity, clarity and inspiration starts with step 1: purging that which no longer supports who we want to be and what we want to do. It recently became apparent that my chronic sinus infections are holding me back. It’s been years since I’ve felt 100 percent. Last month, I finally got some good medical advice and scheduled routine endoscopic sinus surgery to clean things out. My highly recommended, infinitely skillful and locally renowned ear, nose, and throat doctor confirmed some of the most infected sinuses he had ever seen.
Last Tuesday, my outpatient surgery went well and I was sent home with a bottle of antibiotics and instructions to take it easy; I should expect to feel better in a couple days. Unfortunately, a few days later there was a startling complication. An extremely rare secondary infection erupted out of the cavity next to my eye, and I was readmitted for emergency surgery. Writing this article four days later from the comfort of this magnificent hospital, I’m amused by the irony of this metaphor.
I believe there is a unique happiness found in simplicity; a clarity of vision and inspiration of purpose when a thing exists fundamentally stripped down to its bare essence. Profound transformational growth often requires going back, going deeper, looking more closely — more honestly at the self-sabotaging toxicity of long-dormant metaphorical infection. Sometimes these things are hidden deep under the surface, concealed out of plain sight. Sometimes they are difficult to identify, uncomfortable and inconvenient to address, even painful to work through. But ultimately, this process helps to clean out in order to move forward with unobstructed clarity.
I am here clearing my biological clutter, diligently following my own 3-step method. This has been an unexpected, inconvenient, and painful process — but has been essential to help strip me down to the bare essence of who I want to be and what I want to do. We don’t get to choose the hardships that teach us the important lessons — and life is full of them, some more painful than others. Hardships are simply incentivizing opportunities to evolve through challenge. Life is but a moment and in the end, we all perish. But to grow through adversity is to truly live.
On this crisp Thanksgiving Day, gratitude is on everyone’s lips. The love and light of my soul goes out to those in this hospital that are spending this holiday coping through traumatic injury, life-threatening illness and untold discomfort. My heart is overflowing for supportive friends in my community, and to my family who dropped everything to come spend Thanksgiving with me in this beautiful hospital. My gratitude for this dedicated hospital team and my doctor’s kindness, personal attention and commitment to excellence in his practice has inspired me in mine. This ordeal, like many others have been transformational — and for that, I give thanks.
Every day is an opportunity to wake up and be awesome. Some days are better than others, and it all shakes out in the end. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and dig a little deeper on your own behalf. Already, I can feel myself breathing a little more deeply and I know it’s going to be my best year ever.
— Evan Zislis is founder and principal consultant of www.MyIntentionalSolutions.com, delivering hands-on organizational solutions for households, businesses, nonprofits, students, and life transitions. For more information, call 366.2532 or email Evan@MyIntentionalSolutions.com.