I owe the Mercer Hotel $70,000.
I was separated, depressed, afraid to leave my room so I always ordered room service. I stayed six months.
It was a long time ago. But maybe that doesn’t forgive things. Will this be an evil spell I cast on myself?
When you’re depressed its hard to dig your way out of the insanity. Staying in that room for days or weeks at a time was part of my insanity.
During that time, the money ran out of that account and the card used to pay for the room (upon checkout!) was cancelled.
One day I got up and left the room. I left behind two garbage bags filled with clothes. I walked back to my home. My wife at the time and I had another baby. Who I love very much.
A few months after that, the Mercer called me and said I owed them money. I said I would be happy to pay. “Send me an itemized bill.” I never heard from them again.
This morning I ate there. Eggs, coffee. $15 plus tip. Ok. Expensive. But I paid.
Every day we walk on a path. We have to see clearly in front of us. And we have to see clearly behind us.
You never know when you have to back up and take a new route.
So we have to keep the path clean. Bring a broom. Bring a machete to clear out the brush in front. Stay refreshed for the strength you need.
We may get tired, and have to wait while a storm passes. You can’t fight the storm. You can’t run faster than it. It will beat you and kill you.
You have to give yourself permission for chaos if you fall off the path. But when the storm is there you can only do one thing.
One time I worked a job I hated and walked home to a girlfriend I lived with but was unhappy with.
My only solution was to find a job in a new town. But I was afraid nobody would like me.
I was afraid I would miss my friends. I was afraid my routine would get upset.
I knew my path would change. I was at a fork in the road.
Hmmm, which direction can I throw my heart into. It was too unclear, either direction.
My boss would yell at me during the day. My girlfriend would yell at me at night. I was writing novels but couldn’t get any published.
I knew I was at a fork but I didn’t know which way to go. That’s ok. It’s ok to not know sometimes. The key is know when to wait.
So I waited.
People ask, “What would do if you could start all over again?”
Answer: nothing different.
Without waiting, I would never have learned the techniques to determine which way my heart was pointing.
You can’t wait forever but while you are, you can learn to listen to your heart.
Without being patient in a storm, I would never learn how to protect myself and I would never learn to recognize the signs of new storms approaching or leaving.
Without keeping the path clean every step of the way, I would never have learned that the only way to truly do that is to every day focus on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual (gratitude) health.
Those things are all one thing.
If you don’t have good friends, you can’t come up with good ideas. Good ideas make your brain into magic. Then you can be grateful. Then you can be healthy. And vice versa.
The path goes forwards and backwards. You never know each day which direction you need to take that day.
Two years later, I got an amazing job and I moved and my life changed forever.
One time I made a mistake. A girl I was dating got pregnant. I wanted her to have the baby. She didn’t.
So decisions were made. Okay.
That was a potential baby that had his or her own path.
That was a storm I didn’t see coming. Do I regret it? I don’t know. How can we make decisions in such a complicated world? A world built through millions of generations of evolution.
We are only a pitstop on evolution. Evolution doesn’t care.
Some things survive to the next generation. Some don’t.
It’s not babies that die. It’s decisions that grew in a poor harvest. The harvest and all the paths through it, depend on whether I keep them clean.
It’s not about a baby. Or about a future that never happened. Or a bill that never got paid. Or a storm that needs to pass or else all is lost.
It’s about me, today, doing everything I can to best serve this moment so I can be better the next moment.
And Mercer Hotel, I will still pay if you send me that itemized bill.