A Prayer for my Brother
I'm writing this for you, my Brother. You have many faces: You're a charming young Korean-American from the Midwest, adulting in NY while learning life-lessons about sharing space with a girlfriend. You have a heart of gold, a sharp mind, and a smile that lights up the room. But also, you struggle with happiness. With finding your purpose. With being enough. You're a data scientist working for a legacy enterprise software company on the East Coast. You are a devoutly spiritual member of your faith, and practice incredible kindness and humility in the face of some remarkably challenging family dynamics. A father of four, you struggle with managing a work-life balance that makes sure everyone gets what they need from you, but also that there's some left over for you. You're a Hasidic Jew from Brooklyn living on the West Coast with your wife and young children. You're smart, handsome, and passionate about the things that matter most to you: your faith and your family. You're a survivor. You deal with ADhD. You're a crackling ball of creative potential, but ungrounded that energy shorts out your system. You are desperately trying to find your purpose, structure a reasonable plan, and execute with strength, consistency, and integrity. If you've ever seen my calendar, you know I could do this for pages and pages. An O4 in the Navy. A fire EMT outside Chicago. A young Indian guy getting his degree in Syracuse. A General Contractor in Florida. An entrepreneurial pizza guy in NJ. The CTO of a flourishing startup in Austin. So many guys I've worked with over the past (almost) decade, literally hundreds, each with a story. Each with a desire to be happy. Each wanting to live his best life. And each with his challenges. They come to coaching for help. Sure, we set goals. Sure, we do what we can to stay accountable. Yes, sometimes new skills are learned, and new firsts are achieved. But the real work happens at a deeper level. As I reiterate constantly, your religion doesn't matter here as much as your faith does. Because no matter how you get there, you always only learn the why of faith through practice. What do we practice? We practice stillness. Calmness. Love. Forgiveness. Acceptance. Humility. Grace. Peace. That doesn't mean we're especially good at it, only that we practice. We are all practicing; there are no masters here. There are no gurus. No priests. There's no doctrine. This isn't a cult. No evangelism here. Just Brotherly Love. And when I say stillness, I mean that we breathe. We ground ourselves. We center ourselves in power. And with a clear mind and an open heart, we allow ourselves to choose faith in goodness over fear of darkness. When negative thoughts trouble us, we train ourselves to think positively, and then not at all. To simply be present. To viscerally remember the connection that binds us all, and to allow ourselves to experience that oneness bravely. I say bravely because it's quite an unsettling feeling to relinquish control, abandon reactive behaviors, and absolutely trust-fall into a higher sense of being WHILE still managing affairs down here on planet Earth. That's what we mean by stillness. It's not so much that you're moving through life like a sloth doing Tai Chi, but rather that no matter what you're doing -- or where you're doing it (or how excitedly) -- in your heart you are at peace. Some people call this practice of inner stillness meditation. Others call it prayer. It's less important what we call it than it is that we practice it. So tonight I pray for you. I am still for you in my heart as I type this. I practice peace in your name, in the hope that you can do the same -- for first yourself, and then your Brother. Amen.