Have you ever gotten somewhere in life without any recollection of how you landed there? Like you were kidnapped, taken to a secret location with a cloth bag over your head (I want everyone alive and breathing in this made up scenario), and at some point the bag gets pulled off and voila, there you are! But where are you? And how did you end up there?

Recently, I had just this experience on multiple levels, like riding the escalators at Macy’s Herald Square, it was dizzying. My work life was crazy packed, I fell in love, had kidney stones over the course of too many months, and a very tough family situation that at its core went all the way back to early childhood. But who’s counting? And I certainly didn’t plan any of this.

I would so love to think I’ve got some level of control over my life, but then this what feels like a ‘kidnapping’ scenario occurs, and while it’s not the same trauma as actually being kidnapped, I still end up reeling and in need of a substantial recovery period. Gatorade is not enough, though very tasty when you’re parched. And when you don’t have the energy for a glass of wine or a margarita, you know you’re in serious trouble. But I digress.

Navigating this thing called life can be wonderful and tricky all at the same time. Falling deeply in love with a person I only ever dreamed of feels like winning the lottery. And while I’ve never won the lottery up to this point in my life, it could happen, so I’m staying open to the possibility, and if I ever do win, I suspect it will feel like this.

So at the same time love was blossoming, my kidneys were releasing these charming little stones.  As you may or may not know, kidney stones are hell. Our urinary track is brilliantly designed to carry liquid waste out of the body. It’s a very efficient system. That said, however, it is not made to transport tiny, sand like stones, as they have a tendency to scratch the interior paint job with a resulting pain that is something you never, ever want to experience in your life. A trip to Hawaii, yes. Kidney stones, no. Freshly made pasta in Italy, yes. Kidney stones, no. You get the picture. Absolutely awful, and truth be told, so like life sometimes.

As all of these experiences were happening at the same time, I could barely keep my head above the proverbial waters, hence the kidnapping metaphor. I basically woke up one day, looked in the mirror, and screamed. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a scream, but I almost fainted. I looked like hell.

You could say my ego woke me up, and I had to take stock of every area of my life in an effort to assess the situation – the gains and the losses, as well as the dark circles under my eyes and the pale grey skin tone – so I could begin to clarify how I would take better care of myself and create a recovery plan.

No amount of retinol could fix this mess. Topical applications would not work, I had to go deep.

One thing I know about recovery, it requires our energy and attention, as well as outside help. The kidney stones were like a CEO or Mob Boss depending on the day. They meant business, and like most of life, they demanded my full presence in the moment.

So there I was attending to my recovery – my physical body, my mental and emotional selves, and I needed help. Several doctors for the kidney stones, and one great Reiki healer. A spiritually minded psychotherapist, nutritional supplements from my integrative physician, and making some changes in my tendency to overwork myself brought fully into view thanks to new love, which is, by the way, a lot more fun than work. All of these areas required my care and attention.

Life is funny, beautiful, and also tragic and painful at times. It’s a mixed bag, and sometimes the bag ends up over your head. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, we always come out the other side breathing, well maybe wheezing, but we’re alive.

We might get bruised a bit, but in the process we learn to love ourselves a bit more, and hopefully acknowledge ourselves for our perseverance, creativity, and downright courage and strength of heart to walk through the fire of it all.

Life isn’t inherently easy, but the journey sure is colorful. @barryaldenclark (Click to Tweet!)

Please make sure to take some photos along the way, laugh as much as you can, love with all your heart, and keep moving. And remember to recharge the proverbial battery (yourself), rotate the tires when needed, and retinol. Please don’t forget the retinol.

Barry Alden Clark has coached thousands of individuals in connecting more deeply with their hearts, their life purpose, and helped create a pathway for these folks to move forward in a direction more aligned with who they truly are. He & his creative partner Eliza Swords are currently delivering uplifting content on social media every Wednesday via “Best Day Ever with Barry and Eliza”, a Facebook and You-Tube phenomenon reaching thousands of people around the world. They are also inspiring love and joy through creating heartfelt and entertaining content via their production company Pure Honey Ink. Currently they have projects in development for social media, film, television and publishing. You can reach Barry at www.barryaldenclark.com.

Image courtesy of JD Chow.