Searching For The Sweet Spot

I believe there’s a sweet spot in life. It’s that space in which everything just feels balanced.

There’s not too much work or too little play, the calendar is just full enough, your friends and family are who you need them to be and you are who they need you to be. Your job is good. You marriage is solid. Your kids are progressing on the track to adulthood. Your health is fine and you’re not concerned about your weight. You know what you believe and know what you don’t.

Things are just … good.

This doesn’t mean your life is devoid of problems and hassles. Far from it. The traffic is still traffic and the barista is still slow and snippy and the coffee really is not that great and really is overpriced. The furnace breaks and the check-engine light comes on. Your co-worker thinks she knows your job better than you think she knows hers. You read the news and see a child is murdered, a car plows through a Christmas parade. Your dad dies.

All of that serves as a gentle reminder that the world is still turning and this place is still pretty fucked up, but then you see it — the words “this place” — and you know what’s providing you the balance you feel, that you yourself have a “this place.” You fit somewhere. You are a cog in the machine of life that wouldn’t turn as well if you weren’t in it.

That? That’s the sweet spot.

I look around me and see people who are in their sweet spot — and let’s be clear, it is their sweet spot. Billions and billions of dollars are spent every year to have marketing guys like me try to steer you to another person’s sweet spot. We don’t do it to be evil or manipulative — most of us, anyway. But your sweet spot needs to be crafted carefully by you, not me.

I think we’ve all spent time in our sweet spot and that no one spends every day in their sweet spot. That’s probably a good thing.

I don’t know what my sweet spot is. Not today. Not anymore.

I used to know what my sweet spot was. All around me were anchor points that kept me close enough to it to pull my way back into it. A successful career. A family life that made sense. The Christian church.

One by one, those anchor points evaporated. My career that was once so promising was derailed by the implosion of my industry (thanks for the memories, newspapers). With enough time and distance from my youth, I slowly started to see my wider family life didn’t make much sense at all and wasn’t how I wanted my own closer family life to be. Beliefs I once felt were unshakable were rocked by a personal awakening, a combination of in-depth study and soul-deep realization that what I had through was true and truth for more than two decades … wasn’t right.

Without those (and other) anchor points, I’ve drifted so far out of sight from my sweet spot that, on some days, I could officially be declared “lost at sea.”

The thing about the sweet spot is that it doesn’t stay the same. It can, often does and probably should move about as you mature and grow and experience more things and come into contact with people with different world views.

My search for a new sweet spot hasn’t been pretty. Far, far, far from it. My personal pendulum has swung wildly from one extreme to another and, after more than half a decade, is only now beginning to slow down, to travel a narrower arc from this point to that one. As with all things, the sweetest part of the sweet spots isn’t near the poles.

During this search, I’ve learned about this thing called an empath and seen exactly how much my life has been shaped by the fact that I am one — like, really, really really one. Yet the empath community is not one in which I feel entirely comfortable and isn’t really my sweet spot either.

I’m all for woo-woo, but I don’t necessarily see anything in the fact that I awoke in the night at 1:11 or 4:44, and I’m not sure crystals do much of anything for me or that all things have such deep meaning. Some shit is just that — shit. In the wise, wise words of noted philosopher John Bender, screws fall out all the time. The world’s an imperfect place.

But just as I don’t think all woo-woo stuff is a thing, I don’t believe none of it matters. Some of it truly does. I’ve experienced it for myself.

Our culture doesn’t value the woo-woo. We’re taught very early on that there are five senses, no more. Those of us who from a young age experience things that can’t be attributed to the Big Five learn to stuff that shit down and keep it secret for fear of being labeled as a freak and an outsider. The nasty side effect of that is one of two things: Either we continue to experience woo-woo stuff and feel more and more fringe ourselves or we clamp the lid down so tightly that the ability to do what we do atrophies until it fails to function. Both are a shame.

I humbly assert I know nothing factual when it comes to matters of science and spirituality. I have beliefs in certain truths, but there is a big difference between truth and fact. Truths have a way of changing over time. Truths are not facts.

Yet sweet spots are created from truths. What you hold true and having those truths in sufficient amounts and the correct proportion are what craft your sweet spot. What I’m saying for me is that I don’t know shit, so how can I possible know where my sweet spot is?

And so I often feel tossed by the waves and blown this way and that by whichever direction the prevailing winds are travelling. I find myself rock-solid on the path to self-acceptance and contentment in one moment and then careening out to sea in the midst of despair the next.

That is tiring. And, not surprisingly, I am tired.

The most difficult thing to know is that what I feel is the closest thing to my sweet spot for me right now is wholly incompatible with the world around me.

My sweet spot has elements where it’s OK to be a sensitive soul and where people consider their words carefully before uttering them because words have the power to knock a person off course and chip away at their foundation.

My sweet spot involves human beings treating each other kindly and considering the other person’s perspective before they dig into their own position so deeply that they are blindly entrenched and empathy is at the bottom of the list of what matters.

My sweet spot involves honest and humble apologies for actions that hurt others, even if those actions were taken with good intentions.

My sweet spot involves sincerity and love and kindness and, above all, the practiced ability to put on another’s shoes to walk a mile or two.

A lot of people will espouse a sweet spot similar to mine. In my experience, I’ve found few who live it anywhere close to regularly. People’s worlds tend to be governed about what feels right for them today without much time to reflect on how their actions or lack of actions are hurting those they profess to care about.

And so what if the problem isn’t that I don’t know where my sweet spot is but rather that I know where my sweet spot is and it doesn’t fit into the way the world runs? What’s the future look like for me then?

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