Having grown up with a psychologically-abusive father (and, as George Carlin once said, “ALL of the world’s problems are the result of the things that fathers do to their sons”) I grew up profoundly troubled, riddled with anxiety and deep feelings of inferiority. I spent a large part of my life struggling to overcome these problems. I felt that, as a lowly and pathetic schlub, I should aspire to somehow make myself awesome. But how to go about doing that? How does one make oneself awesome? This conundrum occupied me for quite a few years.

I’m 60 years old now, and over the years my psyche has undergone a slow but definite shift in a different direction. The most important thing I’ve learned from all the crap I’ve been through is that there is no lowly-vs.-lofty dichotomy in reality. Everything in one’s life is actually very ordinary. When people treat you badly that is ordinary. When you suffer that is ordinary. When you fail that is ordinary. If you win the lottery and become wealthy overnight that is ordinary. If you meet the great love of your life and she opens up great opportunities for joy in your life that is ordinary. All that we have is just the ordinary, messy stuff of our own experience, but it is the real substance of life, the fundamental ground.