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Joy today: Wrangling an ethical dilemma

I’m navigating my way through a tricky ethical dilemma, one of the toughest I’ve ever had to wrestle. And I’m realizing that getting through it is a bit like managing through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Because when you’re disappointed, when something and someone turns out to be different than you imagined them to be, you do experience a kind of death, a death of your own point-of-view. To get to a healthy mind shift, you grieve. I’m sharing where I am with my dilemma after some good conversations yesterday with people I trust, and whom I’m lucky and grateful to have in my life because I hope sharing my story will help you, too.

Honestly, when I was first faced with this situation, I was flat-out confused. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what the hell was going on. It all seemed so mind-boggling that I was sure I was misunderstanding something. What I was seeing, hearing, and experiencing couldn’t possibly be happening. Surely, perceptive, planning expert me would have seen this coming. (Turns out, no I didn’t see it coming AT ALL.)

This is a tough one for me because I can be very quick to anger (I’m Sicilian so the boiling of blood comes rather easily to me), and I also have a very difficult time expressing anger because I feel a tremendous amount of guilt when I do. Meg Ryan’s character in You’ve Got Mail makes me feel seen! But once I realized that I couldn’t deny the situation I’m in, ooof, the anger came pouring out of my mind (though thankfully not out of my mouth!) And of course anger is always laced with fear, disappointment, and embarrassment. How could I have gotten myself into this situation AGAIN? I have read this book before, and I know how it ends, and I vowed the last time I read this book that I wouldn’t get myself in a situation like this again. I would do everything I could to avoid it. I would ask the right questions. Do my research. Listen to my gut. And despite all my best efforts, here I am, again, with my grief, and really pissed about it. 

This is where I am right now at this moment. What can I live with? It’s not really as bad as I thought it was, right? I can do this and still sleep with a clear conscience at night while maintaining my integrity and authenticity. Shoot, maybe not. Hmmm. How can I forgive myself and others? Oh god, you know what? I’m the problem! And on and on it goes… These are my scrambled thoughts right now, morning, noon, and night.

Here’s all I really know—the depression stage is on the way. I don’t know when it will arrive, but I can see it there, off in the distance, fuzzy now, and becoming clearer every minute. I can also feel it slowing advancing, kind of like you feel a headache coming on but it’s not quite in full effect yet. Oddly, depression is an old friend I know well. Luckily, I have other great friends whose very presence in my life pulls me out of my funk, and my writing always helps. Always. Once I can write something down, I know how to manage it. I literally exercise it out of me through my words on screen / paper.

And here’s something else I know—as a writer, this is all material. I talk about the hero’s journey a lot with my friends, teachers, and mentors, John Bucher, Brian McCormack, and Ed Freeman. There is no such thing as an easy road for the person who always wants to be their best self and live a well-examined life. Transformation is difficult and painful. And if we keep at it, bit by bit, we do get better. We get stronger. We grow more compassion and hope. We become kinder, more curious, and ultimately, lighter. And that helps us to fly high above the obstacles and on to the next adventure. I know this to be true because I’ve been here before. That is the great promise of the hero’s journeys—they lead us to higher ground, to our truest selves.

Thanks for listening.

About Christa Avampato

The short of it: Writer. Health, education, and art advocate. Theater and film producer. Visual artist. Product geek. Proud alumnae of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (MBA). Inspired by ancient wisdom & modern tech. Proliferator of goodness. Opener of doors. Friend to animals. Fan of creative work in all its wondrous forms. I use my business skills to create passion projects that build a better world. I’ve been called the happiest New Yorker, and I try hard to live up to that title every day. The long of it: My career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, entertainment, technology, and financial services. I’ve been a product developer and product manager, theater manager, strategic consultant, marketer, voice over artist, , teacher, and fundraiser. I use my business and storytelling to support and sustain passion projects that build a better world. In every experience, I’ve used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, programs, and events. While building a business career, I also built a strong portfolio as a journalist, novelist, freelance writer, interviewer, presenter, and public speaker. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post,,, Royal Media Partners publications, and The Motley Fool on a wide range of topics including business, technology, science, health, education, culture, and lifestyle. I have also been an invited speaker at SXSW, Teach for America, Avon headquarters, Games for Change, NYU, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The first book in my young adult book series, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was acquired by a publisher and launched in November 2017. I’m currently working on the second book in the series. A recovering multi-tasker, I’m equally at home in front of my Mac, on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I also cut up small bits of paper and put them back together as a collage artist. My company: I’m bringing together all of my business and creative career paths as the Founder of Double or Nothing Media: • I craft products, programs, and projects that make a difference; • I build the business plans that make what I craft financially sustainable; • I tell the stories that matter about the people, places, and products that inspire me. Follow my adventures on Twitter at and Instagram at


2 thoughts on “Joy today: Wrangling an ethical dilemma

  1. Stay strong, Christa. Here for you.


    Posted by Karen Castellon | June 26, 2019, 1:16 am

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