If you are anything like me, you have heard of good books to read, movies to watch, events to attend and the like, but don’t get to all of them.
I’ll never forget reading an excellent book that I had found on my own, only to discover that someone close to me had recommended it to me years ago! (Actually, this has happened twice.)
Several people have recommended that I attend a weekend personal growth course, and I thought that there wouldn’t be much new to it given my educational background. But I finally took the course.
Yes, much of it I already knew. But knowing is one thing; doing what I know is sometimes quite another! What I was not prepared for was how much energy I’ve had since the course. Why? Not because of what I learned, per se, but because I was better able to focus my energies by dropping some of the things that get in my way of moving forward.
Another quality of the course was that we got to know each other and formed a sense of community. This is not easy to do in our individualistic western culture. Too often we put masks on, hiding out of fear that someone might “hurt” us in some manner. I find this fear in equal amounts just about everywhere – including community groups, churches, institutions and families.
I believe this stems from a commonly held, false belief that others have power over us; meaning that others control how we think and feel.
By thinking that someone’s words or actions will somehow make my life turn for the worse, it is only natural to feel fearful. As I listen to people talk, I hear clues of this false belief. “He hurt my feelings”, “She pissed me off”, “My kids are driving me nuts!” are some of the more frequent examples of this disempowering way of thinking. Too often we withdraw or else try to control others –directly and indirectly.
When I (again) more fully take responsibility for myself, my energy is not so wrapped up in these manoeuverings, and then that energy can be used to propel myself forward. My relationships become so much more meaningful and deep, and my life becomes much better.
Recently I was stewing about a brother-in-law who seemed aloof around me. Upon reflection, I realized that the attitude I thought he had toward me was actually my own toward him! Once I realized this, I was able to communicate with him in a much more positive manner, and the result was nothing less than spectacular! He was so warm and present with me. I was blown away.
While I am very grateful for the weekend course reminding me again, I know that others also give me what I need in order to become a more excellent (not perfect) human being.
May you similarly be blown away. Soon.
Ian Gartshore is a human-being-in-the-making.