Sunday, February 8, 2009

It's all in our perspective

You are the only person on earth who can use your ability. Zig Ziglar
We are putting together a music video with clients at the shelter where I work. The video is going to be used to support the work we do -- and hopefully -- to inspire others to support us in the work we do.

Friday evening I met with a few of the musicians to discuss the process. How's it going? What's happening? What's going well? Not so well?

I had been told that there were some personality issues arising. The space they use to rehearse is on the administration floor, only accessible by card, and, as there are generally no staff on the floor in the evenings, one client needs to be in charge of the access card for the room where they are rehearsing, as well as a radio.

Sometimes, how come he gets to be the leader, thinking can interfere with change happening. Sometimes, being in the role of the leader can disrupt the status quo as the individual attempts to flex their wings without overshadowing someone else.

In a shelter, one of the common denominators is, low self-esteem. Some try to hide it behind bravado. Others behind an addiction or acting out. But it is always there. Why else, the mind asks, would I be in this predicament? I'm worthless.

As clients move from despair towards hope, their self-esteem moves with them. Working on facing the issues that brought them to this place is integral to getting to a new place to be.

During the meeting on Friday, one of the clients said, "Well I want to play with the group but I don't want my face in the video. "

"That's okay," I replied. "You won't need to have it there."

He kept going. "It's not that I'm not grateful to be here or for this place. It's just I don't want to be associated with being homeless. Someday I'll get out of here. Someday, I won't keep using and I'll be playing music professionally again. I don't want people to say, 'He's good. For a homeless guy.' I want my talent to stand on its own merit. I don't want people to know I was here."

Another client piped up. "I'm proud of myself for being here. I was homeless before I got here. Now I'm not. I want people to know that this place is about more than what they see on the street. I want them to know, real people are doing real things here. And, we're not all falling down drunk. I used to be. Now I'm not. I want people to see me in the video and to know I'm proud of who I am."

Each of us is the only person on earth who can us our ability. How we use it is also up to us. And, how we respond to people's responses to how we use our talents and abilities is also up to us.

It's all in our choices.

It's all in our perspective.

For one man, being homeless is filled with shame. For another, it is the road out.

The question is: Are you regretting your choices and holding yourself in the shame of what you've done. Or, are you letting go of shame and creating a pathway to making new and better choices on how to live your life for all you're worth?

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