A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most. As told by George Bernard Shaw
Yesterday, I drove a client to the hotel where Choices is being held this week. I had written Choices management last week to ask if they would be willing to have this man experience Choices. "Yes," she replied. "We will."
This is no small deal. Choices is not without costs. This man is not without 'issues', some of which need to be dealt with on a legal level.
It is the first time I approached Choices management with such a request. Needless to say, everyday I encounter individuals at the shelter where I work who I know would thrive/benefit from the Choices experience. They deserve the opportunity to discover their most amazing selves.
I have always held off asking. I believe one of the greatest challenges of working in an environment like I do is to NOT step in and try to fix someone else's life, to NOT step in and 'give' them the answers, present them with a way out when they are still diggin their way into where ever they're at.
It is vital to provide people a hand up. But first, they must get to that place where looking for help is integral to their journey towards wellness. As one of the students said in the self-esteem class I was teaching yesterday, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."
I don't have anyone else's answers.
As I drove Greg* to the hotel yesterday he asked me, "Why are you doing this for me? I don't get it. Nobody does anything for nothing."
"Because you asked for help," I told him. "You told me you are tired of feeling the way you do about yourself. You're tired of hating yourself. I don't know any better place than Choices to help you fall in love with who you are, all of you. I don't know any better place that will give you the tools to keep falling in love with yourself every day. That will keep you on the path you want to walk to be a man of integrity."
He was silent for a moment. I could feel him looking at me. Watching my face to see if I was serious. Was I for real.
"You know I could hate you for this?"
"Believe me, for the first couple of days, you probably will hate me. It's hard work Greg. You are going to dig down into yourself and expose your most vulnerable places. To get to where you want to be, you have to be willing to be vulnerable with yourself, to lovingly tell yourself the truth about yourself. To create a new path, you've got to be willing to look at your old path and say, I forgive myself."
He sighed. "I still don't get why you're doing this for me."
"What if focusing on 'the why' is just part of your habitual behaviour that lets you off the hook of feeling what you're feeling?"
"I hate feelings," he said. "They always make me cry."
"Then be prepared to feel your feelings for the next couple of days."
"Now I'm scared."
"It's okay. So am I. My fear is in my expectations of you and my ego's place that says, I want him to be a shining star. I want him to impress everyone so they'll be impressed by me. Truth is, the next few days will be what they will be. You will do what you will do. I need to let go of my expectations and trust in the process, trust in the miracles that I know happen at Choices every time."
"Miracles? They happen?"
"Yup. The Choices training room is the only place I've ever been where Love is tangible. You can feel it in the air. You can taste it. See it on every face. Miracles happen every day at Choices."
I got him to the hotel. He checked in. Had a couple of smokes and said, "Okay. I'm ready. Let's go do this."
I left him and talked to a girlfriend (wise and beautiful!) on the phone.
I told her of my fears. My worry. My anxiety. I am more nervous about having Greg in the training than I've ever been with having someone close to me go through. I know him less. I have less 'connection' with him, and yet, I am more scared.
"What's that about?" I asked her.
She laughed. Bold. Vibrant. "Let it go," she said. "It will be what it will be. Let it go and let it be."
Ego. That little tiny, minuscule quadrant of my brain that thinks it is all important. That everything that happens in the world is a reflection of its state of being.
I am not so powerful as to control the world. I am not so powerful that the world revolves around my ego.
I am powerful enough to be in control of me. To be one with my world -- regardless of my ego's pressing need to hold onto a fleeting sense of control. I am powerul enough to know, I am okay. Greg's journey is his journey. I do not control it. The outcome of his experience is not a reflection of where I'm at in mine. Of who I am on mine. It is his journey.
German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called 'Ego'."
Which one will I feed?
The dog of self-doubt, self-aggrandizement and worry. Or the dog of compassion. The dog who loves unconditionally without fear of judgement or rejection.
The choice is mine. To worry about how Greg is doing. What Greg is doing. To fall into the trap that says, 'I should have known better'. The trap that sets him up and me up for failure.
Or, To let go and let God. To trust in the process I know Choices to be. To trust the people I know are in that room making it possible for miracles to appear in everyone's lives by the simple fact that they are standing there, arms and minds and hearts wide open in love.
The choice is mine.
I choose to trust. I choose to walk my path filled with the wonder and joy of my experience and knowing. I am doing my best. I trust others to be responsible for their best.
The question is: Are you willing to trust others to be responsible for doing their best? Are you willing to let go of your expectations to give others room to meet their own expectations?
I am off to Toronto today to take a course -- The Passion Test Facilitator Training. I will have my laptop -- but may not have the opportunity to write here.
If not -- I'll be back online Tuesday, February 17. Have a wonderful Valentine's. May love resonate in every fibre of your being, setting you free to be your most magnificent self.