STORY OF THE BOOK
As I looked into her eyes, peering through to her soul, I saw a reflection of me as part of her, her as part of me and us as part of all that is, ever was and ever will be. Her face now 10 years younger in appearance, her smile radiant and bold, she barely resembled the friend who walked into my home for a personal retreat from life just 24 hours before. It was in that moment I realized how much I had missed doing transformational work as a personal coach.
My friend suggested that I should open a place where people could come for an individual coaching retreat with me and experience the things she had. We spoke about how cool it would be to have a location where individuals in despair could retreat from the world for a weekend, receiving guidance on their life journey and personal path of enlightenment.
At one point, she suggested a book. I told her I had tried to write books in the past, but it never worked out. I explained that each time I tried to write down the concepts, the resulting content was very brief. In fact, I told her that if I wrote a book, it would probably only be about 25 pages long and contain essentially the same principles as 90 percent of the self-development and spiritual books on the market—an idea that seemed absurd to me. She disagreed and encouraged me to do it right away.
After she left, I found my mind filled with thoughts of a center—preferably a houseboat. It was a lifelong dream of mine to live on a large houseboat where I could have people over to do retreats and transformational work. Then I thought more about a book. The next morning, I found myself putting down some of the very concepts that I convey in coaching sessions. I was amazed at how perfect it felt to write with no expectations of producing a lengthy book—just a few simple notes to convey some concepts I use when doing transformational work.
Shortly after I finished that day, I went to pick up my teenage son. We got home and I walked into the room where my office manager was working. While I was talking to her, I had an incredibly intense pain slowly move into my chest. I staggered to my chair and sat down. As a result of serious injuries incurred when I was much younger, pain is not new for me or the people around me. She thought it was my back, as usual, until I explained I thought I could be having a heart attack. The problem is that because of some of the injuries, I have no way to know for sure.
I had plans that day and didn’t want to go to the doctor. The second wave was even more intense, but then subsided quickly. Only a week before, I had become a grandfather for the first time, and my first thought was of my grandson. My second thought was of my children, especially the one still living at home with me who was witnessing this event. Suddenly, I was fine. However, the scare really lingered in my mind. After that event and for the rest of the day I thought of nothing but transformational work and how much I could contribute on the subject. I thought about what I would like to convey and how important it is to me to empower others toward personal transformation.
That evening I went to bed and had a very difficult night. I kept waking up to dreams that dealt with me leaving this world—flashes of the things I have accomplished and various completion work (Processes and workshops which I had done to resolve issues and unfinished events in my life) with the ones I love. I felt like I was tying up loose ends before I left this world. What a shock! I had not anticipated this would occur. When I got up, all I could think about was writing this little book.
I have faced death many times in my life and it never bothered me before. I concluded what bothered me wasn’t the prospect of death, but the prospect of life and the passion that was reignited in me by working with my friend that weekend. She had awakened a passion within me to accomplish this book, and I didn’t want to leave here without writing it. The realization that time could end at any moment for me inspired me to make it a priority. I viewed this as my personal awakening to a new chapter in life . . . each of us has many awakenings along the path of life, and this was one of mine.
I was simply not ready to die and I wanted to share what I had to offer. The chapters you will read are my adventure into new areas of growth and awakenings along my journey.
Enjoy the ride.
chapter 1 THE AWAKENING
Awakening is the process of becoming aware—aware of who and what we are, and aware of what is truly taking place around us. The process of awakening reveals hidden motivations, new possibilities, inherent strengths, and our ability to choose in life. Unfortunately, most of us operate in a state of somnambulism—a fog of detachment—living our lives out of habit and missing out on much of what life has to offer.
For the most part, we simply follow our routines—living “asleep at the wheel” and therefore repeatedly struggling with the same core issues. These core issues crop up in our lives again and again through people, situations and conditions—perhaps in different ways, but always with the same underlying lessons waiting to be addressed. We continue to run into the same walls—exhausting ourselves and causing tremendous stress on a daily basis. Most people carry around years of struggle and strife from attempting to merely cope with their lives, feeling that their burdens are becoming too much to bear.
With this in mind, where does the idea of conscious choice come in? Perhaps a better question to ask ourselves should be, “What keeps us from experiencing freedom, peace and growth?”
Fortunately, we don’t need to look very far. What stands in our way is simply our own resistance to the change that life offers us each day—our conscious and unconscious efforts to protect the Ego. Our pain is in direct proportion to our resistance to change. As the well-known spiritual writer Emmet Fox stated in Around the Year with Emmet Fox, “Change is the law of growth, growth is the law of life. That which does not grow withers away and dies.” Unfortunately, many people are just “withering away and dying,” an unnatural state that causes great pain and puts incredible demand on human beings from a physical, mental and emotional standpoint. The eventual result is emotional collapse, a humbling of the ego in order to let the light of day shine in. It can be said that it’s essential to die an internal death in order to be reborn into a new, awakened life.
What is it we’re resisting? We resist dealing with the unknown.
As human beings, we’re creatures of habit, and as creatures of habit, our survival mechanism tells us that change is bad; it is unknown. When faced with a point of crisis that demands change, the ego comes in and takes over. The ego does NOT like change because accepting change means that the current ideas of the ego must die and be replaced.
Resistance is the way of the ego, which uses the fight-or-flight system of survival to validate its campaign to prevent change, using linguistic fear as its weapon against the host. Linguistic fears arise from the language in our minds; they are imagined or ungrounded fears born of insecurities and conversations in our head. In many cases, we connect current conditions or conversations (internal or external dialogues) to past experiences, creating a distorted, fear-based story. The distortion of that story is usually derived from extreme circumstances, and has the potential for great destruction.
If we look more closely, the unknown is actually a state of grace that produces the mindset of humility, or “no-mind.” You’re in constant flux and continually moving into unknown territory without all the answers, which has an uncanny side effect of adjusting your perspective. This highly desirable state is actually a springboard for great things to occur, notably an experience of awakening.
An awakening reflects a shift in consciousness; it creates a new presence and awareness in the current moment, empowering you to accept greater conscious choice in any or all areas of life. Awakening can happen in a flash or in can take years. It can occur in one area of your life at a time or shift your entire consciousness across all domains.
A useful example of this might be the cruise ship known as the World Residence. People who live on the World go to sleep in one country and wake up in an entirely different one the next day. Certain aspects of life have not changed, but others are altered dramatically. Residents still live on the ship, so their home has remained a constant, but the landscape and foods waiting to be experienced will be those of the destination country. If they venture off of the vessel, the culture they encounter will be completely altered from the day before. An awakening’s effect on consciousness is much the same. You are still the same person physically, but everything around you takes on a different appearance.
Once an individual experiences an awakening, a complete rearrangement in perception occurs, bringing forth a heightened awareness in the domains that have been shifted. A person who was steeped in problems, drudgery or negative behavior one minute discovers that all of their difficulties have begun to resolve to their greatest good the next—life begins to flow. From the depths of obscurity and confusion, a world of new possibilities emerges.
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