From Pain to Passion
Oh, the Joy of Childhood
I started out my life on this planet in much the same way that most humans do. I went through a physical birthing process that brought me from “somewhere out there” into a solid and physical existence among people who were designated as my family and friends.
For me, the world initially seemed a very wondrous place. Like most young children, I was full of innocence, curiosity and adventure, and everything seemed like it was designed specifically to bring me joy, excitement and laughter. The world was, in a very real sense, my playground.
I remember the wonder of watching a butterfly flitting around from flower to flower, and marveling at its beauty.
I remember being naked and running around my back yard trying to catch robins—and hearing my mother and her friends laughing gleefully at my perpetually unsuccessful pursuit.
I remember having my breath taken away by the feeling of cold water as I ran through the lawn sprinkler.
I remember the loving warmth of my mother’s arms when she cuddled me and soothed me as I struggled with the unpleasant itchiness of childhood measles.
8 Words that Changed Everything
But the wonder and magic of life all changed when I got to the ripe old age of 3 years! My mother said 8 words to me that flipped everything upside down.
I had been doing something that Mom found irritating for some reason—something typically curious and adventurous for a 3-year-old—and she wanted me to stop. Of course, by this age, I was already exhibiting some of my characteristic rebelliousness and independence, and this only added to her consternation. I don’t remember the details, but I do remember that my mom had me standing on top of the changing table, and she was admonishing me with her typical mother statements.
“Be a good boy.”
“Do what you are told.”
“I’m your mother, you are supposed to listen to me.”
All of which, of course, I had been totally ignoring!
But then, as I was standing there on the table, with her hands firmly holding my arms, she looked me right in the eye and said 8 simple and relatively innocuous words that knocked me for a loop.
Now, I want to be clear that my mother was not yelling at me or abusing me in any way, but she was frustrated with my behavior and, being the kind of person who liked to have control, she was doing her best to get me to behave according to her desires. Not only that, but the words she said were delivered without any malice at all, although she clearly believed them and she wanted me to know that.
“I know you better than you know yourself,” she said.
The sentence bounced around in my little head for a while before it finally landed.
Now, I don’t really remember exactly how I reacted to it, but in my adult mind of today, I imagine my thinking process followed this line of logic:
“Well, you are my mother, that’s true. And you certainly know me better than anyone else does, that’s also true. And you tell me that you love me, and you seem to know all my needs and make sure they are taken care of. So, I guess it must be true: you know me better than I know myself.”
Effectively, I accepted what my mother said as absolute truth—as if it had come from the mouth of God. I mean I was only three, and I had no real sense of who I was anyway, so it was easy for me to accept the “truth” of what she was telling me.
A New Belief System
The moment I accepted that my mother knew me better than I knew myself, it wasn’t much of a leap for me to draw some other conclusions:
“If Mommy knows me better than I know myself, then Daddy knows me better than I know myself, too. And that means Gramma and Grampa know me better than I know myself as well. And my teachers know me better than I know myself, and the minister knows me better than I know myself, and…”
In pretty short order, I had come to believe that EVERYBODY knew me better than I knew myself! Whatever autonomous sense I had ever had of myself quickly disappeared, and I was soon being defined by how others experienced me.
A side-effect of this unconscious way of thinking was that I concluded that if everyone else knew me better than I knew myself, then I simply had to defer to them to figure out what I wanted and needed. Effectively, I ended up denouncing my own sovereignty and relying on others for almost everything.
But I wasn’t blind!
While I was busying relying on others, I also observed those same people making decisions for themselves. So, gradually—over a time-span of more than 40 years—I grew more and more resentful and angry. Everyone else knew what they wanted and needed, and they were able to choose what mattered to them, but I had to look to others for my answers! It just wasn’t fair!
Eventually, my growing resentment and anger began leaking out. It started hurting other people. At first, I didn’t really see the pain I was causing others, but in time, I finally woke up to that realization, and when I did, I had no clue how to stop feeling the way I was feeling. I had long forgotten the message I had received from my mother, so I had no idea as an adult what had triggered this chain of events. But I now knew that I was a very angry person with no clue how to reverse or fix the problem. Out of a sense of desperation, I decided that my only option was…to escape!
I announced to my wife that I wanted a divorce, found a job in Silicon Valley, packed up all my stuff, and left my family.
Even Deeper Pain
If I really thought that extreme solution would ease my pain, I soon found out how wrong I was!
Shortly after I arrived in Northern California, I felt so much guilt and shame about my decision to leave that I began entertaining thoughts of suicide. The only thing that kept me from following through on those morbid thoughts was an even worse possibility: that I might never see my kids again. The thought of leaving them in that way mortified me, so I knew I had to pull myself out of my pit of despair somehow. Of course, I had no real idea how to do that, but the intention behind that knowing was enough to set me on a powerful path to awakening.
Soon enough, I began meeting people and having serendipitous experiences that led me to find the healing I was looking for. Step by step, I encountered circumstances and situations that helped me to see the world of my creation more clearly. And as I gained more clarity, I also sought out modalities that would help me to release all my inner anger and guilt and shame. The more of this work I did, the more I reconnected to my own true essence, and the more I was able to begin reclaiming my own sovereignty so that I could stand in my own power.
I could tell you a lot more about this part of my journey, but I’ll just summarize by saying that, after several years of serious personal growth work, I came to discover the truth of the message that I’ve learned I’m here to deliver to the world…
The Meaning of My Journey
One of the true gifts of hindsight is that I can see now that the whole reason I went through that slow and agonizing 40-year process of self-disownment—and growing resentment and anger—was so that I could see just how important it is for me to know who I really am. For when I know who I really am, then I quickly connect to my purpose for being here, and I can stand in the fullness of my own ability to know, experience, and express what I want and need, with no apology to anyone.
As a result of deep and ongoing introspection over the last 20-plus years, I have come to understand myself in a way that I condense into a powerful affirmation:
I unconditionally believe this statement is true for YOU as well, although you may not always remember it. But whether you remember this or not, I invite you to embrace the affirmation for yourself. Perhaps use it as a mantra for deepening your own awareness of who you really are.
Passion and Purpose
Over the years, I have learned a great many things about personal growth and conscious self-creation, and I am committed to sharing all of them. One big lesson I’ve learned as a result of my amazing journey is that my beliefs have a huge amount of power, and if I’m not careful, they can hold me back from knowing and experiencing who I really am. I’ve also learned that I don’t want the world to be a mess because of the way I show up, I don’t want to damage people around me, I don’t want to create pain and suffering because of what I believe. What I do want is to create unconditional love in the world, and I know it’s there, it’s within me. In fact, my personal mission these days is:
So my passion now is to help people—people like you—to stay connected to the truth of who they are. Not who they think they are, but who they really are.
I believe that the world would be an infinitely more harmonious place if everyone could come to this realization. But at least YOU are moving in that direction—I know, because you are reading this article—and by knowing, experiencing and expressing the truth of who YOU are, you contribute to that harmonious world…
Thank you for being YOU!
Your Pain, Your Passion
What pain have you suffered in your life? Have you dealt with it? Completely?
Regardless of how much work you have done on your personal pain, one thing is sure: you have undoubtedly learned something from it. Something about yourself; something about life. And what you have learned is something that could have immense benefit for other people, so I truly hope you are willing and able to share it.
Remember, no-one anywhere has the same experiences you do, nor do they have the same perspectives as you. But there could very well be people out there who need to know about your experience in order to be able to deal more effectively with their own. So let your pain lead to your passion! Find a way to share with others what you have learned from your experience. And enjoy the satisfaction you get from knowing that you are helping the world to be a better place.
Thank you for being YOU!