Okay folks, this one is pretty huge… The story below illustrates a MAJOR difference in how people live their lives. You can focus more on the inner, or you can focus more on the outer (read Inner vs. Outer). And when you focus more on the inner, you still do the outer stuff just fine. In fact, you usually do it better, smoother, and faster. You just do your inner work first and then you do the outer work. And I’m pretty sure that when we die, we see crystal clear that the inner work is more important. The saying “You can’t take it with you when you go” comes to mind. And if you’re totally confused, just keep reading.
This is part 2 about a client’s growth since he was living in NYC when the World Trade Center towers cane down on September 11, 2001. Part 1, which you really don’t have to read to understand the rest of this, is pretty much about how he processed the trauma, since he was working just a block or two away from ground zero when it happened. Then I had asked how much he had grown in the twelve years since. He responded that he was a totally different person. He used to be a huge party guy, drinking and doing drugs and just trying to cram as much craziness into his life as possible. And he was very good at that, saying that he really can’t believe he’s still alive. And the change? Now he wants inner peace. Nice. But it gets nicer…
After this, we moved on from talking about 9/11 completely and got current with his life. He told me an unrelated story from a week or two prior involving an ugly incident with a co-worker and how he handled it. I didn’t realize until later in the day, long after our session, how much he has grown just in the past year or less – forget since 9/11! So my original question was answered even better. This hit me just as I was leaving for the day, and I actually felt kind of floored and even emotional about this work and just how transformational it can be. I can get lost in trenches just like everybody else, not always seeing the big picture. And the big picture is that lives are permanently changing for the better, mine included. Yes!
So my client had said something mean to a co-worker in the heat of the moment. They have a very intense, stressful job, and she was not listening to him or their boss as they tried to explain something to her. He said something to her that is not characteristic of him and that he regretted saying. She let him know how she felt, saying, “I can’t believe you said that. I’ve lost respect for you. You were my friend, but now don’t talk to me unless it’s about work.” He couldn’t get this out of his mind for the rest of the day, so when he got home he knew he needed to take care of it. And how did he take care of it? Well, it was in a way that I doubt he would’ve done just a year ago, or maybe even six months ago. He went inside.
He’s recently been enjoying guided meditations, especially from a guy named Jack Kornfield, so he found one on forgiveness and got right to work. He sat down, pressed play, and closed his eyes to begin. Jack guided him gently deeper and deeper inside, and the gist of the meditation was that he asked forgiveness from her, he forgave her, and he forgave himself. I don’t know how long it took, but I’m guessing 10-15 minutes. Afterward, he felt like a different person. It had worked. She didn’t want anything to do with him right then, so he didn’t have the option of working things out with her directly. So he had to do the work himself. He knew that he’d see her at work again, but he couldn’t wait. It was eating him up. He did the necessary inner work, and he was able to release what he was holding. He was literally at peace. And only fifteen minutes before, his mind had been stuck on this, beating himself up over and over.
He didn’t work with her again until four days later, and it sounds like when he returned, it was as if nothing had happened. She was his friend again, asking to see pictures of his family and what not. And I don’t think he had even said anything to her about his comment four days prior. He couldn’t believe it. He’s still going to make sure she knows he didn’t turn into a jerk overnight, but rather said something that he shouldn’t have said. He simply made a mistake, and we all make mistakes. Which is the real meaning of the word “sin,” I think. Made a mistake. There’s no guilt in that. But that’s another story…
Anyway, I was pretty moved when the full answer hit me hours after our session. The full answer to the question, “How much have you grown in the last twelve years?” He made a mistake with a co-worker and wouldn’t have the chance to correct it with her for four days. So what did he do? He went inside and meditated, using a tool specifically designed for that exact situation. And it totally worked, giving him the peace he had temporarily lost. And it seemed to help her, too. Hallelujah!
By the way, there are tons of guided meditations out there, some free and some for a cost. This one has more than paid for itself for my client. He’s the client I might’ve mentioned before who has used guided meditations to help fall into a deep sleep, too. Just look around – there’s lots out there.
Two more things… he brought some of his pictures from 9/11. I used my phone to take pics of four of them and have posted them on the Facebook page for A Clean Mind. It was a rush job, so please don’t judge. I ain’t no Ansel Adams anyway… Oh – as soon as the first tower collapsed, and he was working just a couple blocks away, he went into the nearest store and bought a disposable camera. That’s where these pics come from. Then when the second tower came down, it was only a block away. He was so close that he ended up in a cloud of smoke and dust and ash, and he couldn’t even see. He said that “paper was flying everywhere, some on fire and some ash. It was just crazy.” He could hear a “loud crackling sound very vividly,” and he heard people screaming that sounded closer. He followed the sounds of the screams, and it was the right choice. The crackling sound was in the direction of the towers and the screaming people were in the other direction. The pics show all of this pretty well, and I’m sure you’ve seen plenty anyway. You can imagine that therapy was important in releasing all of the fear, anger, etc. that would naturally accompany a scenario like this.
Last thing… This involves the question, “Is it my time to go? Am I really in control of when I die?” He was a block away and running around with a camera and he did not die even or get injured. His brother was a firefighter and had been called to the scene, but the fire truck was unable to get across one of the bridges into the city. Their mother is still emotional about 9/11 to this day, because she could’ve easily lost two sons. It seems the odds were not in favor of both of them coming out unscathed, giving their occupations and locations. But they did. I’m not saying to go play on the train tracks all the time, but just consider that we might not be in as much control as we think (read Control Freak!). And it’s actually good news. Great news! Try to control every detail of your life, and it’s just a matter of time before you have anxiety and health problems, especially in the stomach area. I don’t mean you quite your job and hang out at the hemp store all day long kicking a hacky sack. You do the same things, but with a more relaxed attitude. And you go in the flow more. Much more. Good stuff. And as always, let me know if I can help!