Monday, August 26, 2013
What a great week.
First off, THANK YOU to TLF for your comment last week. It was mind-blowing, heart-warming, and totally the cup of water I need to keep blogging. I appreciate YOU and how much courage your life changes have required, and you made them anyway! AWESOME. Just AWESOME. Thank you for your generosity in offering credit to the blog; I have a new "tag line' on my new business cards I just made, and it is "INSPIRATION DELIVERED DAILY." By you sharing the impact the blog has had for you, I get to know that I am making good on my promise to do just that. Thank you for sharing!!!
Alright, first... THE J-MAN turns TWO!
Thursday was Julian's second birthday, and yesterday we threw the big guy a party. Being that he is completely infatuated with trains, we took him to our nearby Irvine Regional Park and took him on the train there. Then, we picked up Ali, and had some fun in the pool. He opened some of his gifts, which of course included various Thomas the Train toys. Yesterday, he opened more Thomas the Train toys, actually much to my delight. I really like the train toys! Thomas is a little prissy and annoying for me, but the stories usually have a good moral for young boys to learn, and the "Thomas universe (island of Sodor, Misty Island, etc) is really pretty and reminds me of home in Connecticut where I grew up.
Awesome Thomas cake made by Grandpa!
We had a bunch of friends and family to the house yesterday and we spent much of the afternoon in the pool. I gotta tell ya what a water baby Julian is! He LOVES IT. HE loves to jump in, to dunk, to get launched, to go under, all of it. He's just so happy and joyful in the water... his belly laugh lights up the whole pool and everyone there always enjoys watching him delight over the experience. It was fun, too because the friends were the same friends that all came to Ali's 2nd b-day party 5 years ago, and it was neat to see them all grown and in the pool swimming together. Good times.
Watching all of Ali's 2nd grade classmates play together in line before the first day of school had a similar "my, look how they've grown" quality to it. These kids were so little 2 years ago in kindergarten, and watching them all together on Wednesday morning, I had that moment - you know - that moment where you can't believe how big they got over the summer! Funny stuff. Anyway, Ali loves her new teacher, which makes us happy, and we already like how organized the new teacher is as well!
I love being a parent.
Alright, gotta share two more pieces of New York:
First, There is NOTHING like shopping in Times Square at 12:15 am on a Wednesday night while face timing with the kids back in California and taking them to the Disney Store to shop for souvenirs! See, everyone in Times Square at that hour is either a uniformed police officer, or a tourist, so lord knows what time zone they are from and what hour it is for them. All I know is that the Disney Store is open to 1am... that's a FAR CRY from life in suburbia! hahahaha. Now, don't be jumping in to tell me how late the store is open in Downtown Disney, I'm sure that's late, too. NYC truly is the city that never sleeps!
Aside from getting to sit next to one of my role models and mentors, Mr. Brendon Buchard, and aside from getting to have dinner with and talk with another hero, Dr. John Hagelin, and aside from becoming friends - or at least acquaintances with Dr. Peter Diamandis, the real unexpected moment in the trip was when Renee Airya gave the talk of the event. Her talk was titled, "Flip Your Flaws," and it was only 10 minutes long. Like a TED talk, however, it was LOADED with power. Renee was a model who developed a brain tumor. When they operated, they accidentally cut her facial nerve, paralyzing the right side of her face. She had to wear an eye patch, because she could no longer blink. However, while in the recovery room, she informed her surgeon that she would smile again.
He smiled, then told her it was not medically possible.
6 months later, she had regained 60% of her smile.
By staring into a mirror every day and willing her self to do so.
She literally retrained and rewired her brain.
Thanks to recent breakthroughs in understanding the brain, we know of this concept of 'neuroplasticity;' of the brain's ability to rewire itself around trauma sites to recoup functions it has lost. Renee's story is nothing short of a miracle, but it is a miracle she caused.
Up until her talk, however, she was still self-conscious because 40% of that smile still remains 'frozen,' and so she wore her hair over that side of her face...
...until this talk. She pulled it back in a pony tail to 'expose' all of herself. She admitted at the beginning of the talk that she was terrified to give the talk, and terrified to expose herself so vulnerably, but she believed that living with shame over 'a flaw' kept her from reaching her potential, and from reaching the people in the world she wants to help through her message and story.
I sat in my seat, FIXED on every word.
For more than 20 years, I have allowed my own perceived flaws to cause me to feel shame and hide out from fully realizing my potential. I have fought demons and merciless self critics inside who have labeled me, "defective, fundamentally flawed, terminally discontent, and fundamentally broken." I have arisen every morning to a feeling of anxiety and dread, because I KNEW that 'something was wrong...' since I was fundamentally wrong, some part of my day was going to go wrong... that was the default experience first thing in the morning. I strove to over achieve so that I could 'cover up' my flaws and 'atone' for my fundamental mistake... just being me.
I watched and listened to Renee systematically shed her shame and reveal herself to the room in real time. And I wasn't the only person to witness this. When she finished, the entire room rose to its feet and cheered for her. It was the most heart-felt response to any talk over the two days and 34 speakers we ended up having. After the applause settled down, Joe asked the audience if anyone wanted to share what they got out her talk.
My hand shot straight up and felt like it touched the ceiling, some 20 feet above me.
Joe called on me, and I walked up to the microphone, shaking. I raised my hand, and said, "How many others of you in here besides me are struggling with some sort of serious flaw?"
My voice cracked, and I just remained silent as I watched about 150 of the 200 business men and women quietly, slowly, but purposefully raise their hands in solidarity.
I didn't ask so that Renee wouldn't feel alone, I asked so I wouldn't feel alone. I started crying, because as I said to Renee while on the mic, that feeling of shame has held me back for my entire adult life, and in watching her leave it behind on that stage, I chose to leave it behind when I stood up to speak. Now, at this point, another round of applause went up and I walked over to Renee completely balling at this point and just hugged her in thanks... thanks for having the courage to lay it all out there on the line in front of EVERYONE. She reminded me that when we lay it all out on the line for our fellow brothers and sisters, it creates a vacuum of reciprocity and permission for those around us to automatically shed any pretense and do the same. So, I gave up my shame... in that room... on that day... in that city.
I left it there.
I am free from shame! hahaha! It feels so good! I have actually had the experience that everything is okay, and there is nothing wrong with me, with the day, with life, etc. for the past 10 days, and boy, it feels AMAZING. I share this story with you, because I KNOW that many of us feels like we have some sort of flaw. Some of us take a pretty good attitude with this, but for many, we let our flaws beat us up - either from time to time or regularly. I realized this past week, that it was as simple as making a decision to give that up. So simple. This might sound like "Tales of the Obvious" to some, but please understand, I'm not special, I'm not different... if I've felt that way, and if Renee's felt that way, and if all those people in that room who obviously resonated with Renee have felt that way, I'm guessing a few of you reading this have too, and if I could give JUST. ONE. PERSON. the feeling of liberation I've experienced, I will have done my duty to pass on this gift Renee gave me.
Thank you, Renee!