“Even though we may not like them, it is those moments in life that challenge our most precious assumptions that often prove to be most valuable” – Guy Finley
As we grow up we learn the beliefs of those around us, and most of the time we don’t question those beliefs. Some of them are things we learn in school and church, and others are beliefs that we adopt without even realizing that they are being taught to us.
I grew up with the belief that money was scare and hard to come by, because of the little things that I remember my parents doing. My dad for example never filled up the gas tank unless we were going on a road trip to a relatives house. It was $5 in the tank, no more. Since he drove 70 miles round trip to work, that meant that he was stopping for gas a couple of times a week. My mom smoked when I was young, and I remember that my dad got paid every week and the day before payday she would be going through all of the ashtrays to find a cigarette butt that still had enough tobacco to get a drag or two. Then of course was the constant answer whenever we wanted to do something, “we can’t afford it”.
We don’t even recognize most of the assumptions that we have because they are unconscious belief patterns that are running like computer programs behind the scene. But once in awhile, something happens that puts them out in the open.
I had an unconscious belief pattern that nothing “bad” would happen to my family. The bad being the kind of tragedy that happens and puts you in the news. That I could just keep improving on myself and that was good enough. Then my nephew Carl was murdered and that unconscious belief was brought out into the open. I realized that I had a responsibility, a global purpose to fulfill in helping to make communities that were truly large families that helped each other. That collaborated together to accomplish great things, to solve the social ills of not only their own town, but to then spread out to other towns.
I realized that I couldn’t continue to play small. That I had to grow myself more than what I ever thought was possible, to stretch out my boundaries. Even though Carl’s loss still hurts, he taught me that until all of us are safe to take a shortcut through the park, I have work to do. That it is not about me growing just myself, it is about me making those big changes in my life, and passionately sharing with one more person who then makes those same life altering changes, and they passionately share with one more person, and so on. Pebble by pebble, we can change the world. And so it is.