My daughter Alexis, like many young people, has tattoos. One of them is a small one on her wrist that says simply "The Gift". She tells me she did this to remind herself of her gift for writing. A good idea. We all were born and blessed with many gifts. As we begin the new year, we need to remind ourselves that, in fact, we are The Gift.
Furthermore, in spiritual circles it is almost axiomatic that each of us came to Earth with a unique gift to give. A gift no one else can give. If we do not fulfill our potential then we will live and die without the world knowing that gift.
Given this reality about ourselves, why is it that so many of us, myself included, spend years following someone else? We see someone we admire, so we try to do exactly what that person did in hopes of getting the same results. We forget that since we are not that person, "our mileage may vary."
There is no denying that everything in our world is subject to Universal Law. For example, there is the truth known in the Hindu religion as the law of karma. Louise Hay, metaphysical best-selling author and speaker, expresses it as what you send out comes back. The Bible says you reap what you sow, The Golden Rule. Earl Nightingale, pioneer in the personal development field, calls it the law of cause and effect. What's interesting is how each one expresses this Law in a slightly different way, once again demonstrating that the same truth differs slightly depending upon who is looking at it.
Taisen Deshimaru, author of The Zen Way to the Martial Arts, notes that each person is different. He says forms and colors are the same but they are perceived differently because we each see them through our own illusions, physiological and psychological. Likewise, life's problems are different for each of us and we each need a different way of solving them. And that is why we must learn to create our own method.
It is so easy to study what someone else has done and adopt it, wholesale. It eliminates the need to think. I remember when my kids were little they used to complain that whichever master I was studying, I would conform to, hook, line and sinker. This is not to imply that these masters were charlatans, for they weren't. The danger lies in accepting without question someone else's principles as our own.
The Universe gave me a perfect opportunity to learn this lesson about six months ago when someone came into my life who got a "clean bill of health" from my spiritual friends. One checked out his chakras and gave him the thumbs up. A swami in India told me that this was a good man who would become my husband. Several others met him and found him a good, loving person.
Not one of them detected that this was a con man and thief of 20 years longstanding, with a criminal record as long as your arm. No one, that is, until after he committed multiple felonies against me and my family without the slightest hesitation or remorse.
Sometimes in life we need that not-so-subtle kick in the behind that makes us wake up. This certainly woke me up and caused me to question all of my spiritual beliefs. I began to ask, has everything that I've studied and believed in the past five years been total crap? It was an experience that shook me to my very foundations. But it was something I clearly needed to move to a higher level.
In the end, I concluded that it was not my spiritual beliefs which were faulty; it was my application of them. I believe that the Universe blocked this man's true nature from me and my friends precisely so that I could learn this hard lesson. Each of us is different and each of us must create our own method of solving life's problems. If we imitate, we'll be wrong. We have to create for ourselves.
Why is it that we seem to prefer to follow someone else, instead of thinking for ourselves? Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, summed it up in two words: laziness and self-doubt. He said his "rich dad" told him "It is your self-doubt and laziness that keep you small. It is your self-doubt and laziness that deny you the life you want." And he concluded by saying his rich dad told him, "If you will take on your self-doubt and your laziness, you will find the door to your freedom."
Life is always teaching us lessons and life is very patient. If we do not get it the first time or the second or third or fourth, life will continue teaching us the lesson until we do get it, in this lifetime or the next. I have determined that life has some very big plans in store for me and decided that it was time for me to finally "get it."
There are some very big things I am meant to do in life and I will not accomplish them, following behind someone else and taking their word for it. And neither will you.
So as this new year begins, decide to create your own way. The way of you. There is nothing wrong with learning from the wisdom of others and certainly no point in reinventing the wheel. But instead of adopting wholesale what someone else tells you is "the way," I recommend that you ask yourself how it sits with you. Remember that you are The Gift.
Affirmation: I trust my Inner Wisdom. I am free to create the Way that works for me.