I have experienced some major learning lessons in having reached a low in life and in having that be turned around. For the first half of my life, I largely experienced difficulty and hardship. By my mid-teens, I found myself addicted to drugs, and by my early twenties I ended up homeless and hopelessly addicted. I harboured a lot of anger and resentment, and without fully realising it, had completely blamed others for my plight. In my mind, it was always someone else who was responsible for the way I felt and for what was happening to me.
So as I consider that life is now very different for me – having freedom from addictions, a successful business, a wonderful marriage and family, a series of the most amazing teachers and clients, a life that I love and most importantly a feeling of inner peace (at least most of the time) – I reflect on one of the most important developments in the transformation: the day I decided to take responsibility for my life.
I have been asked many times by clients and others how I was able to find the commitment to stop using drugs and turn my life around when I had gone so far down for so long. While it is hard to say what helped me to finally make the decision (it was most likely a combination of factors), I can recall the day, after trying and failing on literally thousands of occasions, that I made the commitment to change. I had no idea how it was going to happen, however I just knew beyond any doubt that it was – I had made the commitment on that level where there was no turning back.
From that moment forward, I stopped blaming others and making them responsible for my outcomes, and owned that my situation and particularly changing it was completely up to me.
I find it inspiring now to think that it was only when I made that decision that a whole slew of people showed up to assist me in my endeavour. Amazing people started coming out of the woodwork to show me the way and support me going from a destitute drug addict to someone who was beginning to fulfill his real potential (my real goal).
As long as I had held on to resentment and blame (even subconsciously), I seemed to attract more and more negative circumstances. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get out of the downward spiral. So it is with the utmost gratitude when I look back and see how the moment I decided to take responsibility for my life, the world responded in kind. As if in an instant, the exact right people, knowledge and opportunities to fulfill my dreams immediately began showing up.
Amazing teachers showed up to guide me, and I found myself continually pointed in the right directions, as if by some sort of “magic”. And as long as I remembered my end of the bargain (stop projecting onto others and take responsibility for what I was thinking, feeling and doing), this seemed to continue (and has to this day).
One of the most important life lessons I have ever received is the understanding that my suffering was not caused by any person or situation, but rather by what I thought and perceived it to be. By re-framing my perspective, I could be completely free and in fact come to a place of being truly grateful for precisely what I had previously resented.
Since this time, I have had the good fortune to work with many people as they take responsibility for aspects of their lives they previously hadn’t. Sometimes people go through significant experiences (ie, betrayal, relationship problems, deaths in the family, severe criticism, or even assaults), and though we may not be responsible for what happened to us, we can take responsibility for what we think and feel and thus get freedom from ongoing personal torment and negativity. I have seen this time and again be the catalyst for transformation, and for bringing out the best (both inner and outer) in people who have previously struggled.
It has been my experience that there isn’t a person on the planet who cannot find full inner and outer success and potential. There is no difficulty that can’t be dissolved with the realisation that there is immense power in introspection – that while we may not be able to change what happens, we have every ability to change how we perceive it. This perception is the basis for everything.