To my more mature friends in Silicon Valley/the San Francisco Bay Area,
I want you to know that I sought you out specifically. I see you all as accomplished individuals. Individuals that—I assume—have set out goals and achieved them.
Accomplishing all you set out to do is truly fantastic, but some of you may be asking, "What happens next?" Not only in your professional career but in your lives in general. Well…that's why I'm here.
It's my assumption that accomplished individuals also happen to be rather intelligent. And, I feel that the most intelligent individuals perpetually ask "why?" In the next few minutes as I speak, in the back of your minds, I'd like you to reflect on your lives and ask, "Why?"
"Why did I choose this particular path?" "Why did I choose to live life the way I have?"
Trust me, once you answer, your current life will be much easier to understand. So much easier to make sense of. And you'll know why "challenging" things happen within your life.
In late-1991, at age 34, I was fiercely determined to find out why I couldn't have an intimate relationship. I felt that answering this question determined if I would see 1992 or not. On New Year's Eve, after not having slept for about two months compiling information nonstop, I confronted my mother over the phone on New Year's Eve.
"Who the fuck is buried in the backyard of the house on Hillmont!?!"
I kept at it, using language I'd never used in front of my mother before. My skin had turned the color of blood. 34 years of RAGE came out in that five-minute conversation, all of it justified. My mother denied everything, except when a sliver of truth came out accidentally. That's the moment my skin turned from blood red back to white, well tan, actually.
I never did jump off my 21st-floor balcony that night. Instead, I got my answer and my life has never been the same. The early-90s—in addition to gaining about a hundred pounds (as "protection")—were spent dealing with the reality of it all:
In 1960, my father shot his partner on the Oakland Police force twice in the head. His partner was on top of me, raping me. My father wasn't protecting me, he was upset because his partner chose to begin the "ritual" early that night, before my parents were present… to do their part. 2 months later I turned 3.
Looking back, I'd initially thought that having experienced this life-changing discovery was my purpose: to know this "secret," but no. It did prolong my life but didn't answer why I'm here.
Yes, forgiveness is divine, but full forgiveness can only be accomplished with full compassion. To the best of my ability, I forgave my parents, but still labeled them "narcissists." I despised narcissists, until I realized that I fit all the criteria of being one myself. I know what made me so unhappy in life, but…
What made them so unhappy? Do the things they did? What made them the way they were?
I was given this life to have these exact experiences so I can learn and practice compassion, acceptance, patience in all forms. Not just for my parents, but for everyone I'd judged, labeled a "narcissist." After several years, I'm grateful to have learned that good does exist in everyone.
You've heard my story, but yours remains to be told. I told you a bit of mine, so you'd know my true "why I'm here." Have you asked yourselves why YOU'RE here? I don't really participate in any religion and don't go to church but having had the circumstances that led up to my own life-changing moment made me realize that there was something far greater going on than my ego ever recognized.
Keep thinking about your WHY! All of you have had something substantial that was a huge turning point in your lives. At this point in life, I find it doubtful for any of you to say that "that hasn't happened to me (yet)." Mine led me to realize that practicing compassion for everyone was my true purpose. My why.
I no longer point fingers, I no longer blame, and my emotional age has finally caught up with my biological one. I wish I had gotten there sooner, but, better late than never. Most narcissists remain children "emotionally" until the day they die. Your own purpose may have nothing at all to do with narcissism, developing and practicing compassion, so…
Have you identified yours yet?
If you're at all wondering, I hope you'll consider what I share tonight, allow it to sit in your head for a while. My sincere hope is that you'll perhaps look at your life differently; take the burden off, give your own "perfectionist" nature a rest. Stop feeling the need to control everything. The plan you've devised may be wonderful, but there may be an even more perfect one out there.
Please consider attending my Revive Your Purpose workshop. Two hours of time that I'm hoping will stimulate your mind, prompt you to look objectively at the why of it all: your life and why you're here.
A small group, only 4-8 individuals, sometimes working in pairs. I'll briefly share, then it's your turn. Anyone who wants to can, while others listen. This isn't analysis, not group therapy, most certainly not Dr. Phil. All without emotion. Looking at the turning points of your lives rationally.
At your crossroads, did you elect to take the difficult path? If you took the easier, more manageable one, did another very similar life-changing event take place? They tend to keep repeating over and over and over again until we accept the challenge.
More than anything, did you feel compelled to take action you felt was mandatory? Did it make you recognize that you have a purpose? Definitely not an obligation, a purpose that was placed before you?
This is the whole point of this workshop. As we listen to the stories, look for commonality in their overall meaning. Maybe we'll find out that there is so much more in common with our neighbors than there are differences.
There are so many helpful tools at our disposal today; some better than others, some resonate within us. Personally, I'm not big on trends, gimmicks, quick fixes or anything scientific. It's my belief that lessons exist for us for as long as we're alive, and then some… If we learn everything/all of them now, quite simply we'd no longer be here.
I hope that if—and after—you attend, you'll want to invest in more ME time; walks alone in nature, anyplace where busyness is at a minimum. If you're lucky enough, blessed enough to find alone time in nature while out for a walk, ask a question you need an answer to. Just ask quietly, right as you take your first steps.
When you walk for a while, 30 min. to an hour, the answer or answers will be inside your head, will be provided for you simply because you'd asked, and your mind had minimal clutter in your head to be able to distinguish answer(s) from clutter.
I've spent a lot of time alone in life; somehow, I think it's been a substantial part of my purpose to do so, to learn, to heal, to recognize, remember and to practice my purpose for being here.
Having others around us is great. Maybe we've existed here before with folks we're connected to. But, I feel strongly we're here now to learn our lessons, those that were given to us exclusively, not collectively.
One of the best feelings on earth is to not be supported by anyone else, but to know that you need no support/approval/acknowledgement from anyone, not even family or a mate. No one else.
I used to write books for middle graders; the protagonist, Miguelito, lived with a fatal form of a skin-blistering disease called EB. One of the main ingredients that kept him going were his To Do lists. Simply put, he felt that the more he NEEDED to do in life, the longer he had to hang around to get them done. His wise aunt encouraged him to make a new entry daily. Miguelito's To Do list was always full.
He was a pre-teen in those books and his purpose wasn't really on his mind, certainly too deep a concept for someone that young. As adults, mature adults, our needs mimic those of Miguelito's.
The more we need (NOT desire) to do, to learn, the longer we'll have to be here to accomplish (more). As adults, hopefully wise adults, we should know that learning lessons put in front of us, needing to learn them, is maybe even more significant than checking off tasks, chores, errands.
Do you feel as if you've done it all? Stop…and reflect. After achieving yet wondering what's next, reviving your purpose may add years to your (personal) calendar and give your life a meaning, sense of accomplishment that may make you say,
"Whew! This is bigger than I thought…and it's fulfilling!"
The snippet of a story I told you at the beginning I revealed with no feeling, really; it's part of my fiber now. I do know for a fact that without having discovered that truth, I wouldn't be standing here today. If I hadn't learned and practiced compassion for my parents, for all those involved in that "truth," and inevitably for others, I'd be missing the greatest satisfaction I feel in my life. And, I'm still at it.
We are all tested every day, giving us more and more opportunities to learn and practice patience, compassion, whatever it is. Thank goodness for these tests. My goal remains to pass these tests, not get an A or A+. This should be the goal for all of us: none of us are perfect, none of us will learn it all.
Whether you have interest in meeting with me again by attending the workshops I'm offering, I'd like you to ask yourselves one question when you're alone, by yourself, have no noise around you, "Why?" "Why am I here?" "Why am I living this life?" and "Am I living a life where I recognize repeat "lessons" and choose to take them on?" or "Were they simply coincidences?"
Create a To Do list, make it full and keep it full. You may find that this incites passion, creates excitement about what's to come: a fulfilling future. If you haven't yet, discover your truth, do your best to deal with it and then learn from it.
No matter how determined I was, I never could have attained my truth without help I never knew existed. The truth that was given to me in 1991 was the most precious gift of my lifetime; as a result, it would be the ultimate betrayal to deny the purpose I'd been granted, a huge slap in the face.
I share all this with you now, because I want all of you to recognize this rare gift you were born with: your true purpose. My goal at the end of the day is to say, "Job well done." I'd like you all to have that same feeling, to say those same words…after you'd answered your "why."
For more information, please visit: www.clintadams.com/events/htm
#ReviveYourPurpose #SantaCruz #March13 #Fiftysomething #Sixtysomething