Not Self-Help, Beyond Help: U-Turn

Hola mi gente,

First let me wish everyone a joyous Dia de Reyes (Three Kings Day). No, I am not religious, but el Dia de los Reyes connects me to my roots and my culture as a person of Puerto Rican descent.

The new year is upon us and with it the flood of resolutions, most of which, statistically speaking, will be broken before the end of the third week of January… Let that sink in… I don’t think it has to be that way. We can change, you just need a how that counter any why.

* * *

Color-of-Jazz_-001

Life is change, growth is optional, choose wisely. — Karen Kaiser Clark

 

I once read a book that asked the question, “What if you woke up one morning and realized you were living the wrong life?” Love it!

While most normally will not admit to it, I get the sense that many people feel as if they’re playing a starring role in a drama they never intended to play. I get a sense from so many people who seem to feel that they are somehow living the wrong life. The thing is I see people do complete about faces all the time.

In fact, I’m one of those people. About 25 years ago, I was a hopelessly addicted addict in solitary confinement — sick, malnutritioned — it doesn’t get any more hopeless than that. But something clicked right before then and many times after. My turn-around — my about face — happened incrementally until I evolved into the life I feel I was meant to live.

Others change in a flash. Gandhi and the French painter, Gauguin, changed overnight and undertook causes and passions at a great price. Gauguin was a well-to-do stockbroker leading a perfectly normal middle-class life and he just left one day. Left his wife and children and decided to become a painter. What’s more, he painted in a style that was totally misunderstood by the public at the time. He lived most of the rest of his life in abject poverty and in the process condemned his wife and children to a life of destitution. Gauguin today is considered one of the greatest of the post-impressionists. I doubt that in his lifetime, Gauguin ever sold a painting for a significant sum of money. Eventually he died penniless of syphilis. But he painted until the end of his life.

That was his passion.

What’s yours?

Gandhi, a chameleon if ever there was one, coined the term, “be the change you want in the world.” He too was living a comfortable life until one day he came face to face with racism and it changed him forever. Whatever you might say about his inconsistencies, he was probably the single most influential proponent of nonviolent resistance of the 20th century. His work influenced such people as Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, as well as countless others.

People do about faces all the time.

People change political parties and careers, people give up their jobs as doctors and become poets, mothers quit their families to pursue careers, and athletes quit their careers to spend more time with their families. There are passive people who change and become revolutionaries for a cause they didn’t care about the day before.

I guess the message is that you can change at any time, no matter what your external circumstances. The people mentioned above are no different than the rest of us in many cases. We like to think, those people were different, they were special. We’re just plain folk. Well, if you look into the history of these transformers, you notice that they were just plain folk too. In fact, some had tasted failure numerous times before they found their calling.

What will you do when you get your wake-up call? Will you just turn over and continue sleeping? Or will you heed the call? Because I can assure of this: you will be called. Perhaps you have been called already.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

References

Grierson, B. (2008). U-turn: What if you Woke up one morning and realized you were living the wrong life? New York: Bloomsbury USA.

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