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An authentic, joyful life can be hard to find. Fortunately, Fran Harris has written the map—in 7 steps anyone can take.
Successful, self-actualized and blissful: how many of us can say that about ourselves?
Fran Harris sure can. She's a national television personality, WNBA Champion, international inspirational speaker, life coach and consultant to Fortune 500 companies. But ask her about her greatest ...
An authentic, joyful life can be hard to find. Fortunately, Fran Harris has written the map—in 7 steps anyone can take.
Successful, self-actualized and blissful: how many of us can say that about ourselves?
Fran Harris sure can. She's a national television personality, WNBA Champion, international inspirational speaker, life coach and consultant to Fortune 500 companies. But ask her about her greatest accomplishment, and she's likely to smile and say, "That's easy: I found the REAL me."
Because she believes we should all experience that journey, Fran's new book reveals her secrets for scrapping what we think we know about authenticity so that we can see and live up to our own potential. Her "7 Steps" are unconventional—and maybe controversial—but they work.
Dr. Harris teaches that we'll only find our real selves by shedding all the layers of institutionalized belief, dogma and practice that we pile on in life—eschewing ritualized adherence in favor of a deeper, more spiritual view of the world and ourselves. This, she contends, is what "God" wants for us. According to Harris, when we become unburdened by society's expectations, we are free to experience true joy, more capable of tapping into our own genius, and more likely to attract abundance and prosperity in all areas of our lives.
A life of passion and purpose is everyone's birthright. Get yours!
Will the real you please stand up?
The summer I retired from the WNBA I was at a major crossroads. I was coming off of the inaugural championship season with the Houston Comets. It was 1998, and I was deciding what I wanted to 'do' for the next phase of my life. I'd played for the Utah Starzz that summer and hadn't had the most joyous of experiences with that organization. Yet because I believe every experience carries both lessons and blessings, I was able to walk away from that time in my life with greater self-awareness, fond memories, and more important, a whole new set of friends whom I truly love.
The biggest takeaway from my minicrisis, which I now affectionately call my 'Salt Lake Days,' is a book that I conceived during one of my 'keep my sanity' meditation sessions while looking out over a majestic set of mountains in Park City, Utah. The book, at the time, I called What on Earth Am I Doing Here? It was precisely the question I was asking myself at the time. I had no idea what the book was going to be about, but I was definitely digging the title. One night as I packed for a road trip, I got inspired to work on the book. I jotted pages and pages of notes on various topics as the information came to me. Who was I, really? How had I come to be the person I was, and more important, was who I'd become who I wanted to be? My life felt like a giant jigsaw puzzle with more than a million little pieces. It was clear that I was on a journey of self-discovery, which I didn't mind, but the answers weren't coming to me in a neatly wrapped package, as I'd hoped. The answers were coming at me the way sand flies into your eyes on a windy afternoon at Venice Beach—from every direction and faster than I could keep up with. I found myself asking, 'Why, of all questions, is God asking me to answer 'Who am I?'' The answer I repeatedly got was: because to do the work you were born to do, you need to know who you are. So I bought a WOEAIDH (What on Earth Am I Doing Here?) journal and started to record the details of this new journey.
The premise of the book was going to be about self-exploration and spiritual awareness; that much I could tell. I would go to bed writing and I would wake up writing. I would be standing on the sidelines during practice thinking about THE question: who am I?
On the plane to our game versus the New York Liberty (a long flight from Salt Lake City), I wrote a book proposal and started to churn out the details of the content. I was sure I could get the book sold fairly quickly, but then, as it has a tendency to do, life got crazy, and the book project got tossed aside. It became like that pair of pants we buy 'because they're on sale,' but we never end up wearing. Still, I never forgot about it. And the question 'Who am I and why am I here?' stayed with me. I kept the proposal tucked neatly in my filing cabinet in the 'great ideas' folder, where it stayed for three years.
In March 2001, I participated on a panel of successful businesswomen and international leaders via satellite in the Second Annual WomenFuture.com global businesswomen summit that was aired on PBS. After a long day of energizing and encouraging 200 women and men of various ages, professional disciplines, and socioeconomic backgrounds to step into their purpose and passion, I looked out into the eager faces and posed what I believed to be a simple question: 'How many of you are truly living your life's purpose?'
It seemed like a logical enough question, but immediately a hush fell over the previously raucous room. So I posed the question again—this time in Italian, since it appeared that either I'd asked a really difficult question or I'd asked it in the wrong language! The audience laughed as I continued to speak to them in Spanish, broken German, and pathetic French in an attempt to get a response. 'C'mon, let's see a show of hands,' I continued. Nothing. 'Then just what are you doing with your lives?' I asked. They were speechless. On that day, I realized I wasn't the only one who needed to answer 'the question.' It was also on that day the book began to truly take shape. It was clear that I had to write a book about purposeful living. A lot of people were struggling with discovering their purpose. This book, I believed, would help them.
As I sat on stage looking out into the faces of people who by most standards had achieved phenomenal success and amassed incredible financial wealth, it became apparent to me that as much as we've evolved as humans, a vast majority of us are still roaming the earth in a zombielike state. No passion. No purpose. No joy. No light. 'How did we get here?' I asked myself. Oh, it wasn't rhetorical. I knew exactly why the audience had been so silent. I could look at my own life and answer that question! The audience's silence was confirmation. Now, everything was falling into place.
There's something to be said about the time you spend alone with God. As I look back on the blessings from my Salt Lake Days, I realize that that was exactly where I needed to be to learn some of the lessons I'll share later on in the book. I knew that my spiritual walk was going to take an accelerated turn for the better when on my first Sunday in Salt Lake, I drove to the shopping mall only to discover that it was closed on Sundays. That's when I started going to the mountaintop, literally. And that's when I realized how spiritually lethargic I'd become.
I had been allowing my ego to dictate my life that summer so it shouldn't surprise you to learn that I found myself in some precarious situations on more than a few occasions. I was engaging in some serious spiritual aerobics with the Utah Starzz management and coaching staff over things that I was never going to convince them to see differently. My fear was that if they didn't see things differently (read: the way I saw them) that I was going to have a hard time surviving in Utah, and, therefore, have a miserable summer. Well, they didn't budge and neither did I. And the very thing I feared happened. They stood their ground, I stood mine, and I ended up having a miserable summer! Sound familiar? No? Keep reading.
Like many of you, even in my fear during that fateful summer, I sought a deeper connection to God, to myself, to my family, to the world, to my reason for living. And, like many of you, I wanted to seek answers from my spiritual community. I'd learned as an adolescent that church was a building where people went to 'be fed' spiritually, yet what I saw in church were contradictions to the things we were taught in the sermons. As a twelve-year-old, I can remember vicious emotional warfare going on between church members. I saw blatant unkindness and disregard for human life. I saw people who lifted their hands in reverence to God in one moment, and then use the same hands to point their fingers in judgment and condemnation immediately after the service was over. And this wasn't just at my church. This was in every 'church building' I stepped into. As you can imagine, I was a very confused adolescent. I thought church was supposed to be a place of love, acceptance, and spiritual nourishment. What I saw was anything but the Christ-centered love we learned about in Sunday school. One of my favorite Bible verses growing up was, 'You will know they are Christians by their love.' I wasn't seeing a whole lot of love sometimes on Sunday!
I wasn't satisfied with what I saw in church, so I began to seek out God—and spirituality—for myself. I began to read books on enlightenment and spirituality, although I had no idea what the words meant. I began to introduce myself to other spiritual paths besides Christianity. I wasn't looking for a substitution but rather an expansion of my faith.
I had been trained to believe that it didn't matter what you did on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, but on Sunday your butt needed to be in church. And it was. It was in church all day on Sunday, from sunup to sundown. Yet as much as I was physically in church, there were things about church and God that I still didn't get. I enjoyed the stories and metaphors. I loved the singing and praising. I could recite the books of the Bible faster than an auctioneer reels off the bids at Sotheby's, but I still didn't get the relationship between how God wanted us to treat each other and how we were actually treating each other. I couldn't comprehend the often-conflicting messages about abundance. Was it okay to be rich as long as we gave God a percentage? I didn't understand why some people were upset that certain people drove certain cars. Or how much chatter there could actually be around a 'good' teenage girl who mysteriously ended up pregnant. My teenage years were confusing enough as it was, and the dynamics of 'church folk' made it even more confusing.
Still, nobody questioned what was taught at church. And if they did, they did so in private. The Bible was the most important book in existence, and we were told that if you wanted to know the answer to something, the Bible was the place to look. This didn't stop me from having a zillion questions. Since I can remember, I've always had a zillion questions. I have a curious nature.
I remember once asking one of my Sunday school teachers why most of the books of the Bible were men's names. 'Because that's the way God made it,' she answered. Hmmm. I didn't buy that. I still don't. But that's what I mean about questioning what you've been taught. Did they really think that a kid who questioned every decision (mostly in my head) that my parents made would actually buy that God, the Divine, the Spirit, who loves us all the same, would actually sign off on a book that discriminates against half the population? Come on! I was young, but I wasn't dense! And, thus, my journey to truth, spirituality, and the real me began.
I'm convinced that going to college was my University of Spirituality because it is there that I truly saw the vastness of God and how important spirituality was to people from all over the world. I attended and played basketball at the University of Texas at Austin, a 50,000+-student metropolitan college with a huge international population. Diverse cultures and ethnicities spread over the campus like lava. It was amazing. And with each of these groups came their respective 'takes' on God and spirituality. It was like a spiritual Baskin Robbins—31 Flavors on campus!
I'd been raised in a traditional Baptist church that followed a Christian doctrine that taught that Jesus had died for my sins. Sins? I thought I was a fairly decent child. I was a bit precocious at times, but a sinner? That didn't add up for me. Anyway, as I was saying, college opened my eyes to many things, chief among them was the fact that I'd been led to believe that Christianity was the be-all and end-all and that anything else was just plain nonsense. Again, it wasn't adding up. God wouldn't want me to be confused and conflicted about divine messages, as I had been feeling for so long. There had to be more.
In college, before each game, we gathered in a circle and prayed to God. Not to the Christians' God. Not to the Muslims' Allah. Not to the Jews' God. Not to Jehovah. But to God. To Spirit. The Oneness that united us all. Because of these prayers, in my freshman year in college (when we think we know everything anyway), I figured it all out. God wasn't a man, even though we prayed to the Father. The Lord's house wasn't a place to deify men—although there was, and still is, a lot of that going on, but God was Spirit. Infinite. No beginning. No end.
It was that year, at seventeen years old, that I noticed how people responded to the word 'God.' It was also that year that I learned that God is called many things, depending on who's talking. Why were people so triggered by God and spirituality? Why were people so upset when someone spoke of The Divine, rather than using the word 'God'? That year I learned that there is rampant ego (fear) among religions. No wonder our world was in such a mess! Every religion wanted exclusive rights to God! That's when I truly started to learn about spirituality and God's love. I learned that God was not watching over just me, but the entire world. That God didn't favor me over my non-Christian teammates. And most important, God wasn't waiting for me to screw up so that I could be punished with a plague of locusts. God was love, nothing but pure love. Were I and the little girls and boys at the campus nursery the only ones who got that?
I wish I could say that my life was transformed at the ripe old age of seventeen, but it wasn't. That was only the beginning of the journey to my personal spiritual enlightenment. The first thing I had to get used to was not going to church on Sundays—a trek that was about to be filled with some interesting plot twists and turns. It was a major adjustment. You see, college was not anything like high school. We had basketball practice on Sundays, and I would soon learn that not only were we going to be practicing on Sundays, but we might even play a few games on Sunday, too! I don't know why this seemed so farfetched. I'd grown up watching the Dallas Cowboys every single Sunday during NFL season. The concept of sports on Sunday wasn't new; however, missing church was a concept I'd have to adjust to. Because even though I'd watched football on Sundays, I watched the games after I got home from church.
I remember the turmoil I experienced as that first Sunday during my freshman year at UT loomed closer. I had to face the fact that I wasn't going to be sitting on somebody's pew listening to the parable of the fish and loaves because my coach had some silly notion that basketball players need instruction and conditioning.
My other church-going teammates and I researched the area and found a church that held an early service. Phew! I was relieved. And even though the service did little to stimulate me, I was glad to be in the midst. We'd arrive at the church in bunches of threes and fours. And everyone knew who we were because, as most of you know, athletes are rock stars on college campuses. Most of the people in the congregation always looked impressed that we were in church. I always found that kind of funny. We'd participate in the services like the other congregants, and as the clock neared practice time—12 noon—we'd tiptoe out the side door, stop by McDonald's or 7-11 for something we had no business eating, and zoom down the street toward the gym. Even though we might have gotten to be in service for only thirty minutes, we felt so much better about ourselves. At least we were 'there,' we'd say. God rewards us for being 'there,' we thought. We had a lot to learn.
Then one day I was talking to one of my teammates who never went to church except for funerals and weddings. She asked me why going to church was so important to me. She couldn't believe that no matter how late I stayed up on Saturday night, I always dragged my tired butt out of bed to go to church the next morning. Our conversation took an interesting turn after she asked me why I went to church 'only' on Sunday. Wow! What a great question. I stared at her for a moment. She was genuinely interested in my answer. She admired my diligence and commitment and wondered if we got some special bonus for attending church on Sunday. 'It's what I do,' I said. 'On Sundays I go to church. That's what I've done all my life.'
She nodded as if the answer made sense. After all, there were things she'd done all of her life, too—played sports, gone to the Grand Canyon every summer, watched cartoons on Saturday morning. She understood. She got it. But I didn't. Why did I go to church every Sunday? This was another question I'd need to answer.
My friend's question stayed with me the entire semester. I continued to go to church like a robot. I was programmed to get out of bed every Sunday, rain, shine, sleet, hail, or snow, and make my way to the Lord's house. Then one night I kneeled to pray. Yes, kneeled. I'd been conditioned to believe that somehow kneeling got me extra points. Anyway, I asked God if I needed to go to church, and the answer I got was, 'Do you?' You see, God doesn't answer questions we need to answer for ourselves. That baffled me. I expected—and wanted—the heavens of my dormitory to open up and show me some indisputable sign that what I was doing was the right thing to do. But why? Why was it the right thing to do? This answer, I was sure, would be my Holy Grail. It would unlock the door to my questions about spirituality and God. So I prayed and prayed and prayed some more, hoping, pleading for a sign. And then one spring day, I got it.
Our basketball team was very visible in the community, and, thanks to our coach, very civic-minded and community-oriented. It was customary for us to speak in elementary schools, serve food at homeless shelters, donate old uniforms to auctions, and visit assisted-living homes. One Sunday after practice we were invited to visit the Ronald McDonald House, a hospital for kids with terminal illnesses. As I walked from room to room talking or playing with kids who had shaved heads and oxygen tubes sticking out of their noses, I got the sign I'd been praying for since freshman orientation. I had asked for an unmistakable sign, and there it was staring me right in the face.
God is about service. Not services. Spirituality isn't found in the pages of a book but in how we coalesce with other souls during our time on earth. Every house is the Lord's house. Things started to become crystal clear. It didn't matter if I went to church. Not to God. Church attendance is high on the list of Ego's concerns. Church was just a place that humans built to gather. God's presence was everywhere, not just in that building I went to every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and sometimes Saturday! Now spirituality made much more sense to me. Because God is not human, God does not bother with the cares of this world. God is all about how we treat one another. How we honor the earth. How we take care of one another as a human race. I'd asked the answer to be revealed, and there it was—in the faces of every child in that hospital. From that day forward, I went to church because I wanted to be around like-minded, like-spirited souls, not because I 'had' to. The people I grew up with made it appear as though God was keeping some elaborate scorecard in heaven—one that rivaled anything I'd ever seen in the most famous gymnasiums or on any football field. God's scorecard had to be enormous, I thought.
After all, there were so many things that had to be accounted for: honoring our mothers, honoring our fathers, tithing, church attendance, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting 'the sick and shut-in,' as we called it at home. Boy, that was some scoreboard God had! There was probably one that was reserved just for religious-themed actions, like how many times we prayed or how often we repented or Hail Mary-ed. Boy, was I relieved to discover that God isn't concerned with the 'systems' we've put into place on earth!
My discovery meant that I was free to experience God as this magnificent, loving, and accepting Spirit who loved me without question or footnotes. For the first time in my life, the concept of God made total sense to me. I was starting to have some inkling of what it meant to be real.
This discovery changed my life on the spot. My spiritual sensibilities were always supercharged. I can remember staring out in the distance on one of my grandmother's visits to our house one summer. I had to be about seven or eight, and all I remember is staring into nowhere, and just as someone was about to tell me to snap out of it, my grandmother said, 'Leave her alone. She's got something.' She told them not to bother me, but to allow me to come back to earth on my own time. I'll never forget that. We're all connected to Spirit, yet some of us come to earth with a very different sense of Spirit. We all come here with special gifts. Some of those are spiritual gifts, some physical gifts. A few months ago I asked my Godmom, Jean, whom you'll meet later in the book, how she learned to play the piano. 'I walked over to the piano, and I started to play.' She was just a young girl, no more than six or seven, and she walked over to the piano and started to play? I understood. There are things that are innately in us. I came to this earth already having a deep understanding of what it means to be real—even when I didn't know how to express it. It was there all the time but was convoluted by a litany of human-made rules and interpretations. What I was now learning was that Spirit had a grander purpose for my life and everyone I came in contact with—a purpose that included greater service, success, and even financial riches.
Even though I'd had a great high school academic and athletic career, I hadn't yet seen the full spectrum of blessings that were headed my way. On the day of this discovery, this opening, it became apparent to me that my journey to the real me could help and inspire others to discover their 'real' selves. I was ready. Or so I thought.
The Real Deal
I believe there's a great life out there for you. And I believe there's a great life in you. No matter who you are, where you came from, or what anybody's ever told you, your life can be as magnificent or as miserable as you choose to make it. Wherever you are today is the result of the choices you've made and the beliefs you claim as truth. Whatever you become tomorrow will be no different.
It will still be about your choices and beliefs. This moment right now can be the saddest day you'll ever have.
It can be the happiest day you'll ever have.
It can be the brokest day you'll ever have.
It can be the most joyous day you'll ever have.
It can be the most painful day you'll ever have.
Or it can be the most exciting day you'll ever have.
Either way, your choices will explain and determine your life path. This moment right now is what you are making of it.
That is the real deal.
The Real You
The mask you've worn for the past week or twenty years is probably not the real you—or at least not all of you. Each of us has the potential to be more of who we are—the soul that was given life to make a contribution to the world; the spirit with no concept of fear, rejection, betrayal, or doubt; the person who gives without need for recognition, lives without the need for approval, and loves because it is its own reward. That is the real you.
If I met you today, I'd need to spend only three minutes with you to be able to tell you what's stopping you from having the life you want. I could tell you what excuses you've told yourself all of your life. I could tell you which illusions you've allowed to steal your joy. I could determine which newsletter of lies you subscribe to and which truths you avoid. If I asked you a series of questions, your verbal responses, as well as your body language, would tell me everything I need to know about you. Three minutes, that's all I need. Three minutes with you, and I'd see you. I'd see past your face, I'd see past your color, I'd see past your status, I'd see past your persona, and I'd see you—the real you. That's not a fluffed-up claim; it's true. It's a gift. I wouldn't know these things because I'm extrapsychic. We're all psychic, by the way. No, I'd know these things because I know what used to hold me back and I remember too well the lies I used to let rule my life. I've spoken to hundreds of thousands of people, and I listen to what they share about which roadblocks have gotten in the way of their path on the way to the real them. l'm willing to bet that I would see you in some of their stories.
We all have gifts that we came into this world with. One of those gifts is the ability to be transparent, authentic, and real. Many of us lose that realness before we're five years old. We don't intend to lose it, it just happens. It happens because it is methodically and systematically stripped away by our parents, our friends, the media, our religious affiliations, and ourselves. Yet even though the authentic you might disappear from the surface, underneath, it's still there. Even when it's not detectable by the human eye, it's still there. Beneath all of the layers of limited belief systems, unrelenting judgment, self-hatred, and an insatiable need for approval, lies a real person who is honorable, open, and highly intuitive. Underneath all of the rubbish is real genius. Beneath the rubble of self-doubt, self-abuse, and self-denial rests the power to change the world.
In the pages of this book, I'd like to share my secrets for becoming the real me because I know that these keys will also help you unlock the door to the real you. These are recurring principles that I have shared in my exclusive business- and life-coaching practice, as well as in seminars across the world. People from all walks of life continue to tell me that these principles have changed their lives. These seven principles are powerfully transformative because they allow you to uncover the truth about who you are and why you're here. They will allow you to see a soul that is powerful, brilliant, and loving. These principles and their subprinciples make it possible for you to uncover and rejoice in being the real you. The you you were meant to be. The you you are ready to become.
Here's an undeniable truth: We all want to transform some area of our lives—not because we're broken or incomplete, but because there's always something we desire to change, heal, or move to another level. We want to be better—maybe better parents or lovers or teachers or servants. We simply want to be better. We want to be more. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to love better, nurture better, or serve better when it's coming from a place of love and respect.
Athletes talk about bringing their 'A' game. Spiritually, we have an 'A' game, and when we're on our 'A' game, we're kind, compassionate, creative, and loving individuals. Like the world-class sprinter who desires to shave seconds off her time in the 200-meter run, we all strive to reach our fullest potential—to run a little faster, close more sales, love more completely, pick up the kids on time more often, understand more fully, remember to call Grandma on her birthday, or forgive more honestly. We want more. Yet sometimes we encounter obstacles on our way to becoming more. And when we get to this juncture, instead of turning inward, we tend to look outside of ourselves for the answers. Unfortunately, it's on the outside where we get diverted farther away from our true selves. When a situation at work doesn't go the way we want it to go, we think Happy Hour is the answer. When a relationship doesn't work out quite the way we envisioned, we think another relationship is the prescription for our seemingly broken heart. We look outward for solace when the answer is always inside of us. And the answer is always love. Always.
Instead of loving ourselves, we continue to run around in the same circles like a mouse in the maze, rarely reflecting on the lessons right in front of our eyes. Why does this keep happening to me? I don't know how I ended up here again! We are constantly given opportunities to learn new lessons, but we keep wanting to learn the same ones. The most difficult challenges we face are those that give us insights into who we really are—the real us. The path to becoming more of yourself is a path that leads you to greater love in all areas of your life. Will the Real You Please Stand Up? will illuminate what you need to address to move closer to who you really are. And once you get on the path to the real you, you will transcend your circumstances in a miraculous instant.
It feels like I've been a teacher or coach all of my life. That's why I was born—to help bring people from all over the world into the reality that they are powerful beyond their imagination. That's my purpose. I'm no longer confused about why I'm here. Teaching, healing, coaching, that's my call. But before I could answer that call, I had to overcome the biggest hurdle I'd ever faced. My hurdle had nothing to do with learning a new skill or earning a different degree. My biggest opponent was inside of me. I suspect that in many ways the biggest hurdle you'll ever have to clear is inside of you, too. That's where everything starts. That's where everything ends. The challenge we face as spiritual beings is allowing ourselves to be guided by the one thing that is real: love. Rather than being guided by the one thing that is not real: fear. Or Ego. The question is then, can you truly know and live your purpose if you're only allowing 10 or 20 percent of the real you to show each day? Can you truly know your full potential if 80 percent of the time you're wearing a mask?
I'm intimately familiar with the challenges you may face today, even though we may never meet. I know you because I know me. We're all connected by the same needs; therefore, we are infinitely connected by the same challenges. We all want to be loved, respected, and appreciated. And, likewise, we all experience frustration when things don't pan out the way we'd like. We're all disillusioned when someone we think we know does something that we perceive to be out of character. We're all saddened when someone we love dies. We're all the same.
Each day we bypass opportunities to love ourselves and others more deeply. We forego these opportunities to live out our fears. Mainly our fear of dying. Yet our greatest challenge is not adding years to our lives but rather adding more life to our years. I believe that our greatest fear is not that we won't be loved, but that we won't know real love when we see it. In general, as a society, we've done a horrible job in the love department. The cost for not truly knowing how to love ourselves is enormous. Yet until we can have the courage to let go of our human needs, we will never know the kind of love the Divine truly has for us. Our greatest charge today, then, is not to become simply more but to become more of who we really are. Only then can we know who God really is.
I believe God's desire for us is pure and simple: love each other; be real; be kind to the earth; and honor Spirit and all that is greater than you. That's it. No fine print. No disclaimers. No warning labels. No assembly required. None of the stuff I grew up thinking really mattered. God is not complicated. But I understand why some people are so outraged by organized religion and anything having to do with spirituality. Many traditional religious beliefs have ingrained archaic and oppressive thoughts into our minds and hearts, and, as a result, many of us can't get to the real 'us.' We're too busy trying to live up to everyone else's idea of us.
I now know that much of what those listeners at the WomenFuture.com conference were experiencing in 2001 is exactly what happens to all of us in some shape, form, or fashion at some point in our lives. The world sends us a message: hide your light. It's a message that we hear at home, at school, at church, on television, and every place in between. We are to be conformists at all costs. We are not to be individuals. We are not to aspire to fly. We are to fit in. Move to the beat of the dominant drummer. In other words, be anybody other than who you really are. The bad news is that most of us listen to this nonsense and never know the sheer elation that comes from living your life in and on purpose!
I challenge you today to listen to your own voice and the voice of God, which will always have your highest good in mind. I urge you to consider experiencing God, not as a person or a warden, but as a loving Spirit wanting nothing but bliss for you. I encourage you today to see yourself as a big ole juicy artichoke, and peel back every single layer until you get to the real you.
I'd like to introduce you to a system that changed my life. A system that has brought me closer to God and who I really am. A system that will also move you closer to the real you. Each of the seven principles in The Real You system builds on the previous, and I encourage you to take each step in the designated order because mastery of one is necessary for the full embodiment and mastery of the next.
When I reignited the flame on my spiritual path seven years ago, I experienced something that happens to most of us. I experienced momentary paralysis—a moment that lasted about three weeks! If we're even remotely awake spiritually we all come to a place in our lives where we yearn for something deeper and something more. Yet when most of us reach that crossroad, few of us have the courage to walk into the unknown. Few of us walk in faith and silence the voices outside of us that have told us to be content with who we are and what we have. We've listened to those sentiments because in many cases they've come from people who love us: our parents, teachers, siblings, lovers, and friends. Few of us are willing to ask ourselves the hard questions. Why have I stayed in this unhealthy situation for so long? When will I stop lying to myself about who I am? When will I have the courage to change my major to something I'm really passionate about? Why do I always lie about how I'm feeling or what's going on with me? These are hard questions for most of us. And if your question wasn't mentioned, ask yourself a hard question today and see if you can answer it with integrity and truth.
The truth is that few of us are willing to believe that God has a larger vision for us than we have for ourselves. This belief keeps us from our real selves. There's a fish in Japan called a koi. If you put a koi in a cereal size bowl, it will grow to that size. If you put it in a five-gallon aquarium, it will grow to that size. If you put it in a tank the size of a football stadium, it will expand to fit the stadium. We are like the koi. Our vision for ourselves is sometimes so small that we limit our growth. We have to continuously put ourselves in a larger fish bowl so that we can see the real possibility in all areas of our lives. If we continue to get into relationships with people who don't challenge us to grow emotionally or spiritually, we'll remain spiritual munchkins. If we continuously seek out job opportunities that don't stretch us, we limit our intellectual and financial possibilities. If, when faced with a tough decision or difficult conversation with a loved one, we bail without expressing our true feelings, we miss the opportunity to go to the next level of personal development. What would you do today if you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that failure was not an option. Someone once said, 'It's the stop that keeps people from starting.' Or to paraphrase what Marianne Williamson says, 'It's our light, not our darkness that frightens us.'
For those who are brave enough to let their light shine, to lift their voices, and step out of the shadows of their past or away from the lies that they've bought into for years, a whole new world awaits them—one that is bursting with possibility and filled with multifaceted spiritual rewards. This is the central message of Will the Real You Please Stand Up? The new journey I describe in this book begins with discovering your purpose and ends with living it passionately, authentically, and unapologetically.
I called this a book earlier, but in reality this is not just a book, it's a companion—a fellow traveler written to nurture your unique spiritual exploration and to encourage you to incorporate Spirit into every facet of your life so that you can give birth to the real you. How different would your life be if you made decisions based on what was best for you spiritually? I think drastically different. Many of us wouldn't be with the same lovers, work in the same professions, live in the same neighborhoods, or befriend the same people if we were led by Spirit. What if you had a set of spiritually oriented factors or questions that you checked before you took a certain path, before you accepted the job offer, before you said yes to the date or the marriage proposal?
Will the Real You Please Stand Up? gives you the opportunity to clean out your spiritual closets and gives you permission to have a 'fire sale'—to throw out what does not work for you. Sound radical? It's not really. Fire sales are a necessary good, and I recommend one in every area of your life—from your clothes closet to relationships that are not serving you well.
Recently, at a popular sold-out self-development seminar in Los Angeles, a fellow volunteer asked me about the church I attend—Agape International Spiritual Community. 'I visited Agape a few weeks ago,' she said with a childlike enthusiasm. 'There were no pictures on the walls or anything. How do you know who you're worshipping?' We both laughed.
It was a beautiful prelude to this book. 'That's precisely why there are no 'images' on the walls at Agape,' I answered. 'God is infinite, and there is no way to 'capture' God in a painting. God is Spirit. If we painted God, what would it look like?'
My new acquaintance, who was Catholic by the way, echoed the sentiments of most people in the world, regardless of their religious backgrounds—people who have put God in a box, people who can't conceive of a God who doesn't wear a special uniform or a God who isn't judgmental. They can't wrap their brains around a God who isn't jealous if we look at another God, or who doesn't get angry when we screw up. No wonder we have such a difficult time getting to our real selves. On some level we believe that we're not even good enough for God! Or worse, we've been brainwashed into thinking that God is a tyrant we must obey. I asked a friend about his plans for moving to New York to pursue his dream of being on Broadway. 'Can't,' he said.
'What do you mean you can't? Pack your bags and get in the car,' I replied.
'The last time I disobeyed God I paid for it,' he said sipping his coffee.
I sat there in wonder. He actually believed that God had punished him for a decision he made five years ago. My friend went on to share that a few years back he'd taken a job that 'God' told him not to take. As a result, he said, 'I had a terrible career with the company.'
'Isn't it possible that you had a terrible career because you wanted to have a terrible career?'
He became irate. Apparently I struck a chord. 'Why would I want to have a terrible career, Fran? That makes no sense at all!'
'Sure it does. If you'd had a great career you wouldn't get to tell me this sad story right now and you wouldn't be sitting here holding yourself back, avoiding the next level of success. Clearly, New York is the next level of what God has for you, but, now, you're blaming God because you're afraid to take the plunge. Makes perfect sense to me.'
If my friend hadn't been such a kindhearted man, he probably would have doused me with his Ethiopian blend. Instead he did what any self-respecting Christian would do. He closed his eyes and prayed for me! On the spot! Prayer to-go. I love it!
What my friend shared is similar to what I hear every day in my coaching practice from people of all spiritual walks. On one hand they claim to believe that their Higher Power wants infinite blessings for them, but then they're afraid to receive those infinite blessings. And rather than saying so, they blame God for holding them back or not wanting them to experience the good life by saying things like, 'God doesn't want me to have that.' We forget that God desires what is best in us, as well as what's best for us. We'd do well to stop blaming God for our unwillingness to fly.
We must come out of our spiritual comas and start to lead lives full of purpose and passion. I believe it is the absence of such passion that has caused such rampant spiritual apathy. It is the absence of this truth that keeps you from knowing and becoming the real you.
The Real Question
Will the Real You Please Stand Up? Of all the titles I could have chosen for the book, why this one? Henry David Thoreau said that most people lead lives of quiet desperation. I think we lead lives of acute separation—separation from our true selves; separation from real joy; separation from real love; separation from real truth. Separation from our real selves.
Right now, the real you is likely to be in one of these five positions.
• Sitting down
• Lying down
• Hiding behind ___________ (fear, doubt, etc.—fill in the blank)
• Pretending to be someone else
• Standing up only three-quarters of the way
If you're already on a path to becoming more of who you are, then the real you is potentially already standing. But even if you are already walking in truth and realness I know that there is room for more realness, and that's why I know that you will stand a little taller after reading these next few hundred pages. Ready? Here we go.
Who Is the Real You?
As the title of this book asks the 'real you' to stand up, I'm clearly making an assumption that the real you is not the one you show
every day. The real you is that person who knows no boundaries; the
person who lives life fully and unapologetically; the person who is loving and compassionate; the person who has no need for jealously or envy; the person who knows that there's an infinite amount of abundance; the person who lives each day as if it were your first. You thought I'd say as if it were your last, didn't you? That's one of the biggest bloopers of humankind—living as if today were our last instead of the first.
If today were your first day on the planet, what would you do? How would you feel and act? You'd be curious, excited, and adventurous, wouldn't you? You'd be boundless, outrageous, and uninhibited. The journey to the real you starts with this simple yet critical shift in your consciousness. That's why I want you to start living your life as if it were your first, not your last day on the planet. If today were your last day on earth, you'd likely be running around trying to right your wrongs, saying good-bye, tying up loose ends, and cleaning up your damage. What a colossal waste of time! Life is to be lived!
Will the real you please stand up? We arrived here full of excitement about the newness of it all. So I want you to go back and get that exuberance you had on the first day of your life. Go back and get that freedom you had to just be you—all of you. If it's been too long since you felt sheer joy and love of life, take a field trip to your local day-care center or playground. There you will see what it means to be real. You'll see no ego. No boundaries. No ulterior motives. No agendas. No politics. Instead you'll look into the faces of real people. And if you look long enough, you may even catch a glimpse of you many, many years ago, when being real was all you knew.
What Happened to the Real You?
Most of us remember what it was like to be carefree, but we've now resigned ourselves to the fact that those days are behind us. We're in a constant state of grieving for that time in our lives, yet it's right here. It's with us every single moment of every single day. For many of us, our real selves are tucked away in a chest like a precious keepsake that we pull out only a few times a year. For others, their real selves are being held hostage by fear of rejection, success, or failure. Either way, it's time to access the power of the real you. No more faking. No more deferring to everyone in your life to make them feel good. No more squashing your passion, your joy, or your excitement about who you are and what you want to become.
Your Personal Covenant
A covenant is a promise or an agreement that we make with someone. Each of us has an agreement with ourselves, whether we know it or not. We've entered into a sacred contract, and each day we live out that contract. We stand in the mirror and we consummate the agreement. Today I'm going to be authentic, or today I'm going to be someone else. Nine times out of ten we choose the latter. We grab our backpacks and briefcases and we head out the door. Another day of faking it.
Today, I want you to enter into a new covenant with yourself, one that honors who you are—who you really are. Not the person you've become based on what other people have told you about yourself, but one that is deeply connected to your soul, your spirit, your essence. That's the real you. No two people will have the same covenant. The covenant I have with myself is very different from the one you'll have with yourself because each of has unique lessons to learn during our time here. Each of us has a divine assignment to carry out. Your assignment is your purpose. It's wrapped up in your covenant. By being the real you, you are honoring your agreement with yourself and with God. By being the real you, you will undoubtedly complete your divine assignment. And while your personal covenant may change focus, it's at the core of who you are. In other words, today's covenant may be to walk in greater integrity around money. Once you've mastered that covenant, your new covenant may be to stand taller in your personal values. So you see, the covenants are there to facilitate the unfolding of the real you! Go ahead, enter into a new covenant right now.
When I was growing up, I don't actually recall hearing the word 'integrity,' but as I got older I realized that the values that my mother instilled in her kids were all about integrity. She encouraged us to be truthful, and, yes, we were punished when she found out we hadn't been truthful. She talked to us about being 'our word'—doing what we said we were going to do, or at least letting those depending on us know that we weren't going to be able to come through. This is what I learned when she said, 'Be home by 7:00, or call if you're going to be late.' This was integrity.
I remember one evening I came bursting through our garage door, crying. 'What's wrong?' Mom asked. I could hardly get the words out. My mom, afraid for my safety, asked again, 'What's wrong?!'
Finally, I mustered up enough strength to tell her that the neighborhood bully had pushed me.
'Pushed you? Why?' she asked.
'Because she heard that I said something about her,' I said, out of breath.
'Well, did you? Did you say it?'
I nodded. 'Yes.'
'So what happened?'
'She asked me if I said it, and I said, 'yes.' That's when she pushed me.'
My mother, never one for long speeches or explanations, wiped my face and kissed me. 'Go on out and play.'
'But I'm scared.'
'Scared of what?'
'Scared of her!'
My mother looked deep inside my teary eyes. My heart was beating faster now at the thought of going back outside where 'the bully' surely awaited me. Mom took a deep breath and smiled. 'No, you're not. You're not afraid of her.'
'But, Mama . . . '
'You did the right thing. Now, if you said it, you have to stand by it. Now, you can go outside, or you can go to your room and read a book.' What an alternative—a book or a beat down!
I stood there for a moment, not sure if I'd just heard right. Did she really expect me to go back outside where potential danger lurked? Surely she hadn't heard a word I'd just said. Mom went back to cooking and singing as if I'd just told her that I'd made a new best friend. She never looked my way again. But just as I was about to walk out the door she stopped me. 'Don't ever say something about someone that you aren't willing to say to someone, okay?'
I wouldn't really understand the gravity of those words until I was a teenager. Mom was full of words of wisdom that I couldn't appreciate in the moment. My mind was on the bully in the middle of the street, who up to that point in time had not proven to be someone you could reason with. She was the one who called the shots in my neighborhood. I was the new kid on the block. All of the rules had been in place for years, and all of the other girls and boys seemed to be on board. If she said 'jump,' the kids on the block responded, 'Broad or long?' She was like Robert De Niro in Analyze This. She was the Godmother of Oak Cliff. Who did I think I was standing up to her? Apparently I didn't value my beautiful teeth very much. A million thoughts raced through my head as I peeped out the door, only to see her standing there waiting on me! After what seemed like an eternity (maybe ten minutes), I headed back outside. There she was, standing in the center of the street like she owned it. Like if cars drove by that they'd have to go around her. The funny thing is that she wasn't that tall. In fact, I was several inches taller than she, but somehow because of her confidence, she seemed to tower like a monument. So there we were. Face to face for what I was sure would be my last day on earth. All of the other kids were standing around in a semicircle the way kids do when there's an impending beat-down. 'Well . . . ' she said. 'Didja say it?'
I looked into the eyes of the girls and boys who seemed to be hanging on waiting for my answer. We all knew that this was a moment of truth for us all. My eyes turned back to the bully. I remembered what Mom had just said about owning up to your words. I took a deep breath and answered, 'Yeah.'
She pushed me again, and the last thing I remember is picking up one of the barrettes I'd had in my hair. It all happened so fast. Strangely, though, I remember feeling much better after the fight. The butterflies I'd felt just fifteen minutes earlier were gone, thanks, in part, to the punch in the stomach probably. But it was more than that. Of course, I didn't know it then, but I was reaping the rewards of standing up for myself. And a funny thing happened after that fight. The bully and I became the best of friends.
Years later I'd understand why this was such a great lesson in integrity. It had to do with being honest, being true to who I am. Being real. And although the short-term effects included a few scratches, it was well worth the lesson. I'd made a covenant with myself, and I didn't even realize it. Honesty was important to me even when it meant I might have to eat a knuckle sandwich.
Integrity is something we all have to come to on our own. On your journey to greater authenticity, you'll be faced with numerous situations that will challenge you to make a stand for integrity. Where do you stand today on the topic? Are you honest within yourself? Do you have a core set of values that you live by? Are you able to stand by those rules of integrity even when it's not popular or when it means that something potentially painful might happen as a result? Take a moment to establish or revisit your own personal covenants. They pave the way for a rich and real you.
The Real Mom
I remember the last time I saw my mother alive like it was an hour ago. The luggage guy tagged my bag at the American Airlines airport terminal at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. She'd just dropped me off for my trip as an exchange student to Mexico. I was sixteen years old. As I was completing the luggage identification tag, Mom drove back around. 'Everything okay?' I asked. 'Yep,' she answered. 'I missed my exit out of here. Love you.'
If I could have that moment back, I'd rush out to the car, hug and kiss her all over again, and tell her how much I appreciated her words of wisdom that seemed like meaningless 'mother talk' until I got old enough to understand. My mom enjoyed hugging and kissing as much as I pretended not to as a teenager. Who would have thought that would be my last time to kiss her? I watched our burgundy car disappear around the airport exit bend, and that was the last time I saw Mom alive. I know exactly what she was wearing that day. How she wore her hair. I can still hear her coughing as she drove toward the end of the tunnel. Mom always had a nagging cough—something about bronchial asthma. She had medicines for everything.
Two hours later, I boarded the plane, excited about what awaited me in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where I was to stay for a month through the Gifted Students Institute program. The night before I left, we'd had a meeting at the GSI office, and I vividly remember seeing my mother's face in the waiting room as the directors of GSI went over what the twenty-one American kids would be going through over the next four weeks. My little brother, Chris, ten years my junior, was doing what six-year-olds do—getting into everything in sight: reading magazines, zooming around with his toy car, jumping off chairs (he was in his Superman stage), and making crash sounds as if he were in a demolition derby. I admonished Mom to 'deal with him,' but she just sat there silently.
This was not the mother I'd grown up with. The mother I'd grown up with would have shot Chris 'the eye,' and he would have instantly taken a seat and never moved again. But on this night, she was different—calm, almost otherworldly peaceful.
After the meeting, we picked up dinner from Burger King and headed home because I still had to pack a few things. We talked about me being a senior in August when school would start, but mostly we just sat at the dinner table eating our burgers. 'You excited about your trip?' she asked me. I was sixteen years old. Sixteen-year-olds are cool, they're not excited. So I nodded yes and picked off the onion I'd told them not to put on my cheeseburger. She smiled at me, watched a few minutes of an episode of M*A*S*H, which was playing on the television in our den, and then gathered her food, planted a kiss on my forehead, and retired to her room. 'See ya in the morning.' The next time I saw her, we were loading the car for the airport.
The family I'd been assigned to in Mexico City was a couple with two small children. I had my own room, but that morning as I got ready for school, I noticed that they didn't have a phone. I said my good-byes and headed down the hallway to catch the school bus. When I got to school there was already a volleyball game in progress. Volleyball was one of my favorite sports. I quickly put my bags down and headed over to the court. The game was intense and fun, I noticed that the two directors were staring at me. I couldn't figure out why, so I continued to play. About five minutes later, they called me over to the sidelines. 'Your brother called. You need to go home. Your grandmother's sick.'
'We'll take you to the airport.'
All the way to the apartment, my heart raced. I wasn't buying the 'grandmother' story at all. And as I packed my bags, I wished I hadn't studied those Spanish tapes a month before leaving for the trip because what I heard as the Mexican mother and her daughter stood in the doorway of the guest bedroom nearly incapacitated me. The little girl asked her mother in Spanish why I was leaving. The mother answered—in Spanish—that my mother had died.
I was devastated. The night I'd gotten there, I'd had a dream. I don't know what the dream was about. I just remember waking up and running to my Mexican parents' bedroom door requesting to use the phone. 'I need to call my mother,' I told them. They answered, 'No hay telefono.' I had not noticed this primarily because it had been a long day and I was getting acclimated to my new surroundings. That night I'd cried myself to sleep, but I had no idea why—until I was packing my clothes that next day.
To say that July 7, the day my mother died, was a day that will live in infamy for me is putting it mildly. It was one of my defining moments. On many levels, it was one of the truly spiritual moments in my existence. From having the 'warning' that my mother was dying in the precise moment that I was trying to reach her to thinking back to her serene disposition the night before my trip, to being grateful that I had her for sixteen years. I'd gotten a glimpse of who I believe was the real Mom the year before she died. She and my father were headed toward splitsville, and for the first time in her life, Mom was more than someone's wife and mother. She put herself through school, earned her GED, graduated from cosmetology school, and opened her own beauty salon. For the first time in her life, she was doing what made her blissful. No more dependence on my dad. No more wondering what on earth she should be doing with her life. I'd seen her happy, but never that happy. And I'll never forget how the real Mom walked. How she talked. How she laughed. I'll have that with me forever.
The Real Guarantee
I believe that we were all born with everything we need to become more of who we already are. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of the power that lies within each of us. Sometimes we need a fellow warrior to look over and mouth 'you can do it,' or 'you're not alone.' Sometimes we just need to turn the volume down on all of the things that do not serve our highest good.
I wrote Will the Real You Please Stand Up? to help you peel back the layers and uncover the most authentic and real 'you.' The you that only a handful of people (if that) get to see. The you that maybe you haven't even seen yet. The you that you haven't seen since you were seven years old going to the neighborhood park every day in the summer. The you that used to laugh until your side hurt. The you who wasn't afraid to let someone see you cry. The you who forgave and made up at the drop of a pin because it was the right thing to do. Remember that person?
Most of us can barely catch a glimpse of our authentic selves anymore. It's been far too long since that person's been out to play. Most of us locked that person away many, many years ago in exchange for a faster, more shut-down version; a version that must win every argument, always have the upper hand, never admit our shortcomings, rarely show any signs of vulnerability, and never, ever, ever, ever admit that he or she is wrong. Seen that person lately?
Until you experience on a consistent basis the adrenaline from being totally authentic and transparent, you will never fully appreciate what it's been like to be 'someone else' all your life. Most of us go through our lives as impostors. We're faking it. We're background actors in our own movies. Wallpaper in our own homes. We go to the schools our parents want us to attend, accept the jobs that everybody 'craves,' live in the neighborhood everyone 'wishes' they could live in, vacation at the spots only the 'elite' populate, endure in relationships that neither honor nor empower us, and, yes, toil for years in a religion or church that does not nurture our growth. And we call that living.
I believe once we find our truest selves, then and only then can we live the passionate and purposeful lives we all desire and deserve. It's not until we are courageous enough to question what we've been taught to believe about everything—including God—that we can truly experience and know God, or our true selves.
Will the Real You Please Stand Up? was written for anyone interested in the marriage of spiritual enlightenment and uncommon success principles. For the next 200 or so pages, I'm going to challenge you to stretch yourself in every single area of your life—emotionally, physically, mentally, financially, and spiritually. You'll be charged with developing a deeper and wider spiritual walk regardless of your religious affiliations. Spiritual expansion isn't just for good Catholics, sanctified Christians, devout Sufis, or enlightened Buddhists. It's for anyone seeking a deeper and more enriching experience with their Divine connection.
Ask me what I believe, and I will answer, 'I believe in the oneness of God.' I believe God is infinite. I believe that there are many ways to experience the Oneness of God. To say that one path is the only path limits the infinity of God and Spirit. So you will hear me use several words interchangeably. If you find yourself stumbling over words like Divine, God, Spirit, Creator, and The One, I urge you to ask yourself: Why am I limiting God's reach? Why am I allowing my ego to put God in a box? Why am I so unwilling to allow other people to experience God or Spirit in a way that works for them? We have to let go of our need to control everything! When we master that skill, we will finally create a University of Love on earth.
This book will open a space in your life for you to experience new levels of connection to yourself, to your Source, and to the world. It's not an attempt to convert you to another 'religion.' Religion is something mankind created, which makes it subject to the limitations and biases of human thought and perception. Every book that was written as the basis for any religious doctrine or spiritual path was written by the human hand. That makes every single piece of spiritual or religious literature subject to interpretation. Never forget that. God exists outside of the human landscape, so there's no way to put a leash on God. There's no way to define what God or spirituality means for anyone but ourselves. Most of us seek something, some One greater than ourselves. Call it God, Allah, Yahweh, Buddha, the Divine, Spirit, the One, whatever you feel comfortable with, but it's all about a presence greater than our human existence. And guess what? It's not a presence that lives up there or out there. It's already within us.
Will the Real You Please Stand Up? wasn't written to provide a roadmap for you to become more devout, more self-righteous, or more 'insert your religious doctrine' here. It's not about perfection (which doesn't exist, by the way). It's about completeness. I wrote this book because like you, I am committed to a path to increase my awareness as a spiritual being. I want a life sprinkled with miracles and deep appreciation for my gifts, as well as those around me. I aspire to a greater understanding of God, greater compassion for my fellow warriors, and a greater acceptance of my divine assignment on earth. Those are not things that can be explained or comprehended by us humans. They require a voyage to the spirit world.
So this book is as much about me supporting you on your journey as it is about me continuing down the path of spiritual enlightenment, unfoldment, enrichment, and transformation myself. And I believe that through the principles and insights that I share, you, too, will experience your own unique spiritual awakenings—if you're open.
We are spiritual beings on a human expedition, not a body that occasionally has a spiritual experience. Everything emanates from energy and spirituality. That which is now physical originated in the spiritual realm. That's why in a book about 'the real you' there has to be a frank discussion about spirituality. To become real, we must acknowledge our spiritual existence and origins. We can't become our real selves without knowing that who we are is not who we look at in the mirror each morning. That's not all of us. That's the physical manifestation of who we are. As spiritual beings, we must know that there is always more 'than meets the eye.'
Will the Real You Please Stand Up? provides prescriptions for purposeful and passionate living that encourages you to incorporate more love, Spirit, and joy into your daily life. As you become more of who you are, as you step more enthusiastically into your divine assignment, I dare you not to experience new levels of delight, mastery, peace, harmony, and riches. I dare you! These things are mere byproducts of being the real you. They will overwhelm you on a momentary basis. That's the beauty of real living. So fasten your seat belts, we're about to take the first step toward becoming more of the real you and trust me, it's going to be one heck of a ride!
When You Were Real
I want you to take a trip to the past with me. Go ahead, close your eyes. Think back to a time when you didn't know what cyberspace was.
When typing classes were taken with actual typewriters.
When a MAC had something to do with a hamburger.
When the 'Net' referred to a sport of some kind.
When you were actually shocked when a kid killed anybody.
Go back even farther. Before Xbox and Sega.
When restaurants were a place where people ate, not talked on the phone.
I'm talking way, way back . . .
When the worst a neighborhood gang would do is maybe break a window and run.
When kids respected adults and each other. When a miniskirt was worn by adult women and not ten-year-old girls. Think back even farther. Before it was cool to wear your jeans so low that the world had to see your underwear. Before metal detectors were installed in schools.
When kids rarely feared for their lives when they went to class. You've gotta go back before MTV and reality TV.
Go back even farther. To summers playing 'Old Maid' cards or kickball or dodgeball. To Simon Says, Red Rover, or Freeze.
When you had to be home for dinner with your family. Think back to the excitement of the first day of school. Or the ultraexcitement of the last day of school.
Remember lemonade stands to raise money for your baseball uniform?
Bike races, school field trips to the zoo, running like the wind when you heard the ice cream truck getting closer to your neighborhood?
Remember when a penny actually bought you something?
When an eleven-year-old drug dealer was unimaginable and the thirty-year-old who got him into the business wouldn't have even considered him a viable 'employee'?
Remember those days?
What about when big decisions were made using the Rock-Scissors-Paper method.
Or the first snow or your best birthday party or opening a gift—only to get what you thought you weren't going to get.
Remember how nervous you were when you found out that the girl or boy in first period class thought you were cute?
Do you remember how adorable you looked when you lost your two front teeth? Probably not. But guess what?
You were real back then. And you're real now.
Let's go back to that time in our lives when we didn't know how to be anyone but ourselves.
If you would allow yourself to experience that level of openness,
your world will change right before your eyes.
So, how about it? Let's go back.
©2007. Fran Harris, Ph. D. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Will the REAL You Please Stand Up? 7 Spiritual Strategies to Help You Discover Your Purpose and Live It with Passion. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.