Now that The Gift: Sharing Your Life Lessons with the People You Love Most is out in the world, I’ve been thinking of the best way to help people take full advantage of everything the book offers. With this in mind, over the next few weeks I will be sharing some of my own answers to the questions and exercises as a way to illustrate and hopefully inspire readers into diving in (or picking up where you left off). First off, the questions look pretty simple on the surface–trust me, they only look innocent. I am always amazed at the places these questions take me, even when I respond to a question or exercise that I have already written about; it seems there’s always another layer. And to paraphrase the great philosopher Shrek, “Ogres are like onions. . .they have many layers.”
So do humans. And so does The Gift.
I think the first thing to recognize is that there can be many different interpretations or approaches to nearly all of the exercises in The Gift. What I will be sharing here is just one way, and hopefully, not just my way. I encourage (in fact, say PRETTY PLEASE to) feedback, differing opinions and approaches, and just sharing in any way (respectfully) to help broaden the perspective of anyone working with The Gift. By sharing an entirely different viewpoint or approach, you may open up possibilities that others (including me) may not have discovered yet.
For ease of reference, I’ll begin at the beginning (woo-hoo!) and then work through the book in the order the exercises appear, but feel free to dive in at any point with questions, your own story or reflections, or comments on my reflections on any part of the book.
To be honest, I really thought I didn’t need to write down my Intentions before starting. I figured, heck, my intentions are pretty straightforward, I mean, I’m writing a book about this stuff. Well, it wasn’t quite that simple when I got down to it. I realized when I started answering some of my own questions that there was a lot more meat to them than it seemed (yeah, we could get into some heavy stuff here about how I channelled a lot of this stuff, so I failed to realize just how deep some of the questions are but we’ll save that discussion for another day.)
I’m going to skip over my answers to the first few questions from INTENTIONS (starting at page 2 of the Workbook) and share what I wrote about Core Values and Beliefs. I chose this one to write about at the outset because it SO surprised me. It unexpectedly opened a door for further enquiry into my own personal beliefs and motivations. (I will be coming back to all the questions repeatedly, so there will be a bit of movement back and forth.)
First of all, if you uncover something you didn’t KNOW you thought, congratulations! The Gift is as much about self-discovery and life review as it is about sharing your life with others. So what did I uncover? This: I harbour a hidden and deep admiration for…wait for it…insecurity! I was so surprised to discover that I actually view insecurity as a form of humility. Where did that come from?
When I wrote about my core values and beliefs it came across sounding like I was “bigging myself up,” something I really can’t stand when I see it in myself (or, if we’re being honest, anybody else). My responses showed I have a pretty high opinion of myself and believe it or not, that surprised me! Remember, initially I answered the question with no intention of actually sharing my answers; it was just a test drive for the book. I was just following instructions like every other reader would, so that I could see what (about the book) worked and what didn’t flow or make sense. And wham! There it was.
According to my answers, I seem to think that I’m purposeful, determined, tenacious (in a good and a bad way), and that I have an unshakeable belief in the fact that my life has purpose and even more—that I have a specific purpose to fulfill in this life. Pretty heady stuff, eh? Think a lot of yourself, do ya? So what happens to folks who big themselves up? They get brought DOWN, man. Like, totally. “Who do you think you are?” “Let’s show this guy a bit of humility.” Wham! Slam! Pow! Holy ego, Batman! Where did that come from?!So…do I mistake insecurity for humility? If I expressed core values and beliefs that sounded a little less hi-falutin, a little less idealistic, a little less like I thought I was getting somewhere, achieving something special, living the dream just a little bit–would that make me sound more humble? Would it mean I actually own the admirable quality called humility? Do I admire that kind of humility? Is that humility at all or an imposter wearing humility’s plain old clothes?
OK, my answers to that question will be shared another day, but PLEASE feel free to jump in, tell me what you think, or share your own Core Values and Beliefs and any surprises you uncovered. Please use this blog to interact, share your stories and get the boost you need to get on (or back on) track with your legacy statement project. I will (attempt to…remember, I’m still officially a technotard) cross-post these on the FB page for The Gift and I’ll (try to!) copy any comments so that we can get a good exchange of ideas happening. OK, team, let’s go!
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