"Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing." - Albert Schweitzer
We have a lot of things competing for our attention these days. Varied media and social media offer an abundance of advice, products to buy, news and more. It seems more and more challenging to be quiet and allow my inner knowing to rise and trump all the noise. And yet when I take a closer at my life, what has influenced me most are people, both historical figures and those whose paths I’ve been blessed to cross in this life, who did just that. They have been and continue to be my true influencers, my personal heroes if you will.
When I line them up and look at each, I easily see a common thread. They did not follow the pack. Each in their own way lived life on their terms. Ultimately they didn’t choose a path that the world suggested was what they should do, what you might call a traditional path. Not that they made this discovery early in life. Most, like me, made choices early that I suspect were in line with what the world (family, society, etc.) expected.
Then, something happened – an event, a person, or perhaps something they read. That something provided one of life’s choice points: stay the course even though it didn’t feel right (but provided so called ‘security’) or engage on a path more true to your unique design.
Overall, the course my influencers followed was their own. They had the courage to put aside any care about what other people thought about their choices. My grandmother, Gran, comes to mind. She ripped out a wall in her home when a contractor told her it couldn’t be safely done. That created a wonderful pantry for her and one of my favorite childhood places to play. Located under a stairwell, it was just my size. Marge, my mother, was another.
She left a job that was her sole source of income when the company took an action that cut deeply into the retirement fund of its employees. That act of courage and principle planted a seed in me, the seed of knowing that I am always at choice. (And, yes, I have left behind ‘good’ jobs when I woke up to the realization that I was only there for the money.)
Going beyond family to those whose paths have crossed mine, my college dorm mother, Vivan Taylor, after raising her family, set out on her own path, her first stop being the dorm where I lived. She introduced me to ideas about the power of the mind. Gregge Tiffen, who I quote often here, was in the US Army until an experience in life led him to Tibet to pursue training in mysticism.
I’ve only just begun to introduce you to this parade of amazing people who lived life on their terms and, who in so doing, contributed to mine. You’ll likely meet others as I continue these weekly explorations.
Meanwhile, who are your influencers and what common thread connects them?