from "Leave Your Baggage
At The Door"
There is a story often used by motivational speakers, about
a farmer who found a dying baby eagle. The farmer nursed the eagle back to health, then
put it into his chicken coop. A year later, a friend from the next county was visiting,
saw the unusual bird running around in the yard with the chickens and asked, "Isn't
that an eagle?" The farmer slowly responded, "Ye-ep!" When asked why the
eagle didn't fly away, the farmer responded, "Reckon he don't know he can."
Because life skills that work were not modeled for most of
us and because the accessible information was not taught in a way that it can be applied
to one's life, many of us are walking when we can fly.
During my fifty-plus years of life, I have seen that people
who have good self-esteem tend to "fly" higher (live more abundantly) than those
who have low self-esteem. I believe that the bottom line for every single choice each
person makes is his or her self-esteem. Self-esteem is a feeling you have about yourself.
When you trust yourself you make sounder decisions than you do when you are living in fear
and insecurity. People with self-trust embrace life and its people.
You will play any game better if your understand how to play
it. Increasing one's awareness is the first step towards greater self-esteem. Lack of
awareness is the same as no choice. To enhance one's self-esteem is to break lose from the
bonds of past choices, to forgive thus release those who didn't give you all the love you
needed, and to become more self-reliant. The intent of this book is to enhance your
self-esteem by giving you some insight into how dysfunctional patterns of behavior are
adopted and how to free yourself from them. When I use the word "dysfunctional"
it means that something is not operating at its highest possible potential.
It was at my thirty year reunion from the University of
Redlands that a group of us were laughing about the crazy things we had done since
graduation. Someone repeated an old clich, "I wonder how different these years
would have been had we known then what we know now?"
For some people an intriguing question is something to muse
over, play with and to set free. It is irrelevant to them whether the question is ever
answered. Maybe it's the writer in me, but such a question becomes a mosquito in the
night, buzzing in my mind, keeping me from sleep. Eventually the question takes over my
entire life, and its answer must be committed to paper.
I love writing and I hate writing. Actually, it is the
re-writing that I detest. This small, seemingly simple book lived through six
It was transformed from a book filled with quotes and facts to an in-depth sharing using
my own life a the model for change. I was raised in a time when parents "just
parented," with little or no understanding that they were also shaping the emotional
stability of another human being. I had adopted many of the dysfunctional patterns that
were modeled for me.
Having made a spiritual commitment to do everything I could
to be as close to God as possible, I needed to change some of my beliefs. I began a long,
sometimes painful process of unraveling some of my belief systems and reconstructing them.
Many wonderful teachers came into my life, helping me to make the necessary changes
towards reaching my goal of wholeness.
For many years, I have written in a journal every night as a
way of sorting out my true feelings. Prior to writing this book, I sat down and read
through all of my journals. I viewed my past through different eyes. I saw patterns of
behavior that didn't work. Sometimes I wept for days, purging old hurts. Sometimes, I
became angry and despondent. Sometimes, I relocated the peaceful pond inside that can
never be disturbed.
Eventually, I sat with my mother, sharing the fourth edition
of Leave Your Baggage At the Door. We talked, cried and made our peace. I forgave myself
for not being perfect and I forgave her for not being perfect, either. I embraced her in a
space void of resentment. It is incomprehensibly joyful to make peace with a parent who
has engaged in emotional battle with you all your life. I'm still reveling in the reality
that such a bridge has been built between the two of us.
What I came to terms with is that each person is always
doing their best. Given the amount (or lack of ) emotional support a person has, how much
information he or she has access to, and how much failure and success this person has
known, each person is doing the best job that can be done at every moment.
You teach most by what you model. Therefore, you learned
most of your "life skills" from what was modeled for you. Generation after
generation passes down its belief system. The good news is, that we now have enough
information to break the dysfunctional patterns. It is essential that current generations
take the best from their lineage, forgive the least that was given, and make changes to
improve on the past.
Everyone wants the world to be a better place. Each person
would like to be a part of making the world a better place. Building bridges of love
between the generations will substantially decrease the amount of anger in the world.
Bridges of love will heal old wounds. New generations, building from the "good"
that was passed down to us, will create the necessary change.
Information which is clearly communicated and applicable to
daily life breeds new choices. New choices allow change. The information in this book is
not new, but how it is presented may be new to you. This small but potent book invites you
to take a stand in being all that you can be. It challenges you to take on your own fears
and to set yourself free from them. It asks you to do more than want the world to be a
better place; it asks you to be a part of making it a better place.
This book is about releasing old perspectives and attitudes.
My objective is to share specific things I learned that changed the way I lived my life. I
learned many of these things the hard way. Maybe sharing them will save you some of the
self-inflicted pain I brought into my daily life. At best it is a sharing about what
worked for me. Treat it as a smorgasbord; take what is right for you and pass by the rest
I do not think we were meant to live the way we are living
now. We are all brothers and sisters, given an incredible planet on which to live. It is
our responsibility to care for our planet and for each other. I am certain there is a
heaven in what lies after life, and I am interested in being a part of each of us creating
heaven on earth. It is possible! It is to that belief I have dedicated innumerable hours
and emotions to the creation of this book. What you find useful and how it assists you
with your life is your journey.