It's All Good: The Encounter at 7-Eleven (part 2)


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

(for part one, click here)

As our conversation continued, he reflected on the events that are part of his life's tapestry.  He was not sad, nor did he appear bitter.  He said, "I know that I had to go through all that to get where I am now".  "I see all these kids trying to become big time dealers, but none of them have the guts to do what it will take to get there," he mused.  According to him,  'it's all good'.  He believes that his experiences--the poor decisions and adversity--have taught him humility and to focus on what is most important, the next chapter in his life's story. 

I asked if he knew what this next chapter is going to be.  He responded definitively, "YES"!  Through his church, he hosts 'Brother-to-Brother' conversations with young black men, who are at risk or seeking direction in their life. Through his testimony, he shares the reality of what life on the streets and in prison was like with these young men. They dialogue about the challenges they face daily, and develop action plans to stay out of danger.  I was VERY impressed.  He learned to develop strategies for sustainable change not in a classroom, but on the streets 'managing drug runners'. (Here I am spending thousands of dollars to receive a Master's degree in Organization Development (OD)).  He is using knowledge and lessons learned from the streets to help others.  He has reached the 'Freedom to Live' stage of the heroic monomyth (also known as the Hero's Journey).

Joseph Campbell's monomyth or the Hero's Journey from his book- The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Him?  A hero?  Yes, we are all heroes.

According to Joseph Campbell's theory of myth cycles, a hero answers a call and takes a journey from the known to an unknown world.  Along the way, the hero faces tasks and trials that (s)he must face, either alone or with helpers, tools, maps, mentors, and enemies. The hero will face a severe challenge, a place (s)he must go because that is where the lesson is--the whole point of the quest.  If the hero survives, the hero may achieve a great gift (the goal or "boon"), which often results in the discovery of important self-awareness.  The hero then decides whether to return (the return to the ordinary world) with this boon, often facing challenges on the return journey.  If the hero is successful in returning, the boon or gift may be used to improve the world (the application of the boon).

If you're having a hard time with how the journey happens, think Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Star Wars, The Matrix, Celie from Color Purple, Frodo Baggins, Harry Potter, Jesus Christ, and yes, your own life story.  We've all had that hero's call to something that could possibly transform our lives.  Those of us brave enough to answer the call, withstand the trials, and survive the challenge to receive the gift, also have a responsibility.  We have to share what we have learned with others.  We must do so with no regrets of the past and freedom from the bonds of space and time.  We live in the present and make it count!

That's what this encounter at 7-Eleven was about.  It was a reminder that I am on my own hero's journey.  I have the opportunity to share what I have learned with others through this blog, thereby making my world a better place. There is more to come, so stay tuned.  What about you? What journey are you on?  Is there a journey you need to embark on, yet you resist or ignore it?   Are you ready to answer the call? 

A word of advice:  Answering the call has a price and it will cost you; however, it has the power to transform you into the person you are meant to be! 

PS: I was so wrapped up in my exchange with the gentleman at 7-Eleven, I forgot to ask his name. Oh well, it's all good!!

It's All Good: The Encounter at 7-Eleven (part 1)


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Jim Rohn image courtesy of 74 Lime Lane
This is my first post that will address the issue of faith and spirituality.  I am a Christian, but this post is not about religion, but something deeper.  It is about those unplanned moments we encounter, that have the potential to affirm or make you think twice about what you are doing with your life, and what you believe.  I had such an experience on Friday night.

I am a big believer in nothing happens by mistake.  There are no coincidences.  Everything that happens has a meaning and a purpose.  You might say that my INFP personality is driven by my desire to find meaning in everything, but I might see things differently.  To really honor the lesson and awareness I have gained from this "Encounter", this post will be in two or three parts.  I hope that by sharing this story, you become awakened to those encounters that can lead to great self-awareness of the biggest lesson of all--  You were born for a reason and you matter!

The Encounter...

After an evening of celebration with friends, I was homeward bound and thirsty.  I decided to stop at a 7-Eleven to get some ginger ale and what happened next, as I paid for my drink, was quite unexpected.  My companion had struck a conversation with the employee cashier, which peaked my interest.  The gentleman told us about how he ended up working at 7-Eleven for $500 a week, when he used to take home $5000 a week... as a drug dealer.

It turns out that he used to be a big time drug dealer in the area, who ended up doing six years for his crime.  Upon his release, he got a management job at a construction company, where he earned $1200 a week (I am in the wrong field).  Well, that didn't last long.  As he described it, "I still lived by street codes and the rules in corporate are very different.  I didn't know that."  He witnessed one of the laborers he managed, verbally harass a girl.  After several warnings and no change, he decided to "teach him that you do not speak that way to someone's daughter. " (I'll leave that statement to your imagination).  His misguided act of chivalry cost him his job, hence he now works the late shift at 7-Eleven.

During this encounter, I was struck by how humbled he appeared.  He seemed at peace with how his life has turned out. Something inside me was stirred, because I recognized that peace.  He quietly, yet joyfully began to tell us that he knows it is all part of God's plan.  I knew what he meant.  I have had those why-do-these-things-keep-happening-to-me experiences that no one can explain.  No, I haven't dealt in drugs, nor have I been to jail but in many ways, I been in a different sort of prison.  Just like the man that stood before us with a  peaceful presence and smile on his face, I have learned that being knocked off your plan or being humbled by your life's events, is always for a reason... (click here for part 2)! All rights reserved © Blog Milk - Powered by Blogger