This is Wilson. He has lived on my street for 38 years. And I mean that literally…on my STREET. He’s usually sat on the sidewalk with a cup in his hand. There are others of course, but Wilson I came to know for a very specific reason. I sat down next to him yesterday to share this and more with him.
“I’d like to share something with you? Something about the impact you’ve had on me without us even knowing each other. Would that be OK with you?”
“Oh, sure, sure,” he said, sliding over and welcoming me to sit.
Wilson looked me dead in the eyes in a way I’ve never seen a person on the street do before. While I spoke, he continued to hold my eye contact. His gaze was calm, gentle and still. He didn’t even blink. He just watched me and he listened.
I explained to Wilson about how when I moved to Santa Monica a few years ago, I was struck by how one of the most affluent cities on the planet had so many people living on the street. I told him about how I’d volunteered at the local shelter to try to understand what was going on and to help and how I later discovered I’d actually been volunteering so that I could face stuff in myself that I was uncomfortable with.
I told him about how when I had walked by people on the street who were begging, I had not known what to say and how I’d gotten a subtle nervous feeling in my belly or a tightening in my chest. I told him how I’d hurry the pace of my walking or avoid eye contact.
I shared with Wilson that whenever I thought about that feeling, *his* face would always come to my mind.
“It was your eyes,” I told him. “Your eyes are magic.”
“Oh, thank you,” he said in a way you knew he’d heard it before.
I explained how he had come to represent all beggars for me; how whenever I considered the discomfort and uncertainty, I would think of him.
“It was your eyes,” I said. “They are so light and piercing and the way you look out at the word is so wide-eyed…your face is unforgettable.”
I shared how if his image had not been burned into my mind, that I would not have thought of the uncomfortable feeling very often. If it weren’t for him, I could have just carried on with my life, walking by beggars and moving past that subtle discomfort.
“I just couldn’t get you out of my head, Wilson. And for that I am very grateful.”
I continued then to tell him what I learned and how last year I had actually created complete freedom from those feelings, freedom from walking hurriedly, freedom from avoiding eye contact, freedom from not knowing what to do, freedom from judging beggars and freedom from judging myself. I shared with him, too, how I had come now to see people in his position not only as innocent, but incredibly inspiring and possessing of a courage that is rare in this world.
Tomorrow I will share with you what I shared with Wilson; the lesson I learned that has liberated my ability to ask.
It will be the first of four principles I share in this series ‘The Power of Asking’.
Each of the principles in this series can be life-changing for you – IF you apply them. I challenge you to read each article with deep presence and to commit to using the principle in your life THAT DAY.
If you do this, I promise you will liberate a massive amount of your capacity to create. You will produce outcomes that currently feel very far away or even impossible.
See you tomorrow.