People As Messengers
To illustrate my point I'll share a story from my own experience with you that really sheds light on this phenomena. As a young man, I was extremely co-dependent. Much of my adolescence and young adulthood was spent struggling with a deep seated desire to meet the woman of my dreams and to settle down to have a family. During the course of my 20's I had a repeating sequence of events that happened 6 different times.
• I would strike out to build a life for myself.
• I'd get a girlfriend.
• I'd have a job.
• I'd buy a car.
Then as my life began to resemble the dream I held so dear, within 2 weeks I would lose my girlfriend, my job and my car.
This happened over and over and each time my despair and frustration grew. I wondered why this was happening. I felt cursed.
This was a repeating cycle and it was happening to teach me a lesson. The 5th time this happened, I couldn't help but notice that the message was getting clearer. My name is, of course, Bill White. I met a girl and fell in love. Her last name was Black. So here I was in a relationship that would spell out the problem in Black and White! The relationship ended abruptly just like all the others had, but this time, I had a series of events that brought more clarity to the situation. I discovered pretty quickly that Miss Black was being unfaithful. When I called her out on her deception she denied it, and I got very angry. (Enough so that I slammed my foot into the floor and broke it!) She moved out just before Christmas that year, and on Christmas morning I had a very vivid and intense dream.
In the dream I was in an old house (a house typically represents you in dreams) and the floor was covered by a plastic tarp with layers of dust on it. I knew from this that the foundation of the problem was under the surface and hidden. The dream elaborated quite a bit more and I won't share with you all of the details, however, after this dream I felt a catharsis of sorts. It was shortly after this that I visited a psychiatrist and told her about my experiences. She told me about something called 'Gain syndrome.' I found out from her that the source of my problem came from the fact that I wasn't making my partners earn my love and so they didn't value it. Once I had this piece of my puzzle, I acted on it and my relationships changed from that point forward. It wasn't much longer before I met the woman who became my wife. Had I not gone through these earlier relationships I would not have been prepared emotionally for the commitment that I ultimately made.
We are often presented with challenges in our relationships, and each time we seemingly 'fail' we carry with us a greater wisdom that we hopefully will apply to all of the relationships that come after.
But these messages don't just come across in our romantic relationships. How much influence did that special teacher have on your future? How much did one statement your neighbor or first boss made alter the course of your destiny? Sometimes we find ourselves being in a position we can't get out of with a person we don't like or that we distrust. I've found that these people are often our greatest teachers. Often a total stranger can say just one thing in idle conversation that inspires you to take a look at life a little bit differently. Over time these micro- adjustments in your beliefs or thinking can steer you light years past the patterns you followed up until your paths crossed.
Another significant person who made a profound impact on me, was a dear friend of mine, Rick Ragusa. Rick and I met in art school and the moment our eyes met, I had a deep seated feeling that we would become friends. There is a certain look you catch when two people are destined to meet, it's a sort of inner knowing and immediate recognition as if there were something strangely familiar.
Rick and I spent quite a bit of time hanging out with one another, and his influence on my artistic skill is unquestionable. Despite his influence on art, what would seem to be the reason we met, the bigger message that Rick brought me was that I needed to move out of my hometown. He repeated this message many times during the course of our friendship. Other events conspired later on to support his suggestion.
When I finally did move, my life at last began to bear fruit. Rick laid the groundwork for the most significant life change I had. I've not seen him in years, but I'll never forget him.
To begin applying this philosophy to your life, that people are indeed messengers, take a few minutes to write an inventory of the people in your own life. Deal with those closest to you initially, however, you can often discover at least one or two people who have crossed your path just briefly and had a tremendous impact.
Who you've loved. - What they taught you.
Who you've befriended. - What they taught you.
Who you've struggled with. - What they taught you.
Who you've read. - What they taught you.
The miracle in realizing that people are messengers is that we not only find out a deeper sense of importance in the people who've made an impact on our own lives, but that we are also an impact on the lives of other people.