March 2nd, 2010 – Who Are You…and Why?

By asking this question, I don’t want your name or what you do for a living…I want to go deeper.

Here’s an exercise:

You are given $1 million dollars as a gift…but with the following stipulations:

1.  You may only keep $100,000 for yourself.  You must use part of that money for 2 trips.  One trip must be taken alone for 14 days.  The other trip must be taken with one other person, also for 14 days.

2.  You must give $100,000 to 4 people.  Three of those people must be relatives or friends.  The fourth person must be a complete stranger. 

2.  You must give the other half of the money to 5 different charities or non-profit organizations – a political cause, a religious or spiritual organization, a health agency, an ethnic organization and a social issues agency.  

So, where are you going for your trip alone?  Is it the beach so you can sunbathe?  Or a mountain cabin in the woods?  As for the second trip – who’s going with you – and where will you go on that trip?  In regards to the $4 mil – how do you choose the 4 lucky people – do your choose between your little brother or childhood buddy?  And what is your criteria for choosing a complete stranger?  Finally, who’s getting the other half of the money?  The GOP or the Dems?  Is your cause of choice involved in HIV or breast cancer awareness?  And now that you’ve made these choices, the next question is WHY?

There are a lot of considerations with this exercise and that’s why it’s important.  First, the trip alone either forces you into a comfort zone…or forces you out of one!  Some people are not comfortable enough with themselves to travel alone or they make time for themselves.  Second, the trip with someone else forces you to think about the one person important or special enough for you to travel with.  And hopefully you and your travel partner can agree on where to go and what to do on this trip.  Third, giving money to people or entities can be a blessing or a curse to the recipient.  You want to be careful with your choices and stand firmly on your convictions.

Finally, the exercise depends somewhat on self-knowledge and emphasizes its importance.  Self-knowledge is knowing your capabilities and your limitations.  It is knowing your strengths and weaknesses.  It is knowing what and who you stand for…and what would cause you to fall when tempted or overwhelmed.  It is knowing who is your reason for living or who you would give your life for.  It is knowing your motivation, your beliefs, your morals and your values.

For most of us, this revelation of self – knowledge comes from God or the Creator.  It comes from trial and error.  It comes through prayer and meditation.  It comes in moments of solitude, silence and stillness.  It comes during turmoil, trauma and pain.  It comes from childhood experiences, family relations and life-long friends.  It comes from… life. 

Quote for the day:

Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness.  Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.  Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength – Playwright August Wilson

Singer-songwriter India Arie’s song Strength, Courage and Wisdom speaks about the revelation of inner qualities.  Artist Steven Lopez has created a series of portraits featuring India and several other female artists.  In this video, India’s voice and Steven’s artistry are captured at the same time.  Enjoy it and spend some time today discovering your inner qualities. 

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