As Random Acts of Kindness week concludes, I want to finish the week with a post about some of the people who have most impacted my life. I’ve shared already about my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Cathy, about Anthony William whose teachings radically shifted my health and about Byron Katie whose practice of self inquiry known as The Work freed my mind from the chaos of my thoughts and beliefs.
I could go on for another week, thanking people who have walked alongside, for a short time or a long time, or who currently journey with me. I decided to do a combined post instead, and briefly touch on several.
There is a quote that says small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can change the world. The same is true for individuals. Small acts, multiplied by a dozen people, twenty people, a hundred people, can impact and transform a life. The RAK Foundation based their theme this year on the question, Who is your one? Who, they asked, influenced your life? It starts with one.
I’ve had more than one influencer.
These four have several things in common. They are all authors, speakers, and teachers. And, they have all been game changers in my life.
I heard John Eldredge speak at a book seller’s convention in Colorado Springs in 1997. He stood on a stage, in a room of 350 people, dressed casually in jeans and a light blue denim shirt, and spoke about a relationship with God as a Sacred Romance. John used movie clips to illustrate his points. I literally sat on the edge of my seat, transfixed by his words. Here was someone who understood the power of film, partly because he had an acting background, and he understood that God could speak to us through those movies. John gave me permission that day to embrace the kind of relationship I had with God…a very personal one that began in my childhood, and included an ongoing, daily conversation. John and I became friends that week, while I was in Colorado, and I have been greatly impacted by his books and teachings.
I recently became acquainted with Glennon Doyle, after Elizabeth Gilbert mentioned her in a Facebook post. Glennon has a blog called Momastery and has authored two books thus far. Her gut wrenchingly honest, authentic and humorous writing helped me to work deeper into my own authenticity. She continues to be an influencer in my life.
Dear Elizabeth Gilbert first came into my awareness through the movie Eat Pray Love, based on her book by the same title. Reading about Liz’s year long journey to discover who she was gave me permission to undertake a similar journey of self discovery. As my fears disappeared and my long pent up creativities emerged, Liz published a book, Big Magic, that inspired me in the pursuit of expressing my artistic side. I heard her speak in a Wichita a couple of years ago, which furthered my creative journey.
And Michael A. Singer freed my heart and soul.Greg introduced me to Michael’s book, The Untethered Soul. In it he writes about energy, and how we protect ourselves from hurt by barricading our hearts. When we don’t allow experiences to pass on through us, and trap the emotions instead behind those walls we erect, the energy can’t move as it was intended to. Similar circumstances can then trigger that old wound, and we experience pain again, and suffering. Michael helped me to release old, pent up energy and truly experience great freedom and lightness of being.
I know there are other authors and teachers who have shaped my journey. These four, however, have had tremendous life changing impacts.
Friends have shaped my life as well. My best friend Laurie showed me that women don’t have to compete, but can encourage and support each other. Her untimely death at age 36, in 1990, had as great an impact on me as her life did, and took me years to work through. My friend Andy’s suicide solidified my desire to banish fear from my life, after witnessing how his past crippled his present reality and ultimately snuffed out his life. Mark, whom I’ve known for 11 years but met for the first time in 2014, challenged me 10 years ago to “step up and occupy the Mithril shaped space you are meant to occupy.” Mithril is my soul name, and I accepted that challenge. Garen has walked beside me for 9 years, as one of my closest friends, acting often as a sounding board for my creative ideas. He has been there through some of my darkest moments as well. Cate and Marva and Georgia have been women who make a difference in the lives of others, and have certainly touched my life as well. LuAnn inspired my blog, through the example of her life, giving me a purpose to connect to my writing.
All of these people are connected, in intriguing ways. All have helped to weave the tapestry that is my life and without each one, my life today would look very different. Thinking about the impact people have had on my life creates in me a deep sense of wonder and gratitude. It creates as well the desire to offer into the lives of others, and to do so by being my authentic self, by being me.
I am so grateful for all who have been an influencer in my life. I am grateful for my family…parents, siblings and their families…and Greg, my children and grandchildren. Each has offered into my life. Each has shared my journey and altered my path.
May I walk alongside others with an awareness that life is precious and beautiful and fragile and messy and glorious. And may I offer richly into their lives. My daughter Elissa sent me the following meme last week, sharing that it made her think of me. I am honored that she sees me in this way. May it be so! May I be a game changer in another’s life.
You can learn more about the four authors by clicking on their names below: