Chapter 2 Lessons Learned:
Discovering Peace

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Another thing I have found to be true, is that as I continue on my life’s journey, it is a constant evolution. Who I am and who I will become is evolving daily. What I believe one day may not be the same thing I believe the next. I have also learned that this is probably one of the hardest things to accept sometimes. Especially when some of those beliefs are what creates my identity, or who I feel I am at my core. But what I have learned as I have embarked on this journey of personal development and Spiritual enlightenment is that I am recreating myself continually. Sometimes that is not the easiest thing to do. As life progresses and I try to stay in the same “headspace” as I was in before, life can become quite challenging.

I recently had some situations unfold that had me feeling like I was in the biggest fight of my life, and I was going down. It was a time that no matter where I turned, there was another obstacle.

I had the opportunity to speak with a couple of close friends during this time, and what I continue to learn is true for me, is that the universe always puts people and situations in my life that I need at the very moment I need them.

One of my best friends was going through situations and emotions that seemed to be completely parallel with mine. We discussed how we were feeling in the sense that we were both putting forth great effort to do “the right thing”. We were doing everything we could to be our best, using every skill we had at our disposal to get through the challenges, and every time we felt we had a solution, something outside of our control would come up and destroy what we were working on. And these were not small issues; these were the kinds of things that have you re-evaluating who you are to your core. After these situations occurred again and again and again, knowing what I know about the unconscious mind, I started recognizing that I was starting to reinforce limiting beliefs about myself and the universe overall through situations I had no control over.

I can only describe the feelings I was having as total hopelessness. That sense of, there is no way out of here. The world I was living in felt like it was closing in, and I was ready to crumble. Thoughts of suicide crossed my mind daily for a couple of weeks. I waited for the nervous breakdown to come. I would think to myself, “Here I am, a motivational speaker, success coach, mentor of leaders and my life was falling apart!” I not only doubted myself, but I doubted everything I believed in. My Spiritual beliefs were in question, I doubted my friendships. There was anger, confusion and despair. How could I, with all the knowledge, skills and resources I have, how could I be failing so miserably to pull myself out of this space?

In my conversations with my dear friends, I was reminded to go back to my basics. The core of where my personal development all began. For me, that started with a prayer I learned years ago, called “The Serenity Prayer”. A very short and simple prayer, but whose words are so powerful applying them can change your life. These were the words that kept me sober for the earliest years of my recovery.

God, grant me the Serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.

How simple a statement and at the same time how profound. And no matter what your spiritual or religious beliefs, words that are so true.

If you have a challenge with the word God, just look at the power of the statement alone. Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Let’s face it. Life is not always going to go exactly the way we would like it to. Sometimes, it’s going to have a complete mind of its own, and will literally kick us into a new direction. But when I peacefully accept the things I cannot change, I cease fighting them and it opens up the opportunity to look for new ways of dealing with it.

And the next line, “The Courage to change the things I can”. It is my belief, that in reality, there is a very clear line which divides what I can and cannot change, and if it is something that is not outside of my control, I need to ask for the courage to take action and make the changes that I “have” the power to change.

And the most important line for me is, “The Wisdom to know the difference”. Many times, I have fought and kicked for things to go my way. I wanted it to work a specific way because that is how I believed it should happen. Yet, life continued to point me in a new direction, sometimes, not so gently. And I would fight it, because in my mind what I wanted was the way the world was supposed to be and I was going to make it happen no matter what! Then utilizing the Wisdom that is mentioned, I slowly came to realize that sometimes the only thing that I CAN change, is myself and my reactions to the situation, or even more my beliefs.

I write about this as I stand on the brink of making some major changes myself. I can’t say at this moment I know where they will lead. But I do know, that today, for the first time in a long time, I felt peace. It was a calmness I haven’t felt for a while. This is a kind of peace that many people never stop to enjoy, but when you do it is so profound. I remember first feeling this level of peace in September of 1989 when I had what I refer to as my “Spiritual Awakening”. It was an amazing experience.

I had just entered rehab and we had a specific time each day set aside for meditation. We actually did this 3 times a day. The group would go into the community area, the lights would be turned off and a meditation tape would be played. It was about my 2nd or 3rd week, and we were listening to a tape of Pianist George Winston. I can remember it all so vividly; I was sitting on the couch with my eyes closed and finally learning to relax. I was really new to the concept of meditation, and didn’t understand what it was all about. I felt myself sort of drifting off, almost like I was going into a daydream, then it began. There was a sea of electric blue all around me, and directly in front of me I could see a large sphere, it looked almost like it was a crystal ball. The sphere had no color, just the same tint of electric blue.

Then slowly from above my field of vision, a hand reached down and touched the sphere. The instant the hand connected with the sphere, I felt a peace like I had never known before. At that same moment, there was this sense, almost like an inner voice that said, “no matter what happens, everything will be all right.”

I remember coming out of that meditation, and kneeling down to pray. It was unique for me, because at that time, I was still defining who and what God was to me. But I prayed to whatever creative Spirit that there was, thanking it for that sense of peace. Because it truly was like nothing I had ever felt before. It was a feeling of warmth, comfort, and security. I had lived for so long as a twisted mess. It was like I was a spring that was wound so tightly that if released, I would destroy everything around me. And in that moment, I felt it all go away.

In the middle of all the chaos I revisited that peace today. As I said I don’t know where the Universe will take me, or where this new journey will lead. Right now I don’t even know what my new decisions will be, and that’s ok. I will find my way. I do know this. At my core there is music. Beautiful music. At my core, there is also a huge caring heart. And also at my core, there is a wealth of knowledge gained from life’s experiences that I am able to share. So I will walk this road to where it will ultimately lead. And God willing I will remember to enjoy the journey along the way.

That’s the amazing thing about life; each step you take can lead you to a totally new place. Each day is a new day, and each moment a new opportunity to recreate yourself into who you choose to be. So much of what I have seen in my coaching experience, and in just day-to-day conversations with friends is that people seem to be stuck in one of two places. Locked into the past, reliving past conversations, past tragedies, or past victories and trying to look at them as a way to live in the now. Or, they are locked in a dream world of tomorrow. Avoiding what is going on in the moment, saying “If only” and “When such and such happens I can finally” and they miss the beauty of the moment of today.

It’s the same with this book. I don’t know what is going to happen from one session to the next. I started off with an outline of what I wanted to discuss, and where I wanted it to go; yet as it develops, I am growing in who I am. Situations are unfolding day by day, and I have to look at who those situations are helping me to become. I know that I have talked before about my beliefs on change work based on looking to the future vs. the past. I don’t want to cover that ground again here. Instead, in the next chapters, I want to explore an art form. The art form I like to call “the ability to live in the now.” 

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The Warrior Sage Part 2: Lessons Learned Chapter/Section

Lessons Learned Through Sacred Scars
Chapter 1: Understanding The Power Of The Sub-Conscious Mind
Chapter 2: Discovering Peace
Chapter 3: Living In The Now
Chapter 4: The Gift Is In The Present Moment
Chapter 5: It's About Choices
Chapter 6: Understanding Change
Chapter 7: The Power Of Modeling
Chapter 8: Being Human - What Does It Mean?
Chapter 9: The Cost Of Living A Dual Life

The Warrior Sage: Sacred Scars Chapter/Section

Who Is Willard Barth?
Author's Notes
Preface - Exploring Strength And Weakness
Chapter 1:1 - The Process Of Self-Awareness
Chapter 1:2 The Stages Of Child Development
Chapter 2:1 The World Changed Forever
Chapter 2:2 The Vicious Cycle Begins
Chapter 2:3 Losing Faith
Chapter 2:4 My Dark Secret
Chapter 2:5 Where Is The Love I Was Promised?
Chapter 3:2 The Road To Alcohol Dependence
Chapter 3:3 Leaving My Childhood Behind
Chapter 3:4 Escaping Responsibility; The Joy Ride Ends
Chapter 3:5 Living A Duality Begins
Chapter 3:6 Out Of Control
Chapter 3:7 Crossing The Line To Insanity
Chapter 3:8 The Black-out Drinking Begins
Chapter 3:9 Facing The Music
Chapter 3:10 A New Beginning
Chapter 3:11 More Lessons To Learn
Chapter 4:1 The Final Party
Chapter 4:2 A Moment Of Clarity
Chapter 4:3 My New Life Begins
Chapter 4:4 Sober, Time To Face The World
Chapter 4:5 The First Year Of Sobriety 
Chapter 4:6 Major Change Comes In Year Two
Chapter 4:7 My Daughter Is Born April 20, 1992
Chapter 5:1 Life Changing Decisions Follow My Daughter's Birth
Chapter 5:2 Recognizing The Voice Inside
Chapter 5:3 The Empress Hotel
Chapter 5:4 A New Chapter In My Life Begins
Chapter 6:1 Finding My Way Home
Chapter 6:2 Falling Into Place
Chapter 6:3 A New Awareness
Chapter 6:4 Personal Finances and Personal Development
Chapter 6:5 The George Washington Story
Chapter 6:6 Letting Go So Others Can Grow
Chapter 6:7 The Wrap Up 

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