Story #6: Better Let Your Teenager Know All About Everyone’s CEO “I” and Beliefs “me”

Greg’s Dad pointed to water coming out of the rocks. We’d been travelling a winding road up the mountains beside the Sacramento River for the last hour. Beautiful!

“That’s the headwaters, the first visible beginning point of the Sacramento River. Underground somewhere is the wellspring, the actual source of this water.

“As I was explaining in this morning’s PowerPoint, each one of us have headwaters called the ‘me’—all of each person’s beliefs, making up our most important ways to think and act, our special identity. People can see it flowing out of us as we make our way through daily life. Then everyone has an ‘I’—the source, the starting point of me at birth, or wellspring of ‘me.’ As life develops It does the same thing I do at my company. It oversees and executes everything to make sure the company’s beliefs are good and things get done right. The deepest possible ‘I’ source is kindness or love. Science says we are born with it and it’s capacity has actually been located in the brain. Two year olds actually start to show it. 

But here’s the problem. Our mind at the surface of things does not attend to unmanaged fear that is always lurking around to get rid of threat.  Sadly, for most of us unmanaged fear buries our ‘I.’” Howard is the CEO of Personal Growth Unlimited.

He continued, “In this fear situation, ‘I’ is always in ‘fight or flight’ mode and uses anger to get the job done. It’s really miserable and doesn’t need to be this way. Ninety percent of people have an ‘I’ like this.”

My thoughts were racing. A light bulb was turning on. And down deep, like in my stomach, I felt more relaxed, maybe in the “Center” part Howard showed us in his PowerPoint. Is it possible my “I” is always fearful and it’s normal? Whew! This warm feeling was the same feeling I get when I go to my grandparents’ lake house all by myself. And come to think about it, there is no fear there. It’s all kindness, so much love.

Oh, let me tell you how this Howard trip came about. I spend a lot of time at Greg’s house. Several weeks ago, I got the courage to ask Greg why he always saw the good in stuff, and his parents never, well almost never, got mad at him when there was a problem. Seems I am always doing the wrong thing, especially arguing and blowing up, and I can’t stop it and I am always saying to myself stuff like, “what’s wrong with me?” and recently “I am bad.” I am really scared. I brought it up to my mom and dad. Dad laughed and said with that stern look, “You do blow up way too much. We hope you can learn to control it.” And Mom said with a kinder face, “Your Dad was the same way and grew out of it.” Confusing. I was still scared.

Anyway, back to Greg’s answer to my questions. He said his Dad taught him about the “I” and “me” inside everyone. Sounded weird to me at first. But now it was really making sense especially as I was looking at the beautiful headwaters flow. Being together watching this in silence felt so good inside. Greg and his dad had replaced fear with kindness. Wow!

My thoughts were interrupted by Howard’s gentle hand on my shoulder. “Does this make any sense to you?”

All of a sudden, tears filled my eyes, and several ran down. Hadn’t had that for a long time. Headwaters? “I’ve got something in my eye, I’m sorry. Yes, it all makes sense.”

Then all three of us were silent as our attention focused again on the gurgling headwaters making its way to future unknown twists and turns. I felt so relaxed. The beautiful sound made everything so warm and strangely hopeful.

After that life-changing trip, I asked Howard if he could help me and my parents learn about this stuff. He referred us to a therapist that did this new type of therapy: Love Infusing Fear – Therapy (LIFT). We went through the therapy and our lives were changed forever.

“I am lovable” became my “Center” belief. The “me” flowing out of my “I” was so fulfilling.