How the good and the bad in life will challange and instuct but there's more to it than that.
Fifteen years ago, I began suffering from a deadly disease. What was it? I didn't know. I just knew that a doctor had to find out what it was. Initially I went to general practitioners. After several visits and a clean bill of health, I began going to specialists: neurologists, urologists, cardiologists, and so on. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. What was this thing I was dying from that nary a doctor could find?
After much frustration, I spoke to my sister who suggested a therapist or counselor. I went to one, and after three short visits, amazingly enough, I was on my way to a cure. For me, this was a turning point, a demarcation in time, in my life. However, the experience being fresh, I didn't know at the time. Through the analysis, I discovered that at the foundation of my angst was my tyrannical father. My therapist told me I was split front to back, my father being the negative, abusive, tyrannical force, the bad. On the other side was my mother, the positive, caring, nurturing, loving side, the good. At this time, this demarcation, the beginning of the healing, my inner voice, my intuitive voice began to speak louder, to develop to a greater extend, really began to grow and breath. I realize now that this was the healing point that put me over the top, my tipping point, so to speak, the beginning of my inner healing in earnest. It is interesting to note that after the experience, this purging, my life began. I took on greater challenges, found greater growth, grew in my intellectual faculties, understanding, spiritual growth and journey, one that sped up because of the purge.
Shortly after hearing this life altering information, the healing was intense and profound, yet not complete, of course. Such scarring takes years of conscious work to heal. But just the knowledge, actually, the answer being addressed directly, pulled forth from me (always there, just waiting for someone to point it out) began my healing in earnest. Nevertheless, it was such a personal, psychological, healing revelation, as if a 2000 cc dose of "everything's all right" passed through my veins and cauterized my wounded heart and soul.
The bottom line here is that we must begin to heal ourselves in earnest (with considerable effort, with considerable growth) before we can reach the intuitive voice, begin to work toward mastering the intuitive voice and, more importantly, begin to help, heal, assist others. For what greater worth does our existence have? Being pretty? Slim? Muscular? Rich? Popular? These things are of the self, self-serving and affecting only a party of one. If this is of great importance to you, so be it. Others may read on.
Back to the story. At times, after spending days without sleep, watching the clock move until it brought birds and sunlight, and now after acquiring my new, empowered intuitive voice, I listened. And I listened carefully, respectfully. I was to leave Connecticut and my family and friends and go solo to Boston to eventually leave my job as a computer programmer and enter the world of entertainment, or more specifically, standup comedy.
At this point you may say, what was he thinking? But it all makes sense to me now. The intuitive voice was leading me away from home to help me grow and get out of my comfort zone, for if you don't, a child you are, and a child you will always be. I was alone. On my own with no negating voice coming from family or friends. I had to stand on my own. Sink or swim. I was going into standup comedy. Alone.
Now, to show you how much the negative voice had entered my head and tied me down, how inactive, inert, dead of heart, emotion, and soul I was, I will convey a few stories that will enlighten as to why going into comedy was essential, imperative for my emotional, experiential, well being. Remember that this is simply an example to enable you to see the importance of personal growth through getting out of your comfort zone to do the unthinkable, if need be, but not the impossible, to greater personal power and strength. Read on.
To set this story up, I'd like to give a little more background on my character. Because of the browbeating I received from my father, of course my self-esteem was at a minimum. With a daily litany of "Close your mouth." "Sit up." "Don't be selfish." "Don't be lazy." How could anyone not draw inward and be shy? This shyness was sometimes interpreted incorrectly by observers. A friend of mine, who lived next door, like me worked for another neighbor who owned a construction company. Because of my complete inability to relate to others, to speak up at all to strangers, the owner of the construction company asked my friend "Is Jeff Brown retarded?" On another occasion, about seven years after high school graduation, around the time I began the effort to eradicate my shyness, I ran into a former classmate and actually talked to her. She remarked, "Gee, I think this is the first time I've ever heard your voice." The point being, my shyness was quite severe. Onto the story.
In junior high, I was given some papers to give to another teacher who was teaching a class. All I had to do was knock on the door, walk in and drop the papers off. However, seeing the room full of students stopped me dead in my tracks. I turned, went outside and placed the papers under a bush and went to my class. A while later, I was called into an office to speak to the two teachers involved. As they asked me questions, I did what I normally did when confronted. I said nothing. Because I had been conditioned to not respond to a parent who marked me wrong no matter what I said, I sat silent and still. Taking neutrality and the consequences of my inaction--and usually a lesser emotional thrashing or penalty--over saying the wrong thing (or the right thing?) and getting beat up about the emotional ears more thoroughly.
Now, in order for me to overcome myself, a self that had been driven into the inner depths of my being, I had to begin by getting in front of people as often as I could to pull my self outward so that I could function more successfully in my personal and professional relationships. Maybe I didn't quite put it into those words at the time, or any words for that matter, but I knew I had to do something to overcome a debilitating shyness that was hampering me in every aspect of life. Over time I have come to the realization that at the core of any success (family, work, community) is the ability to communicate and function well with other human beings. All of us need to, even if we rationalize it as not being so.
So I began to volunteer any time someone was needed at an event. Of course, I still said little, stammered and stuttered, but slowly began to come out of my shell. Even before going into comedy, I had joined a band and played the guitar so terribly due to nerves that I almost died. But amazingly enough that didn't happen.
Even my first standup gig was horrifying. Imagine being the shyest person ever to exist (yes, I've talked to the dead) getting up in front of total, complete strangers, miles away from home, alone, with no support whatsoever. The first time I was to perform five minutes at an open mike night (a situation where anyone can perform), I lived in abject fear 24/7 for two weeks. Take your most fearful moment and just imagine that lasting for two weeks, twenty-four hours a day.
The night came. And even though I had practiced for hours a day for weeks, due to nervousness, within the first minute I forgot everything. What did I do? I banged the microphone on my head and talked to the audience. I finished after about four minutes, got off the stage, went to the back of the room and stared into space. I could have crawled under the belly of a pregnant ant. So what did I do? I got up and did it again and again and again. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year. Of course I got to the point where I was pretty good. No one in their right mind would torture themselves for that long. I moved from five minutes, to ten, to twenty to half an hour, began to get work at paying gigs and establish a reputation.
Did it get easier? Somewhat. There still were times I was so scared I could barely talk. One such occasion was when I performed in a biker bar with bikers playing pool as I performed. Before getting up to do my fifteen minutes, a few comedians were by the bar talking. I tried to participate but nothing came out. Amazingly enough, I got up, performed, and left to an enthusiastic round of applause. Believe me, miracles still happen.
There were other trying occasions, such as performing at a gay bar in LA with only straight material, performing in Roxbury outside of Boston as one of only two white people in the whole bar. The other white person was my Jewish friend and fellow performer.
The bottom line being here that I survived and thrived. My healing and growth continued. Growth is an essential component to our existence. For example, medical experts have stated that the way to avoid diseases such as Alzheimer's is to stay active physically and mentally. Keep exercising and keep reading and learning. Zig Ziglar, the great motivational coach, says that if we stop growing on the inside we don't grow on the outside.
With my growth in high gear, nevertheless, it was time to move on. I had been in Boston four years and according to my plan it was time to move to Los Angeles. However, there was one problem. No money.
This little part of the story conveys my budding ability to tap into the intuitive voice, the sixth sense, the divine, that can speak to us all, only if we are willing to heal ourselves and grow, and very importantly, to listen and obey.
When I moved to Boston, I took a programming position to support my comedy career, but I had lost the job because of layoffs that were hitting hard in Boston and the North East in the mid 1990s. I had no money but I knew I was going to Los Angeles. I just knew. Like I said before, you have to listen and have faith in the inner voice. To complicate matters, a month before I was to leave I had gotten into an accident.
I was initially told that I'd get the car back in a week but because of additional damage found, one week turned into two, three and then four weeks. I finally got my car back. When? The morning of the day I had planned to leave a month previous. Did this happen because of intent? My belief that things would work out? Or should I say because of my certainty that things would work out. Was a greater, external force at work here? You be the judge.
I was days away from leaving and yet had no money. You're thinking at this point, he's out of his mind. A poor planner. Go back to Connecticut. Get a job. Move in with friends. No. No. No. No. If you know why you're here, what your purpose is, what you need to do to positively affect the lives of others and to use your given talents to grow as a human being then no, you go.
To make a long story short, upon getting out of a friend's car, she asked me if I needed money for my trip. (Being prideful, I wasn't going to ask.) I told her $300. For some reason, she was inspired to give me $600, which was what I needed almost to the penny.
Regardless, getting to LA I increased my spirituality ten fold, obtained my BA and MA, met my wife, we now have three children, and my teaching experience, study, research, and everything that I've done out here has only expanded and solidified my life's goals.
Bottom line? Do what you know deep down what you have to do and you and the universe will find a way to not only get you where you need to go but you will learn eternal lessons that will serve you and others throughout your life. God bless and get going.