It’s day 3 of the course I’m taking and I’m present to how much of life I don’t see as is, but through lenses that I’ve put on from various experiences in my life and how automatic my responses are to situations I’m faced with, despite that sometimes I think I’ve considered them long and hard. I’m grateful for the opportunity and the ability to know myself better, to be aware of how I have unwittingly shaped my own views and formed my automatic responses, which explains why it seems I didn’t stand a chance to react differently even in situations which I knew it didn’t serve me to react in that way any longer. Knowing myself has given me access to a space where I can distinguish between what actually happened from the story I gave it, therefore giving myself the capacity to act outside of what seems like an impulsive reaction that I didn’t have control over before. Perceiving things differently has also been the ticket to finally kick long-standing habits that I’ve been trying to change for a long time, with no success.

Additionally, I’m starting to realize how powerful I am to affect change on a wider level than just myself, my immediate family and some of my closest friends. I can be a friendly person, and I’m usually nice, but I’ve always had a level of uncomfortability around people. Despite that I have come a long way from my people-pleasing self in my university days, and think that nowadays, I do what I do and I don’t care what other people think… if I’m really honest with myself, I know my mind is still consumed with wondering whether people like me, what they think of me, how I look to them, etc, etc. etc. I’m afraid to be judged, afraid to be mistakenly accused of anything, afraid to be guilty of any mistake or imperfection. And because of this, I deplete myself of the capacity to be present to whomever I’m with, to really see them and hear them, let alone be there for them.

This weekend, I learned about how different people identify with various levels of self. Some people only care about themselves as an individual. Some identify themselves in terms of “we” as a a couple in a relationship or partnership. Some as a family, some as a group, some as a community, a society, and even the world. I have dreams, I have things I want to do that would impact others on a community or society or even the world level. However, my experience has always been that I hold myself back because I’m waiting for my individual needs, my marriage needs, my family needs to be taken care of first before I go out and help others. Thought in my head goes something like this, “How can I help others when I haven’t helped myself?” The assertion put forth for us to test was to try going the other way around – have something bigger than yourself to work towards and things will just work themselves out that my individual, marriage and family needs will be met… because when you’re up to something bigger than yourself, you will do whatever it takes and become whoever you need to be. I begin to sense my inner giant emerging.

Now, I don’t worry about what others think of me. Those thoughts still cross my mind, but I don’t get consumed by them anymore. Now my internal dialogue goes something like this, “I wonder what that person is dealing with in life and how he/she is coping.” As a result of this work, choosing me as your photographer now means giving yourself the gift of being photographed by someone who can see you, hear you and can be fully present and available to you. I am so excited for my first few sessions, anticipating that my experience of them will be remarkably different than before.

Over the weekend, I saw fellow participants of the course emerge as giants one by one… getting over themselves and shifting their focus towards how they could contribute to fellow humans. This inspired me so much and it made me proud to be a human being. It filled me with gratitude and gave me a new way of looking at humans. Witnessing one particular participant’s transformation from a timid, young lady who saw herself and related to others as someone who needed help, to someone who is capable of anything was especially moving and it inspired me to start a series on my blog which I will call “The Giants That Walk Among Us.”

The series will feature someone different each month, starting next month. I’ll meet with each of them and spend some time listening to them share about their journey of how they grew big as human beings and emerged as powerful giants. It is my intention that we can all find inspiration in their stories to grow as giants ourselves.

Dream bigger, be the change that you wish to see in the world. There are people who live like this. There are, indeed, giants that walk among us and I am excited to connect with them and share their stories with you!

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