May 10, 2011

Humility’s Incredible Power

“Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation.” ~ Saint Augustine

I had a great conversation with Brandon the other day as I was encouraging him to take a moment and do an end zone dance to celebrate his accomplishments.  Over the past three months he has remained clean, found a job, kept the job and has started depositing money in the bank.  He has also been extremely consistent in attending meetings and has formed a collaborative and supportive friendship that keeps his company and rarely lets him wander off alone.  Considering where he was six months ago, he is doing quite well.

Despite all this opportunity for celebration, Brandon still worries about failure.  In talking with him, I discovered that while he knows he has made great progress he still feels the fear and the pressure associated with him staying successful.  For many of us, success is a triumph and a reflection of our hard work and focus.  For Brandon, success is only the result of not failing and the possibility of failing is a constant source of the pressure he feels.  This is why I was really encouraging him to celebrate his accomplishments and discover the joy that comes with recognizing some of the ways he has made significant changes in his life.

As we talked about his progress, he shared that the source of his turnaround was his becoming humble.  It was humility that enabled him to let go and start building his life back up.  A couple of his trusted advisors told Brandon that they knew he was ready because he started to become humble.  Imagine that – letting go of your ego and your control in order to begin to build up (been there).  It is almost counterintuitive to those who believe that being in control enables one to take control.  Instead, being humble and turning over control is the point where great success find there foundation.

When Brandon stopped fighting the forces around him, he discovered how the forces could actually help him.  I had the same experiences early on in the 100 Pedals journey.  When I made a commitment to ride, only the decisions to ride were in my control.  Essentially they were the only thing that I truly made a commitment to.  I ceded all control relating to the challenges and the issues in my life because I recognized that when I was in control of those things nothing really worked anyway.  However, when I let it all go and became receptive to the forces on my rides, everything came into focus and I realized and discovered the peace that comes with surrendering control and being receptive to the voices in my humility.

That is humility—recognizing that you do not have the ability – the force – to do it yourself and on your own.  And, that you can only find your way when you trust the powers that be to take control and guide your life.  The deeper that humility drills into your soul, the more powerful the outcome.  I am pleased that Brandon has made the progress he has.  I am somewhat pleased that he fears taking control of his recovery in the sense he recognizes his ability to mess it up.  I am also pleased that he has discovered humility in the process because that is where the power lies.  Let’s hope that he continues to celebrate his success on his incredible recovery.

I would never have understood what this all meant until I parked my ego, and my pride, and all my controlling behaviors in the garage.   Now that I see Brandon in this arena, I am witnessing it again.  It is an awesome experience.  And, I am happy and hopeful for his future.

About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.