Last week I received an invitation from a small town in Wyoming to a ceremony for Vietnam veterans. The names of each are being etched into a plaque to be mounted in the town square next month. They invited me as one of their own – a vet from Cowley, Wyoming. I felt the depth of the honoring this town has for me and for my fellow veterans that came from there. I was so appreciative, but the thing is, I am not from that town!

I was busy, but I emailed back: I served in Vietnam, but I am not from Cowley. Thank you so very much for thinking of me. I feel like I have been adopted. Love, Gary. Within hours another email arrived: Hi Gary. I do not know how you received this email. I am aware of your great work. I love your books…and am baffled as to how you landed on this list. Love, John

Now I have a connection with Cowley, Wyoming, and John and the people in Cowley and the people from Cowley who served their country. This came at the perfect time for me. Linda and I live in a small town, also. Sometimes I forget how many people have read my books and appreciate them. This unexpected invitation helped me to remember, and it filled me with joy. I cannot say it was a misplaced invitation, because it found the person who needed most to read it. Me.

If you think you know all you need to know to reach beyond your familiar environments – to create authentic power – please consider my story. Without reaching out to others, you will never swim in the vast ocean of meaning and fulfillment around you. Like a small fish that has never left a coral reef, you will live in the illusion that you have experienced all your life offers you and that your joy and freedom demand. This is the life I was living when this picture was taken.

Connecting with others with an open heart is the greatest challenge and reward of the Earth school. Only frightened parts of your personality resist it, and they are the parts that confine you. The next time you feel withdrawn, uninterested, preoccupied, or overwhelmed, try giving the frightened parts of your personality the strongest challenge you can. Open yourself to someone. Open your heart and share your attention. Share the precious presence you are in the Earth school. See what you can learn about yourself. See what you can contribute to others.

You may also want to look at other frightened parts of your personality that could be keeping you from connecting with your heart, such those that are extroverted, the life of the party, gregarious, full of themselves, and too busy to answer an email that obviously doesn’t pertain to them.

Life beyond the reef is amazing.



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