Isn’t it ironic that we have more solutions for depression, more books on financial planning, more leaders in the positive thinking movement, and more health solutions than ever before and yet, despite all that, our problems not only persist, they are expanding! I have spent half a lifetime trying to figure out the secret to happiness, looked to uncover the hidden solution that would transform my life into all I ever could have imagined it to be, but still seemed to come up short. I had health in many respects, but my quest for what I thought was healthy (image) only served to burn me out. I read endless books on personal development, psychology, and philosophy and had answers for the world, but none that seemed to unlock the key that would enrich my life the way I had hoped. I sought my happiness in the eyes of others and had not taken the time to ask of myself what happiness meant to me. So now standing at the precipice of my life I realize that I have been given a gift, and the gift is the realization that in order for my life to be what it was meant to be I would have to accept my role as an “alchemist”.
If you remember that historically alchemy was about the efforts of turning lead into gold, and of course the alchemist was the seeker of the knowledge that would allow the impossible to become possible. Though I am not sure if anyone ever figured out how to turn lead into gold, I saw amazing a parallel to what we witness today in the positive thinking and personal development movement. If you look again at what the alchemist was trying to do, convert one thing, lead, which is dull, poisonous as we know today, seemingly worthless, into shiny, beautiful, valuable gold, isn’t that what we are doing with our life story?
What we see in personal development most often, as was in the case for me for many years, was that we were trying to cover the lead with gold, disguising it so no one would see what was underneath due to shame, fear, unworthiness. And as the gold wore off we frantically applied another coat to the lead, staving off for the moment the risk of the world seeing our faults, our darkness, what we most despise about ourselves.
What we forgot was that to be a true alchemist in the arena of personal development we need to actually change the meaning of our past so that it serves us, so it becomes something precious here today. And how do you do that? As the alchemist worked on turning lead into gold, we can use all our experiences as a tool to teach others, to support those who are presently walking the same path we had traveled once upon a time. What I most despised and hated about myself was to become the greatest gift I could have received. I was given the gift of empathy, for I know the path you are walking. I was given the gift of perseverance, and it has kept me moving forward when at times I simply wanted to quit. I was given the gift of intuition, and it guides me forward, aligning me with the right book, friend or mentor. The gifts when bestowed upon me did not feel like gifts, and at the time I wondered what I did to deserve all that had befallen me. A great mentor had suggested to me that perhaps it was a sacred contract I signed with the universe before I was born, that perhaps I asked for strength, perseverance, compassion, intuition, knowledge, empathy, and the only way to develop these gifts was to be put in a place that forced me to acquire attributes so that today when I sit down with another fellow human being, I can read their struggles, for I have walked their path, and I can be the shoulder they can lean upon until they are strong enough to do it on their own.
My sacred contract allowed me to be here today as a servant leader, and the impact I wish to have on the world is a direct result of the challenges I endured over the course of my life. I finally understand that I can no longer simply “paint over” the pain and suffering, but I can transform those experiences into something amazing, far more valuable than gold will ever be. I now understand what it truly means to be an alchemist.
David Gilks Your Fellow Traveller
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