Your Powerhouse of Possibility
David Patient lived for more than three decades with HIV. Known as a long-term non-progressor, he attributed his longevity to making peace with what he (not so) affectionately called “Mr. Virus.”
It wasn’t easy, and he didn’t do it until the damn bug almost killed him—but not in the way you might think. When David was 23, he was diagnosed with what was called GRIDs in the early 80s. A vibrant South African exiled to the US, he had just discovered the freedom of living openly as a gay man. Then his doctor told him he had six months to live. On the verge of committing suicide, David had a wake-up call of sorts. Inspired by concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl, he decided that someone needed to live to tell of what would become the AIDS crisis. It might as well be him. He determined to make a truce with Mr. Virus.
David refused to acknowledge that a virus could beat him. He spent the rest of his life giving hope, inspiration, and dignity to people around the world.
Considering Possibility Over Probability
“Instead of considering the probability of my dying, I looked at the possibility of my living,” David said. “You’re HIV, I’m David. You are very powerful, and you can kill me. I ask you, Mr. HIV, to be aware I have the same power. I, too, am strong. I, too, can take you out. Let’s face it: if I die, you die. Now, is realistic or is it unrealistic? I don’t know, but I think it’s working.”
It is still a mystery why he survived for 30+ years when no one who participated in the first AZT trials with him lived. Even toward the end of his life in 2017, he maintained a vibrant attitude, even though he was plagued with psoriasis, multiple hernias, various superbug infections, and a body that just didn’t move without complaint.
“People often ask me how come you’re in such a good mood all the time? When I wake up in the morning and I notice that I’m breathing, it’s a fabulous day! No matter what comes to me, it’s a great day. And the same thing will happen tomorrow morning. I wake up… I’m breathing… let’s get going! There’s stuff to do.”
David went on to teach millions of people throughout Southern Africa how to live with HIV, not die from it.
“So what?” he would ask anyone who felt sorry for themselves. “You are not unique. Look around you. People are going through shit. It’s called life. It means you’re living. Find ways of dealing with your challenge with solutions.”
Principle #2 – Resolve Past Issues & Release Your Brain Power!
David brilliantly personified the second of my 7 Principles to Peace, Purpose, and Freedom: By confronting something in the past that can unduly influence your life, giving it the attention it demands can dissolve its power.
David confronted a life-threatening virus and dissolved its power so effectively that he lived to positively impact populations of whole countries for more than 30 years.
Imagine what you might do if you work through past negative experiences that have been impacting your performance, perhaps out of your awareness.
The Past Can Penalize
You see, the past has the power to keep penalizing you in the present. Your brain is a powerhouse of possibility. It also can be your worst enemy if you load it up with the baggage of resentments, bad memories, simmering frustrations, and other unpleasant emotions. Forgiveness is the tool to release those emotions and free you to bring your work into the world in a way you might never imagine could be possible.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.—Mahatma Gandhi
You may have heard of Azim Khamisa, who forgave Tony Hicks, the teen gang member who killed his 21-year-old son, Tariq Khamisa. Azim, in an act of extraordinary grace and forgiveness, reached out to Tony’s grandfather, Ples Felix. The two men came together in the spirit of healing to end youth violence. They formed a foundation to teach non-violence, forgiveness, and anti-gang programs in San Diego schools.
In a letter of apology to Tariq and posted on the TKF Foundation website, Tony writes, “You may not know this but I’ve begun to appreciate how your death has impacted so many young lives in a positive way. Through the foundation named in your honor, Azim and my grandfather share our story to countless numbers of people providing a message of empathy, nonviolence, and forgiveness which continues to resonate for so many even after all these years.”
Forgive Yourself—for Freedom!
If the trials of David Patient or Azim Khamisa seem so very enormous and way beyond any problems you might have, consider how self-forgiveness changed my friend Donna’s life—one that was beset with problems, albeit none so grand as the death of a son or a life-threatening illness.
After 25 years of a vibrant career and rearing two sons, Donna found herself at a seeming dead end. A successful career in publishing had gone the way of the last century. She ended a long-term relationship. She launched several solopreneur businesses that did little more than put food on the table, including one that did no more than consume her savings. Her future looked bleak, and she blamed herself for what she called “All the Ways I Messed Up My Life.” (But she used a stronger word than “messed.”)
After years—yes, years—of berating herself for what she considered a decade of failures, Donna took on Principle #2. She spent a morning contemplating, journaling, crying, yelling, praying, and thoroughly examining all the ways she “messed” up her life. Several hours later, she achieved an emotional catharsis.
“Oh…,” she said to herself, looking at her notes, the timeline she created of her life, all bad choices and disastrous mistakes she thought she made.
“Oh. Wow. I did the best I could.”
Right then, she forgave herself for all her so-called mistakes. And she let them go.
Six months later, she tells me, life has handed Donna a clean slate. Her work lights her up, her bank balance is growing, her sons are successful, her two grandchildren will soon be in the same town, and she has fallen in love. Her contributions to others in the world are growing exponentially. She says she has never been so happy.
When you fearlessly commit to giving unresolved issues the attention required to dissolve their power over you, it’s like pushing a reset button. You get a clean slate.
What issues—at work or at home—are holding you from creating a clean slate in your life and doing the work you are here to do?
Principle #2 to Peace, Purpose, and Freedom
- Resolve Past Issues & Release Your Brain Power!
Try this! Fearlessly identify unresolved issues that unduly influence your life in the present. Commit to giving them the attention required to dissolve their power over you.
P.S. Living More Peace, Purpose & Freedom
On February 4, I began leading an eight-week class exploring my seven principles of how to live with more peace, purpose, and freedom. If you are in the San Diego area, please join me:
Universal Spirit Center, 3930 Utah Street, Suite A, San Diego, CA 92104
Sign up here to register.
Universal Spirit Center San Diego: An inclusive and thriving spiritual community in San Diego, CA creating experiences of Divine Love for individual and global awakening.