Years ago, while teaching a self-esteem course at a homeless shelter, I asked the 12 or so men gathered in the room ‘what kind of man do you want to be?’.
Across from me, at the far end of the boardroom table sat a tall, handsome man who had once been forced to become a child soldier in his homeland. “I want to be a proud man,” he said. “But how can that be possible when I have done so many horrible things?” he asked.
“Do you want to keep doing those things or things of which you’re proud?” I asked him.
And he replied, “Of course I want to do things I’m proud of. But I see me only as that bad man.”
“What if I told you I see you as a magnificent human being?”
He flashed me a big smile and said, “I’d say you need better glasses.”
I laughed at his joke and I told him my glasses were okay. What if, it was just the lens through which he was looking at himself that needed adjusting?
The whole class listened intently to our conversation, with several others chiming in that there was no hope that anyone would ever see them as magnificent.
What if the first step isn’t for others to see you as magnificent but rather that you do? I asked.
I invited everyone around the table to close their eyes, for just a moment, and imagine that they truly were magnificent. Sit tall, I encouraged. Breathe into being and feeling and knowing you are magnificent. Be that.
And for a moment, 12 men closed their eyes, sat tall and breathed into their magnificence.
It was trans-formative.
Facial features relaxed. Their breathing slowed. Small smiles of recognition appeared on some of their faces.
After a moment, I invited them to open their eyes and asked, “Could you feel it? Could you feel your magnificence?”
And everyone in that room agreed. Yes they could.
Then it exists within you, I told them.
Now, imagine that we connect through our magnificence. Imagine that our magnificence is the thing we carry out into the world and share.
Would your world be different?
Yes, they all murmured.
Magnificence exists within each of us. It is who we are born as, and to be.
And then, life happens, we forget our birthright and start living in the narrow corridors of the hurtful things we’ve experienced, done, and seen that we tell ourselves define us. Limit us. Are us.
It’s not true.
The things that happened, including the past, does not define us. We do. In the here and now.
And in the here and now is where we can begin to practice letting go of our limiting beliefs and breathing into celebrating our magnificence.
Those beliefs were founded in the past because those were the things we were taught, forced to learn, forced to endure because the world around us didn’t know how to celebrate our magnificence, or its own.
Those are the beliefs that keep us playing into our limitations and living small today.
Just for today, practice breathing into your magnificence. Imagine your entire being is imbued with the beauty and wonder and awe that is you when you let go of living out the learned patterns of mediocrity that have kept you trapped in forgetting the magnificence of who you are born to be.
And in your magnificence, imagine that you are a divine expression of grace. That you are… Love.
Breathe and Be. Breathe and Be.
And so it is.