At my mother’s house this Christmas, and we popped open her Netflix envelope. Lo and behold, it was an inspiring movie with the perfect message for me. I’d been thinking a lot about my business and where I am heading in 2011 on my 16-hour drive. I sometimes have to pinch myself as I have stepped further and further into a life of following Spirit, as I understand it. There are strange coincidences that cross my path, like a word or image I notice multiple times which contains a message, there are people and places I’ve been drawn to for no logical reason that turn out to be perfect, and there are seemingly “bad” things that happen that test my faith and reveal to me more of who I am and what I’m here to do.
Enter “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story.” This is a fantastic true story in which Cuba Gooding, Jr. plays Dr. Ben Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon who pioneered new techniques such as removing a part of the brain that causes seisures, and separating conjoined twins. However the bulk of the story focuses on Carson’s childhood and adolescence. He grew up with a single mother who couldn’t even read. His mother never stopped encouraging and supporting him, and essentially forcing him to learn. While he had this great supportive environment in his mother, he faced extraordinary hurdles. At one point he received the highest academic honor in his school, and one of his teachers used this as an opportunity to publicly scold all of the white children for not even trying – they must not have been trying if this poor black boy could outperform them!
The movie does a great job in focusing in on the pivotal moments that shaped who Ben Carson became – the people he met who influenced him, the key decisions he made, and the important messages he received.
He had anger issues in high school (his mother relocated him after the incident mentioned above) because he didn’t fit in. He attempted to stab a boy at school. Luckily the blade of the knife broke, and that was enough to scare him into looking for a new path in life. He prayed for a solution to his anger, and his strong faith was born of that event. In his scenes as an adult, they show him praying before surgery, and as he is looking for solutions to new problems.
“Do you believe in miracles?” he asks his interviewer when applying to get into John Hopkins. He’d been asked why he wanted to be a brain surgeon, he talked about how everything starts with the brain. The brain is where we make miracles happen. He got in. He spoke his absolute truth – and a risky truth which he acknowledges in the interview, “there’s not a lot of faith among doctors.” But it was this honest response from the core of who he was that had him be able to take the next step on his path to greatness.
In the final challenge featured in the movie, Carson needed to figure out how to keep the conjoined twins from bleeding out while he performed the surgery to separate them. I won’t spoil the movie, but we saw the different images and resources that crossed his path and caught his attention that he was able to bring together to make that surgery happen.
This is how it works in the Sweet Spot. I’ve seen it happen, when I quiet my mind and pay attention to the information that is all around me to lead me in the direction I need to go. This flow shows up for my clients as well. I still don’t do it perfectly. At times I get caught up in worrying and trying to figure things out or control how life will go. When I have the faith and discipline to release that line of thinking and trust that the next step will reveal itself, it always does.
I highly recommend this movie. I also recommend looking for yourself – what role do faith and serendipity play in your life? What shows up for you when you’re in the Sweet Spot?
I’d love to hear your stories!