“No toys?” I said for the second time to my girlfriend, Shannon. I was trying not to freak out. I just couldn’t understand how Shannon’s siste had sent her three year old over 300 miles from home for five days with none of his toys. Not having any kids ourselves we didn’t have a single toy in the house. “Should I run to Target? Or Toys R Us? My mind was racing. Where should I go to get toys and once there what do I get? Trucks? That seemed so generic and almost stereotypical. Maybe he doesn’t like to play with trucks. Puzzles? Could a three year old concentrate on it long enough? A toy that made music? A ride-on toy? Oh gosh, there were so many possibilities flying around my brain.
I still wasn’t sure what to do about the toy situation, but thought meeting my three horses would provide a good distraction so we slipped on our shoes and walked down to the barn. I had been wanting to listen to the third part of a series I was listening to from Mike Dooley. It was an advanced series about how you are your number one student. I turned it on and it quietly played in the background. He told the story of the Acres of Diamonds where an old African farmer got frustrated not making much money off his land and decided to ask the local priest where he could find diamonds. Everyone had been traveling through looking for them so he thought he could do the same. The priest told him he could find diamonds in the stream with the sandy bottom at the base of the mountain. Excited he sold his farm and started traveling in search of some diamonds. But he kept looking and looking and found nothing. Eventually he took his own life out of total desperation. Terrible, right?
At this point in the recording I was showing Cameron the riding arena. I think to him it looked like a giant sandbox, because straight away he started playing with one of my horse jumps. To me the giant yellow ducks were something unusual for my horse to get use to seeing to prepare for competitions, but to Cameron they were wonderful toys and brought enjoyment for quite a while.
Meanwhile back to the story, the new farmer was getting frustrated with the land as there were these large black rocks everywhere. He decided to take a break so started walking towards the house. He walked by the stream with the sandy bottom at the base of the mountain. As he was wondered by, a large black rock caught his eye as it was shining so brightly. He dipped his hand into the cool water, brought it home, and put it on his mantel piece thinking it looked kinda neat.
A few days later the priest stopped by to welcome the new farmer and the black rock on the mantel immediately caught his eye. “He found his diamonds” he exclaimed with utter delight. “Where is he?” The new farmer explained the old farmer had left Africa.
By this time in the recording we had come inside and were in my study. Cameron had immediately spotted my basket of self-treatment tools. He was first drawn to the green therapy ball and after rolling around with that for awhile added the mini-foam roller and mini 1/2 foam roller to his collection.
Mike Dooley was almost at the end of the video now. It turned out that the acre of land was the richest acre of land for not only diamonds, but many other precious jewels as well in all of the world. He then went onto explaining the moral of the story. It was a great example of how everything you need is right in front of you. It’s just a matter of seeing it.
What Cameron made me realize is that we had all the toys we needed in our house. We didn’t need traditional toys to make it through the week. We didn’t need to go to Target or Toys R Us. I was so concerned we didn’t have traditional toys that I didn’t see everything we did have. The horse jumps, self-treatment tools, my rolling chair, and the dog toys were all great fun to Cameron and provided hours worth of entertainment.
To Cameron everything is a toy and if it moves or makes a noise then even better. He wasn’t looking at my foam roller thinking about the one use it was designed for. To him it was a toy that you could look through, sit on, roll a ball through, stick an arm through etc….it had endless possibilities.
Cameron was able to turn a self-treatment tool into more than an hours worth of entertainment, because he didn’t see it as a foam roller designed to do one thing: foam roll. We need to take a leaf from his book, because if we can move through life using that lens as our guide we are in for some really amazing things. To show you what I mean let’s do this quick exercise: pick up any object in front of you–your phone, a pen…anything will work. Ok now take a good look at it. What was this object designed for? I’m holding the green pen that was on my desk. Obviously it’s for writing. Now I want you to think about all the uses that object could have. So for example, I could use my pen as a back scratcher to reach a spot in my back I can’t reach, as a weapon if I was being attacked, or a trachea tube to relieve pressure in someone’s neck (got to admit I stole that one from Grey’s Anatomy!) I could go on and on, but I think you get the point!
Now apply this thinking to your life. See yourself differently. My dyslexia isn’t a burden, in fact it is what has made me a successful entrepreneur. For example, quitting cigarette smoking could become a journey showing your grandkids how important it is to take care of your own body. Or standing up to you neck pain and deciding you are no longer going to keep sucking it up takes you on a journey showing how precious and valuable life truly is. See where I’m going with this?
I saw my dyslexia as a burden for years. I hated it and was very embarrassed by it. But now I realize it’s a big part of what makes up my acre of diamonds. My acre which is right underneath me and for many, many years I didn’t even notice. But now I see it’s beauty. Now I see all the warmth and joy it brings me. By acknowledging my dyslexia was not only there, but was a-hidden-for-so-long superpower I’m now able to tap into it’s glory.
It’s so easy to think we need more. We are constantly being told both directly and indirectly we are not enough and that we need to be better. That we need to be thinner, smarter, braver as well as what to wear and what items to purchase. We think we need what society tells us we need—like traditional toys for a three year old. However, we have everything we need, we just have to look within. We all have an acre of diamonds, a superpower, or whatever you wish to call it. It’s just a matter of leaning in, seeing it, and then trusting ourselves to sweep away the cobwebs and reveal it. It’s scary–I won’t sugar coat it. But it will also transform your life because you are stepping into the true authentic version of you. As the wonderful, late Maya Angelou said “a bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song”. Find your song and make sure you sing it loud and clear.
What’s your superpower/song/acre of diamonds? Leave a comment below and let me know!