I am often asked if Joe’s journey in Awaken the Magic Within is a true story – if it is my journey since we share the same name. I usually say that while the story is fantasy, much of what is in there is true, although it’s a composite from different times in my life.
Yes, I was homeless at one time in my life. And yes, I was unfortunately known by my associates as the manager from hell. I did lose my family – emotionally – and in fact, I was nicknamed Pure Anger. I also lost my home that overlooked beautiful mountains and a vibrant city below. On a more positive note, yes, I do have twin boys and they are of mixed descent.
As a young boy growing up, my favorite day of the year was always Christmas Eve. There was always something magical about that day, although maybe not in the way you would think. It was never about the presents, although what little boy would turn them down?
No, it was always about the ending – a fitting magical end to a holiday season that for me, always had its start in pain and suffering. In my mind, the holidays always began on Thanksgiving weekend.
I learned later in life that my home situation while growing up was not the norm as I had always thought, but one colored by abuse – both physical and mental, not to mention, emotional.
My mother loved cooking for our large family, and especially for the children. Thanksgiving was the day that her cooking and baking expertise shone. However, that very weekend was also the time that set off my father down a very dark path for the entire holiday season.
The vision of one Thanksgiving Day, in particular, is still fresh in my mind. That day my father, drinking heavily, grabbed the stuffed turkey and threw it soundly against the wall. That act and several that followed caused my mother to grab me and my siblings and take us to a motel until my father sobered up. Little did I know that the events of that holiday season would permeate my psyche, affect my behavior, and become the driving force behind my identity for decades to come.
For the next four weeks my siblings and I heard from him how there would be no Christmas. Since my father grew up with neither presents nor a tree – we would have none of that either. He told us we didn’t deserve it … because we were losers – and would always be losers. It was a terrible time; I saw the worry on my mother’s face although it was something I would not understand for many years.
My mother was an amazing woman who was always able to make things happen. I awoke on that Christmas Eve and saw that magic had taken place. There was a Christmas tree and a present under it for me and each of my siblings. It turned out to be an event and a celebration greater than any Santa Claus could ever imagine – if only for that one day.
At the time, being just a child, I did I know that what my father said to me and my siblings actually reflected the ways he viewed himself. It was a story that he created from his experiences and it took me many years of emotional pain, homelessness, and losing everything I had to discover that the story was never mine to take on – although I did. Years later – and today – I see that the story was an illusion that I bought completely and believed in.
I had to journey to the depths of losing everything so that I could find the leader within. I had to let go of the illusions that directed my life from that holiday day on to be able to find and lead a life of gratitude and authenticity and experience the incredible abundance I now have in my life.
My low self-esteem that was ingrained into me that holiday season defined who I believed I was as a manager, a husband, a father and a leader of others … for over 40 years.
I invite you now to enter your own journey to discover the magic within you. This is a magic that can awaken you and allow you to live your own life in gratitude – and abundance. I would be most honored to join you on that journey and be your guide along the way.