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What life experience have you gained the most personal growth from?

I believe I am the co-creator of my life and everything which takes place. I have created for my highest good, in order to move me forward to connect to my true self at a deeper level. Thus, how I choose to perceive the event is immaterial. What is important to me, is what have I gained from the experience, so I do not enter the wheel of repetition(stuck).

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    Jul 19 2012: After getting my tech degree, I spent some time wandering around the hostel system in Europe. Florence, Venice, Rome, Barcelona, Athens, Prague, Amsterdam, Paris, Munich... All for about 3 grand.

    What really surprised me, more than anything else, was how scared Americans were. Talking about riding the trains to the hostels, made the hotel dwellers look at me like I was nuts... It's all very nice and safe. "Did you get robbed?" "Assaulted?".... "No, of course not... Where do you think we are?"

    Bill Maher just recently said something that reminded me of the experience "You know what I notice when I go to our national parks? The only people there are Germans, and Canadians, and Australians, because they have vacation days, and we don't". It's not just that... Americans don't know how to vacation.

    I saw a huge chunk of Europe over 2 months for the price most Americans spend on a week somewhere. Why do people fly thousands of miles to get drunk in a club on the beach? All of the most amazing things human beings have ever created... are really cheap. Drinks are expensive everywhere.

    I met at least 20 incredibly memorable people from England, Australia, Germany, and Canada... Only 1 or 2 Americans, and I wanted to get rid of them almost immediately. They never wanted to go on an adventure with a local, or see something "the tourists miss". The Australians, English, and Canadians followed me around, and let me follow them around on all sorts of crazy shenanigans.

    It really made me realize that for all the things America does well... Vacationing, relaxing, and meeting new people are not our strengths... but I would like them to be one of mine. If you're ever between jobs, and not broke, travel, and do so on a shoestring budget, stay in hostels, not hotels. Wander off to a town you never heard of. Follow a stranger somewhere that sounds interesting. You won't regret it.
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      Jul 21 2012: A great post, David. I have to agree exploring other countries has to be among the most eye-opening experiences there are, and a positive, self-elected choice it is. [BTW, congratulations, Sabrina! that one was negative in nature and forced, but you came out on top!] I only had 3 weeks and almost no money but managed to see a very diverse swathe of Germany (I even got mugged in Frankfurt - who could ask for a more authentic experience than that?) :) But it was 99% positive and the people were awesome everywhere I went. I just wish those crazy kids hadn't tried to out-race the train to Düsseldorf; all 4 auto passengers were killed and several selfish bastards on the train "were going to be late." My favorite, most peaceful little town was Tauberbischofsheim, which had a little self-curated museum run by a very old man whose granddaughter gave a special ad hoc tour in English, as my German was too weak to really appreciate all he said. I could go on and on, and it was all inside 3 weeks.
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    Jul 18 2012: I celebrated my 52nd birthday recently, so my answer is derived from that base of expeience. I was diagnosed 12 years ago with Type 2 Diabetes. At that time, I was also told that as a result of that disease, I would be blind in a short period of time. Since I am an artist, this was a problem!

    During this same period, and as result of not being able to read, paint, sew, or do much f anything with my eyes, I looked inward to "see" my soul. Turns out, I have a very nice soul. What's more, I also discovered exactly what I was trying to distract myself from with all the reading, painting, sewing, and what not. My "dis-ease" and near-blindness forced me to see my true self and my true situation. I faced being the victim of incest, discovered bad patterns for coping ( chocolate cupcakes), learned how to be kind to me, and how to says 'yes' and 'no' for myself.

    So a big "thank you" to Type2 Diabetes. You shaped the woman I am today!
  • Jul 17 2012: I refused to comply with conscription by the South African Defence Force at the age of 18 at the beginning of 1979. I spent the next three years not only as pariah to friends and family, but also in and out of the SADF detention barracks. It was the most beneficial period of my life in that it so successfully allowed me to escape the perceptual cocoon my parents and their environment had woven me into.
    • Jul 17 2012: This is great, so it sounds like you learn to stand in your own power, is this true?
      • Jul 18 2012: Yes, but there's more too. Finding a moral standpoint is one thing, but living it is another. Flaws that remain unchallenged in a philosophical construct often fall apart in practice. I was on my own at the time because the people and organisations with similar ideas were all underground. Being the only one meant that I had to continuously question my own sanity.
        Not being able to go home meant that I had to find other places to live and hide. These brought me into contact with, and sometimes put me at the mercy of, new people and environments that I would never have come into contact with otherwise. I discovered that there were many different ways of understanding the world and that I could choose between them as I wished. Understanding that there is no one perfect way for anything, and that I could allow myself the space to understand as many of these ways as I allowed myself before choosing - that was the real power.
        Thank you for asking Teresa.
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          Jul 31 2012: Thank you Ian. Your bravery inspires me. I am speechless.
  • Jul 31 2012: I so honor you position, it is always so easy to accept what we have lost from an experience, but I believe true growth comes from understanding what we have gained, which allows us to connect more deeply to our true selves. We are all one.
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    Jul 31 2012: The birth of both my kids were the absolute paramount experiences and on the other side of the coin, the losses of loved ones have been some of my most defining experiences. Recently the conceptualization of the idea of causality has changed my whole perspective on my life. I recently experienced a visualization of the past, present and future of humanity as represented by an infinite tapestry woven by the threads created by the actions of individuals. Whenever an individual acts a thread is woven into the ever growing tapestry. Even after a person dies, new threads are created as resonances recur through history. Think of Aristotle and all of the thought that was influenced by him. Think of Newton, Pythagoras, Edison, Ford, Orville and Wilbur Wright..... Thousands of great influences.... Billions of smaller influences... Even the profoundly negative has had its impact on our reality. I would not be here today had Hitler not been so evil since my grandparents met because of WWII. Every action we take helps cause ripples through time - creating threads that interweave with other people's threads ... people we may never meet. Yet if we had not said something on a certain day, two people might not have met and fallen in love and created the next Martin Luther King Jr. Let's try to make life experiences that affect humanity in positive ways.
  • Jul 21 2012: Personal growth is a choice, we can choose to look at every opportunity, negative or positive, from a point of what can I learn about myself, how can I connect to myself at a deeper level, how can I take what I have gain and incorporate this experience into my being, or not. I love hearing about opportunities for growth, they are inspiring and hopefully, even contagious!
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      Jul 24 2012: For me it was in relationships especially parenting.
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    Jul 17 2012: .

    My birth.

  • Jul 17 2012: At the risk of being trite, being a parent has forced me to grow and learn more than all of my other experience combined.