and it was an especially bad day to have a severe hangover. I had a sales rally to lead, a very big event for our company. I knew the routine though: shower, sober up, and put on a suit and tie.
At the time, I was blessed with a wonderful wife, a lovely daughter, a talented son, a huge home, a motor yacht, and a job as president of a large, nationally known real estate company – life in California was great. I’d come a long way from small-town beginnings in Indiana, and my father’s angry prediction that I’d never amount to anything more than a garbage man.
After all, I was raised as a Navy brat. The second of five sons born in seven years to a career Navy man who was always away.
and the way I escaped the boredom of the midwest, the teasing of four brothers, and failing grades was by partying most nights and every weekend.
Alcohol and drugs became my constant companions, and as a senior, my dad tried to “set down the law” and “knock” some sense into me. Instead, it activated my inner rebel and at 17, I moved out of my parents’ house to show the world what I was made of.
Self-determination, big dreams, and big ideas went along with my nickname of “Bigs”. I didn’t do anything small or in a small way. After finishing high school and taking some college courses, I agreed to drive with a friend to California. My friend was moving there and I was just taking a little vacation. Well, that vacation turned into my permanent residency.
But the habits I picked up as a teenager followed me west. I did everything in a BIG way; I worked hard, played hard, and lived large. I must say that my drinking never stifled my ambition or my drive to succeed. All the reading I had done as a kid when my brothers were playing sports, served me well in my entrepreneurial drive.
Books like Think And Grow Rich, and writers such as Edgar Cayce, Katherine Ponder, Dr. Wayne Dyer, and Deepak Chopra inspired my hunger for wealth and desire as well as to manifest on a spiritual level.
As my bank account and lust for materialism grew, so did my appetite for alcohol. In everything that I did my attitude was “more is better”. More houses, more investment properties, more toys, more trips, more, more, more. With all the more came more alcohol until it just didn’t work anymore.
alcohol had subtly poisoned my life. It led to internal bleeding which almost left me dead, a deep vein thrombosis, a fatty liver that was so bad I was denied life insurance, and worst of all, a worried wife and family.
The beginning of the end came during this particular morning hangover when I could barely get out of bed.
The one thing that got my attention was noticing that my 16-year-old daughter had emptied every bottle of alcohol in the house.
On our center island in the kitchen, there were at least 40 empty bottles and the yellow pages were open with Alcoholics Anonymous circled with a note that said “get help!”
I was so depleted, so embarrassed and empty, that showering wasn’t washing away the after-effects of a fifth of bourbon.
Suddenly, as real as the shower water flowing over my body, I saw two images in front of me, each with the quality of a hologram. One of a decrepit man bent over looking like life beat the shit out of him. The other, a man vivacious, energetic, and full of life.
Hungover, but suddenly very sober, I realized that both of the men are me – and that the decrepit, homeless-looking version of myself was the one I was on course to become.
For most of my life, I had two best friends, God, and alcohol. God
was a friend since my childhood who gave me a “knowingness” that there was something “big” out there for me, beyond what I could yet imagine for myself. Alcohol was a friend to numb the pain I felt
about not feeling like I fit in, wrestling with true purpose, and a hard relationship with dad.
Staring at the alternate visions of myself in the shower, I could finally see the price I’d pay for my addiction. I got help and since that day, I have never again drank even a sip of alcohol.
and I rose to the position of the CEO of a 25 billion dollar Warren Buffet real estate company within three short years. Although it was a crowning achievement in my career, there was still a richer, more meaningful chapter in my life to come.
As a child, I didn’t know quite what to call or make of the “knowingness” that guided me internally. I had a strict Catholic upbringing, but it was only when I came across writings on New Thought, Eastern spirituality, and Buddhism, that I confirmed my belief and gave this knowingness the name “God.” I began a life-long exploration of ego and spirit awareness. Later, with my sobriety and new understandings, came a personal mantra:
I left my traditional company role in real estate, and I began coaching people to be their best selves and do their greatest professional work. I stepped into being a Purpose-driven Consultant, Coach, Board Advisor, and Speaker. It was in this capacity that the guiding “knowingness” of my childhood, God, finally revealed the “Big” thing that I was born to do. I am here to help people realize they are spiritual beings having a human experience, and to help guide them to wield an even greater business strategy with spiritual intelligence as a key influence in their ultimate level and depth of success.
On this date, I got my first tattoo. In numerology, this date breaks down to an 11, a master number. “11 is the most intuitive of all numbers. It is instinctual, charismatic, dynamic and capable when its sights are set on a concrete goal. 11 is the number associated with faith and psychic ability.”
Also regarding numbers. I just recently turned 55 and this breaks down to a 10.
I have never had any issue with birthdays, getting older, the “number” etc. I always know it is a state of mind. However, for some weird and unexpected reason, this year really bugged me and kinda gnawed at my mind and soul.
It was a time for real reflection and to look back on all that was or was not and all that is. For about a day or so before and after my birthday, I just felt at odds and a bit melancholy. I did some soul searching, regrouped, talked, and prayed about it as well as laughed hard with a friend who shared the same age and birth week who was having the exact same experience. We quickly got over it and moved on!
Knowing 55 is the new 35, and many 35-year-olds get tattoos, I did too!
The tree with roots represents the tree of an ever-growing life with roots deep in core beliefs while continuing to reach and grow towards the sun and light.
The colors throughout range from the red in “ego” all the way through to the top word “IGI” which is in purple. The colors inside the circle make up the rest of the colors of the 7 chakras.
Red is the color of the word “ego” which symbolizes base human instincts and needs. These are primary and sometimes animalistic and are energies of the 1st root chakra.
Orange is present in the roots of the tree and represents creativity and feelings which are associated with the 2nd, sexual chakra.
Yellow, which symbolizes the 3rd chakra located in our solar plexus, is found in the lightning streak through the middle of the circle.
It is the center of our being and intellect, like the sun.
Green is the little butterfly to the right of the tree and represents the 4th chakra of the heart whose energy is of healing, balance, and serenity. The butterfly symbol is known to represent the soul, resurrection, endurance, change, hope, and life.
Blue is found in the dove to the left of the tree. This symbolizes the 5th chakra found in the throat. This energy is about communication, and the ability to soothe the soul and speak truth.
The indigo/turquoise mix at the center-top of the tree represents the third eye or the 6th chakra. This is our spiritual awareness and connects us to the spiritual world.
In violet is the word “IGI” in the place of the 7tth chakra at the crown of the head. This is our inner knowing and our connection to cosmic awareness and consciousness represented by the unifying color of oneness.
This tattoo symbolizes the transformation from ego to IGI. The IGI font is what is called an “Elephant Font.” So, since I was in Thailand, I was inspired to get this tattoo. Elephants are sacred and honored there and it only seemed appropriate. Elephants also symbolize strength, power loyalty, and wealth.
The very center of the symbol looks both like a lightning
bolt and a river. We all know the phrase “a river runs through it” just as life is always in motion, never staying the same and always flowing.
The lightning bolt also represents power and energy of Mother Nature. Additionally, it stands for the rareness of a lightning strike which teaches us to always be prepared for the miraculous.
The concept behind ego and IGI is that e.g.o. stands for Edging God (good) Out.
This phrase has been said by wise spiritual leaders throughout time, but I first read it in a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer where it hit me so clearly and strongly.
I believe the definition of God is “the sum of all that is”. Thus, God is still in ego but resonating at a lower vibration and lower level. So when we focus on our own selfish needs and are boastful, materialistic, and not being of service – then we are living solely in ego.
I decided to create an acronym for myself to always remind me to do my best to stay out of ego when and where possible.
Therefore, the opposite of ego – Edging God (good) Out is I.G.I. – Inviting God (good) In.
For years I have asked myself, “am I in ego or IGI?” I do this daily and every time I face a challenge. Such as when I can’t make a decision, am at a crossroads, feel stuck or trapped, am tempted, etc.
It is also amazing how in one small thing there can be so much meaning, power, wisdom, impact, creation, and life. Just as the basic elements of atoms, molecules, cells, DNA, sperm and egg, a raindrop, or even a single powerful thought are so small yet contain all of life.
This unexpected tattoo, and all the intense, deep, and swift thought that went into it once the decision was made represents my life and how I choose to impact the lives of others where I can. It is a reminder for me to stay out of “ego” and stay in “IGI.”
I ask daily how I may serve using my unique talents, gifts, and abilities through servant leadership while helping others find all of this in themselves.
The most important thing is to daily live my true purpose and God’s intended co-created desire for me in this life and to do my best as I help others.
I choose to transition, transform, and evolve to my highest good in life and business!
It has been very long in coming. In fact, I saved many web domain names on this theme and registered a book title to hold a place for the creations of the book.
The inspired burst of creativity in Thailand which gave birth to this tattoo has re-ignited my commitment creation, to living fully in every moment, and to being even more daring and adventurous on the path ahead.
Stay tuned for more of my ever-unfolding story to Invite God In and aid others to do the same!