Re: I Am Not Your Guru — Three Key Life Moments


In Episode 2 of the Live, Lift, Love Podcast, I gave a quick rundown of Tony Robbins, I Am Not Your Guru. While watching it I tweeted the title, then followed up with, "I am not my own guru." Both true.

I watched, learned, felt, and enjoyed the experience of watching people share their lives and find truth in their own hearts. Truth in self is vital.

Towards the end, during the last day of this 6 day retreat, Tony tells all the guests to think back to their earliest memory. My mind went back to a memory I have always thought of as being my earliest.  

My Youngest Self

It's my birthday. I have a white sweatsuit on. Their are different martial arts written on it in red and blue: Karate, Tai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, Jiu Jitsu, etc. I always remember it being one of the, if not the, last pure moments of my childhood. It was either my 5th or 6th birthday. Everything seemed downhill after that.

The documentary finished and I was stuck in bed reliving that moment. I remember my mother's smile, girls chasing me, the kitchen table full of candy and snacks, and dancing freely.

Sharing With A Friend

I messaged a few people and told them they should check out the documentary. 

About two weeks later I get a phone call from one of my friends.

"You know how we say 'fuck you' to each other for putting us onto some real shit?"


"You motherfucker! Fuck you for telling me about that Tony Robbins documentary. Cliff, that shit was amazing."

I laughed and we spent about 30 minutes recapping key moments. He brought up remembering your earliest childhood memory and I went back into a state of nostalgia. Then he added something else that brought me back to the moment.

"So when he brought up remembering the three key moments in your life..."

"Wait, what?"

"The three key moments in your life?"

I shook my head at myself. I was so stuck reliving my earliest childhood memory I missed a defining moment.

My friend shared his three key life moments and I said I'd have to get in deep thought to figure mine out.

Moment #1: Moving to Miami (2013)

I know that growth and change come naturally with time, but I know I would be an extreme lesser version of myself had I never moved to Miami. I found myself, love, balance, and a new perspective for life on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Over the past three years I've let go of a lot of hate and negative energy that had consumed me for over 20 years. I learned what freedom truly meant, and slowly began working on fully living as a free person. As much as I dislike Miami, I'm forever grateful for the tone it set in my life. 

Moment #2: My First Interview For A Writer Position (2014)

I never viewed my writing as being good. It's a very cliché perspective; many creatives tend to look back and dislike the things they've made. The writing samples I sent out for this position were the ones I hated the least. Once I sat down for the interview, I received a lot of praise and feedback for my language, humor, and creativity. The last time that happened I was in the 6th grade. 

I didn't get the role, but it put me on the path to know that my passion could soon become a career if I applied myself. I've been writing for a living for two years now. In those two years, my most notable accomplishment was winning an essay contest writing about my experience growing up in Brooklyn. I'm just getting started it seems.

Moment #3: Visiting My Biological Father's Grave (2009)

I spent years hating a man I never knew or met — it was so easy. Making that first trip took courage and humility. The first trip was a release of emotion and anger. The second trip was to connect — for the first time. I sat there with a flask and toasted to his life. I let the hate go that day — liquor is funny that way. The third trip was just to pay respect.

Each trip allows me to feel free and connected. In a cemetery, freedom is OK. 

I still visit periodically. My grandfather is buried in the same cemetery. I experience a full spectrum of emotion with two men who are deeply rooted in my life — a man I knew and loved dearly versus a man I never knew and neither hate or love. I'm just angry that he's in his current condition.

Reflect on Self

What's your earliest childhood memory? 

What were you wearing? Who was with you? What did it feel like? What does it feel like now?

What are your three defining life moments?

How have they made you who you are today?