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Book 323 - A Year of Magical Learning

Reflection Title: That Little Voice Inside Us All!

Book – The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson

Book Description:

Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair’s brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his “World’s Fair Hotel” just west of the fairgrounds—a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium. Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake.


Reflection:

There is that little voice inside your mind that tells you when you do something “wrong”. We all know it and we all hear it.


Even on trivial things we hear it, like when you talk crap about your friend behind their back to another friend. You know what you are about to do is wrong and not representative of who you say you want to be, and yet you do it anyway. Even if the act seems trivial and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, that voice inside your head doesn’t agree. After the deed is done, that little voice immediately starts chirping and says, “That wasn’t cool, why did you do that?” You shake it off and keep moving on about your day.


If that is all that I heard from the little voice, we’d probably just get used to ignoring it, but that isn’t how it works. That little voice is persistent and relentless. It will not stop until it has answers.


You’ll find yourself calmly watching TV and you’ll hear it again the next day, but this time ready to pepper you with a barrage of new questions. “That wasn’t cool, Chris. Why did you do that? How could you do that? Is that who you want be? Is that how you want to treat your “friends”? How would you feel if you were on the person that was being discussed negatively amongst 2 so called “friends”? What were you hoping to accomplish? Do you feel better about yourself?”


You shake it off again and keep going through your day.


Later that day, you are walking through the grocery store and out of nowhere you hear it again. “Chris, you should be disgusted with yourself. How could you treat people that way? What is wrong with you? Is this who you want to be?”


Finally, you’ve had enough! You agree to talk to that little voice. You sit down at the table with it, and you give it what it wants, a conversation. You discuss what you did, why you did it, and how it was in violation with your values. You acknowledge that the little voice is right, and this is not who you want to be or how you want to live your life. You make an agreement that you will strive to listen to the voice when it reminds you of this conversation next time a similar situation arises.


Finally, the little voice relents, and you can resume living your life again. What a relief!!!


That little voice is there for a reason, it keeps you in line with who you say you want to be in life. That little voice comes out only when you violate your values. Its job is to help to remind you of who you say you want to be and how you want to live your life. It is your internal compass keeping you on the path of purpose. You don’t hear that voice when you do things that are in alignment with your life for a reason because you are doing what you feel is “right”.


Can you imagine what life would be like if you didn’t have that little nagging voice watching over what you do and constantly working to put you back on the right path?


I can, it looks like H.H. Holmes, the devil from The Devil in the White City. That dude, and humans like him, must have found a way to shoot his inner voice to be able to continue doing what they did throughout their lives. That is the only way I can imagine the heinous things they did to even being a possibility. People like H.H. Holmes make it clear what life looks like when you lose your inner compass, and it doesn’t look great.


While I, and most all of us, may have a love/hate relationship with our inner critics. I, for one, am even more grateful for that little nagging voice after hearing stories like this one. I’ll make sure to never forget to listen. Thank you for all you do and keeping me on the path to purpose.


Question: Are you listening to your inner critic?



 

Links:


What is The Year of Magical Learning? An Introduction


YOML Podcast Discussion - Coming Soon


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