About Elizabeth Darby

Writer Author Coach; award-winning international conservation journalist for 25 years; vocation workshop guide; consultant and facilitator; storyteller; "great speaker!"; "so helpful. . ."'

Who are you? Who are you Now?

IMG_20170707_210028It’s a new day.

Or the end of one.

 

So who were you yesterday?

And who are you now?

 

This is a question I keep turning over in my mind. Am I the same person at the end of this new day that I was when it started? Or who I was before today? Years ago? Months ago? Weeks ago?

So much life pours into us and through us each day. As the saying goes, life changes in a blink of an eye. We can only let it change us, but do we know how it does?

The question vexes me because our external circumstance has changed so much from before we all were told to hide (ok, isolate) in our homes for safety from an invisible virus that presents danger to so many of us. And just as we think this circumstance is passing over and we emerge to feel we can “return to before,” we find it is still in the air. Literally. And we are encouraged to stay home, stay safe again.

All this time of “lockdown,” is quite like a cocoon. And when we emerge, will we discover who we’ve become. Will we even recognize ourselves?

I’m not sure I recognize myself. So much that defined me before seems to be more like an exoskeleton now, to be left behind and blown away by the wind, while who I am and will be now, after illness, after time in solo isolation, after time in cocoon, after experiencing life changing me, is still unknown.

Yet it’s the same singular life path as before, and same one life journey. But every voyage changes us, if we can only keep up with who we’ve become.

So who am I now?

How have you changed from life before to life now?

What new light is showing your path from here?

 

A Curse

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“I feel I must be cursed.”

This was said months ago by one I care about, but who chose a few years ago to take a different path to feel more comfortable with his life.

I feel I must be cursed.

Brambles.

Unable to see through them or identify the things that hurt and tangle us as we try a different route. Or even to continue on the route we thought we were on.

It feels like every way is blocked even tho our path and purpose seem to be just on the other side of the thicket.

I get it.

We all do, because we all have moments like this.

Dark coming on, not enough to sustain us as we continue on our way, not knowing if we’ll get “there” — wherever “there” was supposed to be. Running out of resources and time, or vice versa. The things we need now— love, security, joy, means, pennies— running on empty and no signs that say “Food, Gas, Replenishment, 1 mile” or “It’s going to Be Okay, 5 miles” in sight.

And it’s always easier to feel burdened by a curse, something laid on from outside, than to sit quietly with the horror that maybe I brought it on myself, as I have, even if just from a simple, honest mistake. A mis-take, an error in the grasping of a circumstance I face in this moment.

I’ve felt that often, too, in these last few years, months, days. Looking forever behind me for the moment I took the turn that led to, as T.S.Eliot described for all of us in the 20th century: The Waste Land:

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow

Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,

You cannot say, or guess, for you know only

A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,

And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief.

And the dry stone no sound of water…

 

Thank you T.S. Eliot. That is as close as I’ve ever read to how being cursed feels. A blockage put on us from outside ourselves, with a mysterious power, which dismantles our own light-force. Nothing we try to do to help ourselves works, for we can only see a heap of broken images…

…Until the moment we realize that maybe we are standing in merely a shadow at noon. Something we can step out of, if only we pick up a foot to test if the line between shadow and light is really impossible to breach. Maybe tip a toe first to see if it hurts, this line seemingly as impenetrable as a thicket.

I looked up “curse,” being me. I wondered about its etymology, its origin, its history, because when you understand where a word comes from, you can often understand the weight it also carries with it, as burden or as power. For nothing earthly is more powerful than words. They inspire. They kill. They darken others when of anger or hate. They enlighten when of love, with others, our selves, or our world.

“Curse” has no known source as a word. My faithful go-to Origins, by Eric Partridge, traces it back to Old English where it disappears into the swamp “o.o.o.”—of obscure origins—but he offers some guesses.

On one hand “curse” might come from a very old French, meaning to anger (coroz), which itself evolved from very old Latin corruptus, or corrumpere. Yes, akin to corrupt, which in itself carries the heavy weight of having broken up morally—or ruptured from—our light-filled self. Alas, no outer thing to blame here, no curse to reverse with a spell. It’s all inner struggle, these thick brambles that block seeing our way forward from this moment.

There is another possibility, Partridge notes, from a more modern (ok, just Middle) Latin. Perhaps a “curse” is a course, “a series of prayers, especially prayers of imprecation,” meaning we pray repeatedly against someone, certainly praying against ourselves in the process.

In either case, to feel accursed means we have ruptured with our light, our life force, our sense of mission and purpose while on earth. Worse perhaps we repeatedly pray words against ourselves in the process for a mis-take, something we didn’t intend to seize or take (or do?) but which hurts nonetheless.

No wonder brambles feel to be on every side.

The good news is that if we can pray at all in our dark despair, we can also choose to pray— to ask, to request, to woo—that which we seek to light us up inside. We can earnestly seek to mend our rupture within ourselves, so that in asking for direction, for the circumstances of our bramble to get better, we, too, are wooed back into the light of the stardust from which we began our journey. We can ask repeatedly that we be wooed back into love and loving our short time of life.

… I was neither

Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,

Looking into the heart of light, the silence.

For this is essential to living the life, the path, the purpose for which we are here and now

If you only had one prayer left—one last request—in this world, what would it be?

Be that now.

 

 

 

 

Another Path

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We are always starting again, it seems.

Always a new path is seeming to appear just off the one we thought we were on. No signposts.

Is it a path? Or Is it a path wild animals took before us, a “game trail”, winding along a hillside seemingly aimlessly. Until you follow it and find it leads to water.

Of course it could also be a dead end. More than once I’ve taken both what I thought was a pathway just to find it stopped at a cliff. Other times I’ve followed the faintest of game trails, just to find the elusive animal leaped away, and the trail itself vanished so I had to retrace the steps back to the known.

Beginning this blog again is a new path. Obviously it’s been a while and I’ve been wandering in deep woods. Or so it seems from the absence of work here. Instead my path of these last few years was essentially hijacked, as so many of us learn, by the decline of elderly parents whose sudden needs are so overwhelming there is little time for one’s own path pursuits. I don’t say this unkindly; I say it realistically yet knowing that no parent intends to hijack their children’s path, nor do they want to have to. Walking with my mother’s on her path through a decade of dementia is one path totally unexpected to each of us. Trying to join my father on his path with cancer, till he decided to end treatment and resisted all company, was another. For them to coincide, to unify into one path under that complicated term “home hospice,” 45 years after their lives together untwined in divorce, is one of those things to muse on, if there’s any time to do so.

A lot of people are finding themselves on new paths suddenly as well. The invisible but deadly virus in the air around us has put the humans around the world on a new path   and one none of us expected really.

We shelter in place, any plans and paths we thought we were on vanished beneath our feet. We emerge in masks only to find the world around us has changed. Jobs are gone or may never come back. Careers we thought we had have veered off cliffs. We’ve spent time with families, if lucky, or learned to try to connect with them across a airwaves and wifi and in the worst case, were unable to see them as their path ended and ours was barred.

Yes we are all on a new path, one we didn’t expect, and for many of us, our life paths feel hijacked.

Take a moment here. The sun has come up again. The sky is beautiful no matter what is happening in it or where you are, from storms to sun, clouds and rain to striking blue.

This moment is the only step we need to know.

And that’s good because it’s the only one we’re certain of.

If you can see the sky and take a breath, you are on a path and it will lead somewhere.

It’s always been this way, but being shocked into living in this moment, even if it’s the only way to get through years of living moment to moment, day to day as we do near the end of our lives and as we do accompanying those we love to their final breaths, and as we do when faced with the unknown before us, we quickly realize path will take care of itself. For now.

We will find our way again soon.

It certainly will be a new world and a new path, as we all start anew, but we will find our path that brings us to being our heart-filled self, authentic and fierce in our purpose to live shining.

Take a moment again. Just for fun, doodle a path you’ve just discovered leading out your door and to a world you wish to see anew.

 

Being Alive

What does being alive feel like? Are you alive right now?

Silly question, yes, as if you weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading this, of course.

But the important question is what else wouldn’t you be doing?

 No, this is not going to be one of those morose ‘Wanted a life, ‘live or dead’’ posts which encourages you to be reckless or, worse, ruthless, with your time, your heart, your responsibilities, your health, or most importantly, those you love, while in pursuit of your dreams.

It’s more tender than that, I hope.

It’s about what ‘alive’ feels like and how to fit feeling it into more moments, like the yummy jelly that, when one slathers it on a little too generously, a little too joyfully, a little too delightedly, it squishes out the sides of the peanut butter sandwich. That kind of feeling alive, licking it off, smiling at the ‘mistake’ and the utter sweetness of this moment overflowing with just a little more than is judged ‘necessary.’

That kind of alive.

 

There are a lot of “last looks” in my life right now. Those times when one looks and knows that it will be irretrievably different the next time.

Like the ‘last look’ at the ocean the night before flying home to a land-locked desert.

Or a last look at a garden in October.

 

Last night, I walked circles in my yard, accompanying a beloved companion who is in her last hours and moments alive here on Earth and is feeling restless. We walked through snow, through heavy snowflakes on the wind during a Spring storm, through star-studded night when the clouds suddenly lifted, through cold wind filled with frozen blossoms from our trees, and then slowly back into our warm house, only to repeat the journey every hour or so in the wee hours of the morning till dawn when she finally rested.

I was tired, yes, but she was more so. She knows her time is near; it’s obvious to all of us. So I couldn’t begrudge the time spent with her doing exactly as she pleased, or the cold night. It was full of ‘alive’ things to feel, to smell, to notice, to feel, I say again.

Instead I wondered what I’d do if, like her, I had the luxury of such knowing that life is lived moment to moment, not in years or in business cycles, just moment to moment living. (We all do have that luxury.)

Would I too stop and breathe deeply, aware of the depth of cold flowing inside my chest? Would I mind or marvel at the snowflakes thick on my eyelashes?

In watching her, I was shown how to be alive in this moment, for actually the snowflakes were cloaking my lashes as well, but I was observing, not necessarily feeling. I was observing her, alive, rather than feeling the wonder as well; I was feeling the cold under my coat and the sadness of the moment. She, beyond care for such things as time, simply lived the moment fully. It was then, in realizing this, that I too began to feel the wonder of the moment and the fullness of ‘alive’ and what it means, breathing cold air and seeing through cloaked flakes with her, nearby, together.

So are you alive? As you read this, Is there something sensual that awakens in you to the experience of just right now?

What does this have to do with being one’s best in this moment, or on one’s life path, or of feeling here for a purpose and a heart-filled task to do?

 

Everything, I think.

 I can’t say it was my purpose to be in outside in the night with her trapsing through ever more snow, hour by hour, but there is no one else to be so or to do it. It is just us and this time and this place. So no doubt it is my purpose and no doubt in memory it will be my honor, a call out of dense blank sleep to be at my best rather than cranky about the cold wind or the hour.

 

We are each called to moments in which to be alive, whether alone or with someone or something else, in which to feel a heart-full of love and gratitude, wonder and awe.

This is one now.

Blessings on you as you live it.

 Elizabeth Darby

 

 

 

It’s Enough

There are times in which I feel I go in circles. I feel we all do.

I see the immense number of tomes out there on success, a best life right now, living in joy, having all we want and yet, I see the flip side on every street corner, in every grocery store line, and sometimes even within when doubt clouds the morning: If this great/perfect/successful life were so easy, wouldn’t we all have achieved a Life: On Task and On Purpose by now?

The first self-help book came out in 1859, The Guardian noted in December.  Self-help is a $15 billion dollar industry and is the best-selling genre.  So what is missing that trips us up inside, and yet causes us to reach for more books promising to help us discover what is missing, certain that someone else must know what it is? That’s the circle. And so I, personally, go quiet when trying to understand this Gordian knot.

Is it mere dissatisfaction with our lot; the self-help industry is largely an American creation after all. Could it be that our cultural dissatisfaction — which to my mind was beget by people dissatisfied with where they were originally and so sailed across oceans for an opportunity to build a better life — is just, well, our culture? That would cue the comment that Americans dream big, want lots, and thus would of course feel concerned if they thought another had more:  more happiness, more contentment, more stuff, more life.  And thus, s/he would be forever wondering what the other person has that puts a smile on the face; is it something I don’t have or feel?

Or is there something more than culture driving our binge on self-help?

I sometimes think that what is missing from living a life On Task and On Purpose is simply this: feeling enough.

And feeling our dreams and talents, no matter how humble they might feel, are enough.

Some might call it confidence that is missing, but we all know the confident person who barely masks feeling inadequate. Some might call it joy or connection, yet we all know joy doesn’t last long under the assault of disregard and connection can feel frayed when others disbelieve your heart-felt dream or longed-after talent is enough to put to use. I know this from experience; we all do.

Feeling enough:

Enough to feel even if just for a minute your dream work is valuable;

Enough to feel for even just a second that you have something specific that only you can do in your time here;

Enough to feel it’s okay to feel excited that this might be true.

 

I was honored to talk recently to high schoolers who attended a small public charter school designed to help them graduate. Most there, it seemed, hadn’t heard about a billion-dollar self-help industry and clearly most there weren’t sure they’d ever ‘be enough’ by others’ standards. But when asked, a few of them bravely shared aloud their dreams, the work they’d wanted to do since they were 9 or 10, in their life-time here.  From shy and sullen silence, joy was suddenly audible when the dreams were met with Yes! encouragement.

I can tell you that every one of their dreams was more than ‘enough’ to feel on task and on purpose, serving the Truth of their souls and life-hopes.  I hope they got the message:

 They are each enough to do the work, the dream, of their journey, on task and on purpose, just by showing up with passion, focus, belief that they can learn what they need to know, and with themselves and their Truth in hand.

 

You are, too.

By feeling enough, the circle of discontent and doubt can stop right there and instead lead out to a great path in the time one has here on earth. It’s the path you are here to undertake and the work you are here to do.

Blessings on your day today!

 

 

 

As If alive…

So much is written about each of us living as if… as if… as if…

 And the ‘as if…’ is full of our dreams.

 

Live as if… you are enough.

 

Live as if … you are supported, being just who you are.

 

Live as if… you are worthy of joy, of love, of being seen and appreciated just as you are.

 

Live as if… you are entirely supported by an abundance within — one that is as vast it is as incomprehensible

and awesome as a night sky filled with equally incomprehsible distance, invisible substance, and star stuff.

 

For you are.

 

 

And then our Work-work voice kicks in: (Who does it sound like?)

 

“OK, I’m living this way…..  Yes. Now!…”

Enter heavy weight lifter from your inner vision, and the guttural sounds made lifting this enormous belief seem to begin.

“OK, I’m living this way…..  Yes. Now!…” 

 

When a child, was such imagination and vision ever so much work?

Did we scowl and groan at the weight of our ‘living as if’ we were the princess or the cowboy, the Ninja or the dancer, the sky-skipper, or the inspired Olympic athletes which in our imagination, heart, dream, and inner child-like souls, we actually were?

 

No, that ‘living as if’ was effortless. It was full of light and joy. It was easy, if not a preferred place to spend our time, away from the dreary, fearful, angry, harsh, lonely, or busy, noisy and chore-laden boxings of ‘home life.’

 

So why is it not now as easy as when we were child-like children?  Why do we need instructions and affirmations to remind how how light — light–filled and lightly — going It was to live as if our ‘visions’ and our ‘dreams’ were real?

 

I suggest it still is.

 

And, I suggest, that the heaviness, the Work-work weight-lifer, is learned, whether when we had to  ‘grow up’ or when we felt ourselves suddenly very alone in this world, learning to make our way forward.

 

So living ‘as if’, taking action ‘as if’ has become a verified tool. We use it as a tool to get our souls engaged in feeling, feeling our longing might actually be met with substance.

 

But stop. Breathe for a moment. Don’t hold ‘living as if’ as a tool, whether a chisel or a spade or a recipe book.

 

Instead, follow the feeling of Living — the lightness, the joy, the excitement of a child —  as if you already are the dancer, the Ninja, the light-filled being that as children we didn’t doubt were real, bursting forth from inside us. And listen to what that lightly, light-filled skipping, real being would do next – then do it. Do it as if … alive.

 

Sometimes, when doing that, we feel (perhaps again) the cold water of so-called reality (usually others’) in our face, damping our bright shiny fire of Living lightly.

 

Ignore it (this time).

 

You are here to shine, inside out.

Your dreams and yearnings are your Soul purpose and your sole purpose for taking up air today.

Close your eyes, dry the splash off, and again live,

as if,

you are here to really live on fire, inside out.

 

If it’s not destructive, nor hurting of anyone else, why not live while you’re spending time here?

 

I believe you can do this.

 

Here’s a reminder question:

 

The Queen or King of our fabulous Kingdom has commissioned me to do a special task, which only I can do.

It is to _______________________________________________.

I’ve got all the skills and resources to do so, so in this moment, I live as if it’s underway…

For, I’ve said Yes!

 

Now, I do these things right now to get started:

______________________________

______________________________

______________________________

 

Enjoy this day of living as if you are alive, for you are!! Yay!

 

Blessings on your journey,

 

Elizabeth Darby

Power

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©2013 lkshaw

It’s interesting that we talk of power — brand power, political power, spiritual power, God power, might vs right power, power to be ourselves, power to attain success — and yet when faced with needing to start over in life, or create one’s work, it seems we often feel powerless.

 

It seems having the …

— power to change

— power to believe

— power to start over

— power to express the best of ourselves …

 … is putting a lot of emphasis on the handle: Power.

Is this invisible potency what gives the uumph to finish the phrase and the day?

 

We seek power to change, rather than simply change, as in your life or my life now in this moment…

We seek power to believe, rather than simply believe (the active verb form) in good, self, God, purpose, kindness, or that there is Work we can create.

We seek power to start over, rather than starting over (as in I’m starting anew now. Power or Not, I’m doin’ it now, today!)

We seek power to express our best, rather than just ‘express my best’ in this moment.

You get the pattern.

 

Where in your life today did you seek the ‘power’ rather than ‘take the action’?

Yes, when not feeling power-ful, we can feel helpless or invisible, whether it’s economic power or power to move the world to a better place for all, or spiritually powered to meet the demands of another day of creating one’s work here.

It’s as if we are not feeling aware of the power already inside, we instead seek it first as a handle.

 

I’ll repeat:

It’s when not feeling power already inside, we seek it outside of ourselves

— as a cloak of ‘being enough’ — to take action.

 

Of course we do:  The word ‘power’ really didn’t come into use in our English language until the 12th Century and at the time was a noun all about being able to act with strength and might, especially in battle. It descended in apparently a rather vulgar way (cf Partridge’s Origins) through Latin from 842 onward as a noun for a sense of potency, and I’ll leave that image to your imagination.  In just a few centuries, power would be contained in political circles and in industry, with the manufactured electrical power suddenly invisibly fueling industry and the work of 19th C Empire, the engines of progress, and providing light to the common person.

Light from nowhere. Electricity flowing invisibly, suddenly everywhere… no wonder we are confused as to the source of our power and needing to feel the might of the term. Much of the 19th and 20th C spirituality is all about the unseen ‘power’ flowing through us and to us, our idea of God and might mixing away into an unseen flow of energy within us as magnetism, attraction, juice, that which we call upon to make our human efforts be successful.

I’m all for power and for feeling and doing what makes any one of us feel powerful enough to be seen. I’m all for expressing our light and using our talents and gifts, doing the Work we are here to do for this world.

When do you feel most power-filled to do this Work you are here to do?

_______________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________

 

Here’s a key, I think:  It’s a power-action circuit.  Take an action On Task and On Purpopse, feel power-filled. Feel powerful, take an action…

Do you feel more powerful when taking the action or do you feel you must wait for the power to kick-in first?

 

I express my best; I feel power–filled when I do. That’s what I’m here to do.

I believe that there is Work I am needed to do and I’m doing it; I am power-filled when I do this… I believe that for you, too.

I change my life —now— to create my work; I shine that inner flow to the outside when I do.

So do you, when you change, create, shine whilst in action. And it comes right back as a feeling of power, a self-circulating energy flow.

 

Waiting to feel power is feeling helpless. I know this; we all know this. Waiting to be recognized as ‘enough’ to be powerful is a long, long wait in a dark, dark closet. The electricity, the shine, the power flowing is within, coming out.

Taking action, shining one’s best, expressing one’s heart, soul, talents, creating your Work, that is taking action that makes a person feel powerful, handle or not, outer recognition or anon.

 

Back to our question:

When do you feel most power-filled to create and do the Work you are here to do?

What actions are you taking that feel to rev up the feeling of power within? Then the power that you feel is a result of these actions, taken with grace.

1) _______________________

2) _______________________

3) _______________________

We are, each and all, needed — by friends, beloveds, our visions and dreams, and by our Time here on Earth — to be our best, taking actions, and making felt the power that is our energy made visible.

In starting over and anew today, shine as only you can, through your actions, expression, believing and doing!

Blessings on your day!

 

Elizabeth Darby

Committed to Becoming

“Whatever else happiness may be, it is in neither having nor being, but in becoming…”

John Ciardi

 

 

So how are your New Year’s resolutions coming? Have you yet re-solved to have more resolve, as the root of these states of being is ‘to loose and to let free’ a way or a something; it’s a way of detaching and washing away.

 

I’ve been thinking about the difference between a promise – to others or to self – versus a commitment.

 

Which would you rather have, whether from self or from others, in this Life-time moment of your journey? A commitment or a promise?

 

Both promise and commitment come from the same Latin root as well: mittere,   which is first ‘a mission’, a sending or dispatching on a highly important journey often of a sacred sort.

 

So far, a promise or a commitment, both sound pretty good.

 

Our life-journeys, becoming a shining Best of who we each are, on task and on purpose, are a highly important and yes, even sacred journey. That we call it our life, or life-time, is just a reminder that the clock is ticking on this, our journey, whether we plunge into it with joy, commitment, promise, resolve or hesitance.

 

But for some reason, I’ve been feeling like all the ink on ‘promises’ is usually followed with a sense of ‘in the future’… as in I promise to … whether it’s ‘to have and to hold’ for an indeterminate time, or a promise to stop doing something destructive,  or a promise to accomplish something, it feels like we are setting our promise in the future.

 

 And yes, I know many also speak of God’s promise, and know it is not just now but for all time, so that’s set into the eternal now and future as well. But I’m not in the business of doubting God or that particular promise; some mysteries are best left mysterious as to ‘when and where’, so I’ve found. Time is relative at the God-level of Creation, I’ve come to learn.

 

A promise is a mission with a ‘pro’ in front of it — the old Latin root, pro as in ‘forward’.  No wonder when we make promises to ourselves or others, we have a sense of it being a future event, whether it’s starting from now on or, well, maybe, tomorrow. 

 

Check your New Year’s resolutions – did they start with a promise of when they would start, or with a setting free of last year’s hangover via resolution?

 

Commitment. It’s a sturdy word. It feels solid when you commit to yourself to do something, or when someone else commits to you and vice-versa. A commitment  feels like it’s already accomplished in some energetic way, as in ‘I commit to this work’ and ‘I commit to living fearlessly and on task and on purpose.’ Doing so feels already accomplished and is indeed already underway as soon as the sentence is over, with no …  after it.

 

Indeed commitment is a mission with a ‘com’, as in ‘sent with’; it’s to undertake together, and to be entrusted to take a risk with someone or something. It is telling self and others you are trust-worthy; your mission, should you decide to accept it,  whether of your work or your purpose is already undertaken.

Now back to happiness … which one feels when committed. Are you committed to making your life journey, on task and on purpose, as happy — as Yes — as might be possible?

 

Then let us return to the wisdom of the great John Ciardi, and his astute 20th Century observation:

Yes, happiness is found in the pursuit of becoming

 

May your life-time in the coming year reflect your becoming a person who has created your own work and path in life, putting to use your talents and gifts in service of our world, doing the work you are here to do . . . even as you work to create it today!

 

May this be your commitment to yourself, and to all those around you, cheering you on.  Including me!

 

Here is the rest of the quote, from John Ciardi’s delightful essay “What is happiness?” from oh so long ago, and still so accurate.

 

Happiness is never more than partial. There are no pure states of mankind.  Whatever else happiness may be, it is neither in having nor in being, but in becoming. What the Founding Fathers declared for us as an inherent right, we should do well to remember, was not happiness but the pursuit of happiness. What they might have underlined, could they have foreseen the happiness-market, is the cardinal fact that happiness is in the pursuit itself, in the meaningful pursuit of what is life-engaging and life-revealing, which is to say, in the idea of becoming. . . .

 

 Blessings on your day!

 

Elizabeth Darby

 

 

Believe in Your Purpose

To the 1.3 million long-term unemployed:

Who today must feel…

Scared? Angry? Frustrated. . .

Both in your search and your lack of support in a society where the recession is still very real, but more real is that the world of ‘work’ as you knew it is, likely, changed forever.

 

After the anger and the panic, what is the feeling of your current moment on Earth?

Bereft? Abandoned? Desperate?

 

Long-term unemployed is not a resume builder of a term.

I know that and you know that.

 

It is not a category to which anyone wants to belong.

I, too, know that. Everyone, with a job or not, feels that.

 

It is the purgatory of career and job, a gross fun-house of reflecting mirrors which distort one’s self-image into all kinds of shapes, most of them negative and a lot of them downright freakish. I know that; it’s a horrible place to be.

It feels to be a category that is the anethema of success, or even of ‘doing okay’ on this life-journey.

And so the sand grows quick as the sinking feeling of your heart and soul grows again burdened with this newest insult of continued support as you seek work cut-off by a population of unfeeling, insensitive politicians who neither feel your pain nor want to face those of us ‘unemployed’ in the statistical sense of ‘productivity in the economy’. While they, of course, collect bonuses for their action and inaction. It’s everything unjust and unfair to be subject to these puppeteers of the American promise.

Meanwhile, the media loves tossing souls into this ‘there but for the grace of God go the rest of us…” story.

 

But this is your life, your real life, not a ‘story of the moment. It is your visceral experience and your journey, and thus you can make it have the ending you desire.

 

We’ve all been there, most of us over and over. Starting over and over, But I know that does not help how you feel at this moment.

 

So instead I offer this encouragement:

Just for a moment, believe You, just as you are in this moment, have everything you need to be the best You in this day.

Just for a moment feel like it’s going to be okay, this journey of yours, no matter how spooky the corridor at the moment.

 

Why?

 

Because if you are here, you clearly — clearly — have a Work, a Task, and a Purpose yet to accomplish.

 

Feeling that, in this moment, will allow today to begin anew, not ‘yet again’.

 

Your ‘job’ as you knew it may be gone and never come back like it was before.

 

Your ‘old way of being’ — however satisfying or unsatisfying your job and work was before you found yourself among the ranks of ‘long-term unemployed’ — will have to change. Probably it already has.

 

Your new way, the one that begins today, starts with your feeling, believing, and taking action as if you have a task at hand.

And you do.

You have an accomplishment to undertake. Starting today.

 

No, it’s not to find a job.

 

Your task and your accomplishment is to Create Your Own Work.

 

Create from your experience, breathe, strength (you have a lot it if you’ve been ‘searching’ for these last challenging years), joined with your unique talents the work you — and only you — are here to do.

 

What great thing would You — only you — like to accomplish today and tomorrow in your life? Not long term, just today and tomorrow.

 So often we get stuck trying to find the proverbial shoe that fits; lots of ‘advice’ out there talks of ‘retooling’ and reconfiguring and retraining. Lots of ‘re-‘ as in ‘do it again’, as if the first time wasn’t enough. We all know it was.

 

What if, just for a moment, you instead see what great Work is pushing to come out from inside you.

What do you see that needs to be done that you, specifically you, have all the talents, care and energy to do just where you are in this moment of Now?

What of You can Be, just in this moment, creating your form to fill rather than looking for the right size box in which to pour oneself?

 

It’s subtle: You create your box, your work, your form in this world —

as opposed to looking for a box of someone else’s making to fill.

 

A long time ago, my daughters struggled with their difference in this world: We all do at some point (or many) in our lives. They were and are highly intelligent girls, deeply heart-felt, with vision and dreams, a sense of story and purpose, all facets that simply didn’t fit the squares and circles of your average public school.

 

I told them then, as I tell you now:  Don’t chip away at the facets of you to squeeze into the square or circles that are ‘acceptable’, or to fit the Norm, whatever that is, or the fickle slots of a job-market. You are diamonds, with facets that sparkle. That which doesn’t fit, and maybe even has a flaw in it, is what makes you who you are. You are here to sparkle and shine, as only you can, with all your facets.

Here are a couple of soul-reminders from my book:

 

When I was 8 or 9, I loved to _________________________________

I believed my magical powers were ____________________________ and that I was (and am) here to do this magic in the world: _____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

 

When we feel bereft (I know this feeling well), sometimes the only way through it is to invoke Magic, and remember what endless possibility again feels like.

 

After all, you’ve been practicing and succeeding at the magic needed for survival for these past years of job-search, making ends meet, getting through each day.

 

You can do this:

 

Create your own work; do the work only you can do here, in this time and moment on Earth.

 

I believe you not only can, but that this is what you are here to do.

 

With blessings on your New Year, creating your new form in this world.

Elizabeth

 

 

 

Joy is the Essence of Success

Joy is the essence of  Success…

My teabag tag on this cold winter’s night.

Don’t you love gifts like this?  It is a winter’s night when the snow has melted slightly and turned to black ice, the moon grows full, and it is a deep cold. The frosted air and all its various contributions — the musky fox who darted through the yard a bit ago, car exhaust, someone’s passing cigarette smoke, the dog who has recently over eaten, and now a sweetly scented cup of spicy tea — clings close to the ground to join into a soupy, heady moment in which to be aware of life passing by.

And yet, this is just it . . . and thus the gift of a moment in time no matter the moment:

When one feels a success, one feels joyful.

When one is joyful, one is a success.

 

Yes, it’s that simple.

 

When do you feel joy?

 

When do you feel a success?

 

Wouldn’t it be nice to remember to feel either or both of these during many moments of each day or on a cold, winter’s night?

For feeling each or both is, in fact, a moment’s choice.

Choose it now and take a deep breath! If in this moment, you are able to connect to heartfelt joy, you are a success. And, if in this moment, you choose to feel a success — you are here doing good work, after all, right? Being your shining best in this moment? — then you feel joyful.

Round and round it goes, success to joy to success to joy…

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about success lately. It seems there are so many recipes to achieve it and so many encouragements in the world to define and attain it. There was even an entire TED radio hour on it on a recent NPR show (good to listen to! Here’s the link: http://www.npr.org/2013/10/25/240777690/success ).

 

When I first heard this show several weeks ago, I scribbled notes immediately as I took issue with so much of what was discussed, for it seemed there was something missing from many of the definitions of success explored in that assembly of speakers.

And what I felt was missing was simply this:

Heart.  Shine,  Soul.

A sense of Being You, On Task and On Purpose.

A sense of being here to do specifically what you are here to do . . . And doing that.

Call it living one’s shine and using one’s gifts for this world.

Although we try to measure success in so many outward ways, as the Ted Radio Hour on NPR explored, the real measure of success is exactly what my teabag reminds me tonight:

Joy.

 

And that, simply, is what I hope any of you feel after working through my book or in working with me one-on-one.

Joy and Success: You are being You at your best and deepest heart-level.

I thank you, at the end of this year in this season of returning light and cold nights, for your joy, for your heartfelt connection in reading my thoughts, here or in my book, or even just for smiling after looking at my work here. Your many likes, nice comments and follows make me feel joyful and have helped to make Here You Begin, a tiny book of good intentions in a sea of self-help gurus, what I feel to be a success.

And so I thank you again!

If I were to define success, for any one of us, you know it would be this:

To feel that you are here, shining, doing your work, on purpose and on task, using your unique combo of talents and heart for this world and in this world.

And that makes everyone around us — as well as you and me— full of joy.

Thank you for daring to shine in whatever moment is before you in your life in this moment, right now.

Blessings!

Elizabeth Darby