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

Image

sunblaze
©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

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

Box of Life

It’s Advent. It’s the time of darker days leading to light.

It’s the time of year to quietly give away all of that  —

That

You know, the stuff sitting around — inside — which clutters the windowsill and prevents our shine from pouring out — whether through our eyes from our souls or from our heart/hearth and home into the dusk of shorter days of this time of our year.

And so, with longer nights, we are often faced with longer hours to look at the clutter of our hearts, souls, and living space.

So here’s is a little fill-in-the-blank for your soul:

Quickly, without looking really, fill in the following:

The real reason I can’t live this very moment, no matter how dark or busy or scheduled,

in joy, abundance, peace, poise, and power are:

1) _____________

2) _____________________

3) _________________________________

4) ____________________________________

5) ______________________________________

You might find a lot of name-calling when you fill in the blanks:

They didn’t, He refused, She said…

Name the “They” in your Life, or the He or the She’s that have somehow become crowded in with you in that clutter.

There’s not much space for the answers.

The reason is I want you to write really, really small…

Because these ‘reasons’ are making you live really, really small…

Now then put these  ‘reasons’ for living small in a plain cardboard box.the box of life

Why?

Better to do it outside yourself rather than keep that box of small-life inside, no?

Now, what to do with it?  Obviously it’s nothing of you— your best you shining and full of light of a life on task and on purpose — that wants to be handed on, given away, or wrapped into a nasty surprise for others…

No, this is a present for your self. You’ve put all your feelings of small and reasons for living any further moment of your life in a small way into this box.

Time for transformation:

Now go through your little list and change the pronoun to “I”…

In doing so, you’ve transformed your box of ‘reasons for living small’ to a box of choices for living your life fully, by realizing the ‘reason’ is a personal one:

If a She didn’t love you, you’ve transformed it to “I don’t love me”;

If a He let you down, you’ve transformed it into “I let me down”;

 If They won’t accept you, or believe in you, or support you,  you’ve transformed it into

“I won’t accept me, or support me, or believe in me”…

Open your box, look at your reasons for living small, as if in a box, and change them into

‘I … “  but also add:

“But now I can…’

The magic of this present to yourself is you can end each of your ‘living small’ pinchy reasons by this magic of the season incantation:

‘But now I can… support me, believe in me, love me, be reliable to me…

 — with light, love, and heart and soul and light—

 now I can.”

And as you do, you are letting the light —

of your soul and your being,

your shine,

and the infinite energy of the Universe which animates you into life,

moment to moment, breath to breath —

Into your personal Box of Life, clearing darkness,

allowing the light to flow in, out and into this moment of your life-time  here.

No open box can hold the light, after all..

Now you can radiate shine and leave that smallness behind.

And now you can choose:

Live now, in this moment, no matter how busy, scheduled, or dark,

shining and feeling it from inside.

You are choosing to live On Task and On Purpose, shining brightly,

beaming out of your Box of Life.

Choose light, choose love, choose abundance, choose joy,

choose using your unique talent,

and see what happens… now!

The light is soon returning to us; Life is here now.

Blessings on your day

and thank you to each and everyone who has honored me with

a moment of their time spent reading and writing to me his year!

Elizabeth Darby

On Surrender — to Your Work and to Your Life as the journey it is…

Surrender to one’s Work, not work, is the essence of Life, not just a ‘life’ or the life you are told to ‘get’.

As many say, while we live, we must Live – with every ounce of our being, joy, focus, happiness, and use of our talents and gifts. To live, spending pennies of our life-moments and not living as if we will never have ‘enough’, as of course we can’t take those pennies — our moments of time — with us.

We have to live pouring out abundance and not being a miser with our energy, our love, our talents and gifts, or our Living. As another famously said, I want to be spent when I die, not die with energy and more to give hoarded away inside.

I am re-reading a lovely, life-changing book by the late Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler entitled Life Lessons.

The gist of it, through story, David Kessler’s beautiful reflection, and Dr. Kubler-Ross’s late in life wisdom (she herself was nearing the end of her life at the time of publication), is that it is when we embrace our own inevitable death, we truly are able to live – to Live, On Task and On Purpose with each of our moments we still have to spend here. Too often we do get to this gist of living only with bad medical news or late in life; what a pity, as when we live knowing life is short, we tend to engage more with our time, our love, our passions, and make use of the gifts, talents, and heart-felt purpose we each feel inside. Life becomes more like a lovely ice-cream cone; you know you can’t save it for later when it’s already dripping down your hand so enjoy it thoroughly now.

Toward the end of the book is a chapter on Surrender in which David Kessler tells the Story (Truth begets Story) of a 50-year-old man who faced losing a leg due to complications of his diabetes. He needed encouragement and permission to feel all that was associated with the crisis in front of him and was really angry, of course, as he careened through the grief of his circumstance. David Kessler picks up the story here, as he asked the man if he could “surrender to the situation as it is”.

‘”The horrible possibility that you may lose your leg is constantly on your mind; it’s dominating your thoughts, it’s filling you with fear and anger. Why not think about it for a while, be with it, then let it be? If you’re going to lose your leg, you’re going to lose you leg. Thinking about it, pretending that you are not thinking about it, or refusing even to talk about it isn’t going to make it happen or not happen.”

‘The man responded:  “So if I make peace with losing my leg, if I completely surrender, will it be saved?”

‘I reminded him that deep spiritual work is deep spiritual work. We can’t bargain with it, we can’t say, “If I’m spiritual enough, will I get the prize?” . . .’

 If I’m spiritual enough, will I get the prize?

How many of our moment-to-moment situations in our lives fill us with fear and anger, the twins of demons that eat our life-moments, ebb our energy and our health, and push us off center and off task and purpose? We’re taught culturally never to surrender. And yet, how many of us can fill in another situation, to replace the one in the story, perhaps not as serious or perhaps more, which we pretend not to feel, or think about, but which eats us alive? Especially when starting over, newly jobless or careerless, made redundant and fearing for our future well-being, after life-changing events have happened when returning from war or the race, as well as when starting out for the first time in our life-journey, facing school debts and feeling clueless?  We all have these moments.

And we do bargain:

If I’m special enough,will  I win the prize?

If I’m perfect enough, will I win the prize?

If I’m spiritual enough, I win the prize?

We do this, if only to assuage the fear of . . . surrender.

Surrender to what?

Surrender to what life is presenting, at this moment, as we begin again this day our journey in a finite life-time.  Surrender to trust, to peace, to knowing there is good and light somewhere here, if we just let Life and living be what it is in this very temporary moment.

It’s true that feeling that peace even for a moment can shift your journey from fear to interesting to relief to excitement to even delight.

Surrender is not ‘I give up’, but rather ‘I’m okay and I will look to see what I can do here . . . what are my choices?’ In peace that this   is  the  journey   we often can see what is a choice, a new route, a place of beauty, a new call.  In your choice to be You, authentically and joyfully you, working with your gifts, following your instinctive Yes, is your power. And there is also your Life, being fully lived moment by moment. We surrender to Life and decide, in peace, that we can let it be . . . a journey.

David Kessler writes:

“We take back our power and regain peace of mind when we let things be as they are.

We are, in effect, saying, “I am going to be happy

right now.

I’m not going to put it off.”

That is surrender to your joy, your living Life while here, and to your journey on task and on purpose, filling every one of your pennies of time with the light you are here to give this world.

May you accept your prize today:

A day full of joy, of peace on your journey, and of good — really good — Work that is yours to do in this moment of your Life-time.

Blessings!

Life Lessons, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler, Simon and Schuster, 2000.

Vacation (Holiday) Life Plans

Holiday thinking © elizabethdarby 2011

Holiday thinking
© elizabethdarby 2011

If you’ve been following this blog (and I thank all of you who are; it makes my day to see your smiles!), you’ll know that I posed a question a few weeks ago:

“If tomorrow were your last day on Earth,

what would you be really sad you’ve never done?”

Hopefully a number of you made the list, and put it on your official To Do Today action list!

Ooh, that sounds so important that “To Do Today Action List”!

For stationery junkies like me, I imagine a new project notebook, new pens, and a whole sheet of paper with the first column being my Official Super-duper To Do Today Action List… with room to the right for the details of how I will get it done and a little box I get to check off once I’ve achieved it.

But there’s something missing here…

It’s the place and space for the feelings. It’s the big space in our souls where we can treasure how it feels to really get this lovely dream Done!

After all, it’s not about ticking off the boxes, it’s about how joyful and lovely it feels to be In the Dream while achieving it.

So I offer another way to approach this ‘what I really want to do is…” list:

Holiday — or Vacation — thinking.

When on a holiday (not the Christmas kind but the ones you dream about and delight in taking), think of how you feel a few days before it’s over — while in the middle of it — before you are heading back Home. Think of the moment when you awaken, happy, rested, looking forward to another day on holiday, and you ask yourself and beloveds,

“So, what else do we want to do? What else would be fun for today…?”

So many key words there:

For Fun

Today

Want… to do

Do you feel how delightful even just the question feels?

There’s not a thing in your way. There’s no wrong answer. There’s no sense of should or have to, no shall we nor can I. No, it’s just pure joyful potential for a day to be spent . . .

for fun, today, and doing what you desire to do.

That which you enjoy doing, a dream being experienced, a moment to carry and remember and which feels like the energy and fuel of life.

It is.

I suggest boldly (and brazenly, perhaps) that this is how we should make our To Do Action Lists when thinking of our “Next Act” in our lives. This is true whether it’s a Next as in career, job, work, or next as in dream, life, love and task being On Purpose and using our gifts to contribute to our aching world.

I’m not the only one; as I noted in my book the great composer/musician/conductor Leonard Bernstein had the same philosophy: When not sure of what to do next, he searched his soul and the horizon for, he said, what he called “the next fun thing.”

I, for one, don’t mind using his amazing life as a mentor and coach for my own time here.

Another thing I suggest boldly is:

This is the way we are meant to live, to spend our Life-time here being: On Purpose and on Task, doing what we are so very talented at doing, and in service of that bountiful energy that is Love and Life and Being,

bringing beauty and shine to the world.

There’s a commercial on PBS — perhaps you’ve seen it: A man asks a number of the public what each would do if s/he could earn money doing exactly what s/he wanted . . . and the list comes out: architect, teacher, sky-diver, cafe-owner . . . and the ‘kicker’ is that if you invest your money with his company, you can indeed ‘pay yourself to do what you wish to do’ as, he says, “it’s called retirement.”

My last bold suggestion: It’s how we should be living our lives right now.

Not as if already in retirement’ but rather in paying oneself (i.e. valuing oneself and the gifts and talents you carry and are given) to do the work you are here to do and to which you can bring your best soul and self, your best talents and sense of purpose, passion and excitement.

And yes, choosing your Today Action Tasks even with your Holiday/Vacation mindset:

to live this day and this moment On Task, On Purpose, and joyfully bringing your best You into this world.

Wherever you are, have a lovely (Holiday) day today; there’s no time like right now to download that feeling into your heart, and let it light up your time, your day and your energetic smile.

So as you tick off your Done this Dream on your list, you feel — really feel — the sweet joy of your soul smiling.

Wouldn’t the world be a lovely place if we all were On Task and On Purpose, joyfully doing our best with our talents, gifts, and passion each and every day?

Blessings on your day!

Elizabeth Darby

Darkness

The waning moon is fading in and out behind fog in a dark sky over my shoulder; that I see it at all is amazing for I am in a night place where lights blare and rain is normal. Normal — as in what one expects to be the ‘normal state of being’. The bars that line this beautiful historical street in Glasgow are finally closing; their lights are darkening and the crowds of revelers are almost gone into the night, talking loudly as they go. A dog is getting a last walk for the night on the emptying sidewalk. Time is ticking away into the darkness . . .

And tomorrow we start again. Each of us do:

Anew. A new day. A new dream. A new heart’s desire and anew in reaching to be present to our life-time being spent and to begin again, On Task and On Purpose.

Alone. A lone task or a lone vision or a lone hope or alone in prayer, seeking guidance for what to do with our ticking moments.

Abiding. Abiding with our inner heart and soul yearnings and a-bide (as the word began “to wait for” but also “to trust or rely on” or as it’s used here in Scotland still, to bide, to ‘endure a wait for’) the love, care, compassion and meaning we each seek to experience and to give with our life-time here and now.

 

So while a-waiting with all these a-words, I opened a book at random to a page (page 92 specifically) and found this reminder of what to do next while yet watching this moment of life in darkness:

 

If tomorrow was my last day on Earth, I’d be really sad I never:

1) ______________________________________

2) _____________________________________

3) _____________________________________

4) _____________________________________

5) _____________________________________

6) _____________________________________

7) _____________________________________

8) _____________________________________

9) _____________________________________

10) ____________________________________

 

So Plan, yes even if still in darkness, to do these things . . . Now.

My first steps to do tomorrow on item #1 are:

________________________________ + _________________________________ + ________________________________

I can hardly wait for the light of day to get started. How about you?

 

Blessings on wherever your day takes you,

 

Elizabeth Darby

 

Be Totally Honest With Yourself . . .

“Be totally honest with yourself: What makes you happy — do that.

And be prepared for it to take a little bit of time. . . .

  . . . Get a good foundation, learn all you can …

I became an expert in me when I started out in life, and I had seven potential journeys

in front of me to choose from that I mapped out on a spreadsheet.  

I thought I was motivated by doing a good job for others.

But after a few months of trying this, I realized I was motivated by being happy,

and that I’m happy when I’m doing a good job, and bringing happiness to others.

People would look at me and say, ‘Look at all the money you made . . .’.

They didn’t know about all the deals that didn’t happen…. 

When I started out, after looking at all the options, I burned the ships, like the explorers did —

I said this was it, and I was going to make this work.

And I was very lucky. . . .”

The man speaking is older, gray in the hair that is left, spending a bit of his Life-Time in a cafe to mentor a 30-something in her decision whether to use her time, skills and talent at … Real Estate.

Maybe it’s not a likely first-idea of a perfectly “spiritual” career, and the question wasn’t whether Real Estate was the reason she or even he is on this earth, spending Life-Time On Task and On Purpose. He could have been offering his wisdom on any journey she asked about, for obviously his advice is about how to live life, not necessarily what to do with it.  Especially when he returned to advising her to, above all else, be happy in her living and in her choice of how to spend her Life-Time.

His advice is sage and learned in the day-to-day moments of his Life-time here. As he walks out in what appear to be simple khakis, simple white shirt and Orvis straw hat, and then doffing a beautiful sport jacket in a cut of cloth that emanates quality and worth, he reminds her to get her ticket validated to save the parking fee… as she’s ‘a nice person, after all’ so why waste a dime?

This is what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Choosing to work at stirring happiness into a job well-done, rather than focus on just the ‘results’. Choosing to learn about You, to seek to know what is the best of you and to apply it to your journey(s) ahead. To choose whatever role to play that makes you happy and tugs at you to do your best each moment.

In a multiple role life, as we each live every moment of life, this is the Way, I feel. We must get out of our own way to let a bright light shine fully from within, as we each —yes even you — are here to do. Whether the role of this moment in your life is care-giver, seeker, provider, creator, assistant, hand-holder, or ace deal-maker or lonely-in-the-night guardian, it’s your journey using your Life-Time.

So, as the wise man says:

Be totally honest with yourself  . . .  

 

What makes you happy — do that.

 

 And be prepared for it to take a little bit of time.

Here You Begin: On Task and On Purpose. Right . . . Now.

And Right . . . Now. . . . 

And Right . . . Now.

It’s always a Begin Here moment in which to shine. And it’s going to take a little time for that shine to become a natural habit.

But when it does, oh my is it beautiful and successful. 

For who can resist someone who is happy in what they do with their time, every moment?

Blessings on your day!

Elizabeth Darby