Never, never

I may never again find a job.

 

What do you feel when you read this?

 

The work I did (that defined me) for my xx year career is no longer open (to me specifically).

 

What is the picture of you that you hold when you dare to feel this or even to say this?

 

Regardless of reason — whether age or factory closing, work moving ‘elsewhere’ or one’s profession eliminated by the advances of technology and cultural taste — the work is specific to you, and thus closed to specifically you. And your identity is, for a dark moment, shattered like Hamlet’s mirror.

 

I am a care-giver, jobless or not, and this is also the work that defines

the hours spent of my life.

 

Until it doesn’t, for those who need caring for also move on — to life, to death, to college, to others, to ‘next’ — leaving you without that outer-definition of ‘work I do’ in life as well.

How do you feel, seeing yourself as a care-giver, knowing that it, too, is a temp position if it’s outwardly defined?

 

“Even if they do all the things they’re told to do — network, improve those computer skills, find a new passion and turn it into a job — many [unemployed and older people] struggle with the question of whether their working life as they once knew it is essentially over,” writes Alena Tugend in The New York Times last Saturday.

(‘Unemployed and Older, and Facing a Jobless Future’,The New York Times, July 27, 2013.)

 

I would suggest this is true for anyone unemployed or in life transition. It’s harder, yes, when facing this when older for when we’re young, we expect there to always be a next gig. But in reality the news from those newly educated and unable to ‘find a job’ for all their investment of hours and thousands of dollars aches just as much and tugs at the soul in the dark of night facing bills and an unknown tomorrow.

 

Our life is spent in a series of ‘temp jobs’, however, no matter our age. Until we find and self-define our Work here to be done — the work only you or only your friend, or only I can do.

 

When our work defines our hours, our journey, our self-esteem, our ability to provide for those we love and ourselves, obviously it’s important. No matter the age or circumstance, whether demonstrating for a living wage as a fast-food worker, a journalist wondering where all the newspapers went (along with the fact- and spell-checking staff), or a care-giver who graduates a child from college the same year the remaining care-needing parent leaves this earth, the work that we see as defining us and fills our ‘productive’ hours is very important.

 

Notice, however, that all of this esteem comes from the eyes of others: the pay-check, the role, the business-card/title and the all-important ‘connections’ and the who-you-knows. These are the tacit measures of Your Worth — the other-defined value of what you do.

 

In a world where people’s souls are reduced to ‘what can you do for me’ bosses and the entire category of workers summed up by the term ‘human capital’ rather than ‘the person who works with me and for whom I’m so grateful s/he does,’ our Worth and Value is too-often defined by what we ‘produce’ rather than what we give and contribute of our unique talents and enthusiasm. It’s a demeaning system when looked at this way, no? And this, too, is nothing new.

 

Now, just for a little moment, focus on what your Work is:

What is your Mission should you decide to accept it

— the Mission you have the perfect package of heart, soul, knowledge, enthusiasm and vision to undertake

(skills can be learned) —

right here and right now?

 

Feeling one’s Work to be meaningful, we know, creates a feeling of self-worth and self-esteem. We carry ourselves differently, we hold our Value in our presence and in our smile, knowing we are using our specific talents, gifts and vision and creating something valuable with our time here.

 

That’s true whether the value is in a well-raised child who flowers using his or her gifts On Task and On Purpose, or in creating good living conditions involving hands to hold and good food to eat for the last few years of a beloved’s lifetime here, or in something new that only you can see and create, whether you sell it or give it away.

 

It’s amazing to me how quickly we go from being seen as miracle, as every new baby feels to a loving family, to being cut down with a snarky ‘Who do you think you are, God’s gift to the world?’ a few years later when we are shining with Presence and working very hard at our job. This feels to be all thanks to a system in which we are made to feel value-less unless meeting someone’s definition of value or ‘worthy of being remunerated’ for what is our only time and our specific and unique gifts to be used in service of … well, in service of what?

 

Something greater than our short lives, simply.  Something we feel moved to do by an inner desire that aches to be made manifest.

 

Call that something what you will. For military, it’s in service of country and maybe even God; for others of us, it’s in service of God or Creation. Yet, for others, it’s in service of society or of leaving the world a better place.

But for anybody, is our individual Worth and Value felt in service of ‘the Boss’ or a corporate board’s paycheck? That doesn’t mean making a beautiful door for a car isn’t a worthy use of one’s life-time here; it is because you are good at it, and when it requires your creativity, skill, discipline, time and yes, joy, for it to be well-made. It requires You, your best shining forth.

 

Your real work is defined by You, shining your best into the world. And that’s possible only if you feel Value and Worth — self-defined — powering it. That makes it more than a job. And it makes it worth pursuing and holding in vision; that makes it Work the world needs and only you can do.

We are charged with this Task: To Be our best, use our specific and unique skills, gifts, talents, and infuse them with joy and enthusiasm in the service of something greater.

 

This is your Work to do:

Use your gifts to be a Gift to this world.

It may not be the job you had before or will ever have again;

but if you are doing your Work you really will feel alive.

 

And hopefully, it will never look like however you defended or defined your ‘value’ before by others. Hopefully, this is the way to find and create your Work, and it may be better than your life spent at a job up ’till now.

 

Who do you think you are . . . ?

 

If you are shining On Task and On Purpose, feel that maybe that’s an affirmative: You are a gift for you are a care-giver and this time it’s not a Temp position. You give your care, your energy, focus, talent, time as truly a gift to this world, for it’s a role only you can be great at, a Work only you can do, a You only you can offer.

 

 Blessings on your day today!

 

Elizabeth Darby

Advertisements

On Being . . . Perfect

In preparing for a next workshop, a friend “in the biz” of helping others noted all the courses she takes continuously and has for a decade or so. Every day in her work she helps others rid themselves of blocks in energy and the ill-health caused by the holdings we all carry. She is ever present, ever helpful and nurturing. Indeed, she is ever on purpose, being her best self with her clients, so insightful and supportive, clearly living the reason for her being here — and yet, in her alone times, her conversation reveals, she is ever searching for being ‘better’ at the courses she attends … but ‘better’ at what I don’t know, for she is perfect in the expression of who she is, right at this very moment.

It really struck me how much we seek being perfect — whether in body, mind, shape, or soul — rather than seek being, well, ourselves in all our naked beauty.

Of course that beauty includes the scars, the bulges, perhaps even the ugly toes or toenails. It includes the moments of Fear and soul-searching, and wanting to be ‘enough’ and each of these come day after day, shadow and light, shadow and light, as we live our days. Because the beauty and the perfection is shining out from within of course. I’ve long told my daughters the most beautiful diamonds on earth are those that are ‘near’ perfect —not totally perfect —and carry the small flaws within for that is how they sparkle and give off the fire from within. I don’t know that it’s true, but it helps to dry a lot of ‘not enough’ tears and thus it is a truth any of us can live:

We must shine with and despite our flaws, believing they, too, can capture our internal fire and reflect the light passing through us.

A hundred plus a little years ago, here in the West where I live, my grandmother’s family struggled to get enough water for each day’s ‘being’.  There were moral conquests as we struggle with, of course, but they entailed following God’s footsteps, not Being Perfect as God.The Work of getting the daily basics — water, food grown with it, roof strong enough for summer tornadoes and winter winds — was honorable and worthy work of Being and with grace and shine they met the day. Gratitude for the smallest boon, such as an icicle hanging on the roof just out the door so breaking the water in the well unnecessary for another day in January, or a pot full of hail in May to ease the loss of another gallon of water that had to be fetched from the creek a mile away and by foot, filled the house with grace and joy and a moment of Being feeling successful, content and purpose-filled.

As our society here today enjoys luxuries unimaginable to my grandmother’s family (and to much of the world today) it seems we’ve focused our moral attention and struggles on that which we feel we do not have, and thus we might too often seek being Perfect rather than simply Being and greatly Shining with gratitude and on purpose.

A sense of ‘enough’ — and being enough — is what’s missing, no?

 

So as you consider today’s ‘being’ and what ‘being enough’ might include,

do take ‘being perfect’ out of the equation.

As I say in my journal guide …

You are not perfect at anything . . . except at being you.

You are perfectly made for the life and work you are here to do in your Life-time.

You are perfectly able to create — in fact you must — your own Work.

 

As you consider what your Work might be, here’s a question to ponder from my Work:

 

See a child standing before you. See many!

Look at each face carefully and note for a moment

how beautiful each is.

What one thing does this and every child you see need?

_____________________________________

How can you give it to one of them? Two of them?

Each and all?

_____________________________________

That which you wish to give every other child might be just the thing you yourself need or needed as a child,

whether a hug, a sense of enough, a moment of freedom from life-sustaining chores, or being seen,

or the feeling that comes with feeling

worth the care someone else offers,

like you giving to that child you hold in your vision.

Take a moment and see you giving it to yourself as a child.

Now plan and plot how you can give that to the child

you see standing before you,

whether in your vision or in your reality!

May the rest of your day be joyous in your Being You, shining forth your best and most certainly without being perfect!

Here you Begin!

Blessings,

Elizabeth Darby

 

Whose Side?

Page 44, Here You Begin: A Guided Journal to Discovering Your Passions, Your Purpose and to Creating the Work Only You Can Do:

 

Whose side are you on?

 

First thought only please . . .

 

I am on the side of __________________

That needs me to do this: __________________________

Here’s what I do with my time here to show this: ________________________________

For fun:

Make a little sketch of the symbol you wear or carry that shows your allegiance.

 

 

Some of us are on the side of Beauty. Some of us are on the side of Right, or Justice, or Knowledge, or Excellence. Or the Vulnerable or the Voiceless or Freedom.  Or Truth . . .

These are some of the bigger things each of us is willing to work for in our lives or with our life time here — or fight for with our lives…

We sometimes also realize we are on the side of Music, or Art, or Wilderness, or Wildlife, or the Homeless, whether people or pets.  These are more specific, but just as important, as each specific issue is symbolic of something larger we are willing to stand for. Literally stand for, not as in a gesture, but as in standing to assist.

Every moment of every day, you choose a side to be on, whether you know it or not. It’s a cause you were put here to take up and assist, so now acknowledge on whose side you are — and let it be the standard on your path as you journey from here, today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step by step

Quote

“You must first have the knowledge of your power; second, the courage to dare; third, the faith to do.”

Charles F. Haanel, 1919

What better way to know your power than to feel you are here for a purpose; it is one only you can do well, given your specific talents, abilities, and the spark of care that you feel for that which moves you?

What is it you care about so much you feel

it to be impossible not to move toward it,

with care for it overflowing in every step?

_____________________________

_____________________________

What better way to have courage to dare than to act without thought of self in service of that which moves you, and using some or all of abilities you feel you do well — and the world smiles back in return?

What do you do, and do so well the world smiles at you

when you are in the midst of it?

___________________________

___________________________

And the faith to do . . . ah, there’s the task.

Faith is making the plan, starting at the point where what you dream as your life and life-work is still only a vision, lovely and glowing, and moving backwards to where you sit today, making the plan.

Faith is seeing something that doesn’t necessarily appear to others, but which you see and feel clearly.

Faith is knowing something exists when you don’t tangibly see it. Faith is the vase with water in it, neither half full nor half empty, but rather overflowing. For it is filled with water to the level you see it, and it is filled with air that you can’t see overflowing out of it and enveloping you and all that is in this beautiful world.

Faith to do is taking little step by little step from where you are today to the vision you see in your imagination and taking action in faith you have all the air and water you need now and en route.

So take a little a step today and see where you are! What a beautiful day!

Blessings on your little step today…

Elizabeth Darby

To Shine and To Prosper

Prague window: ©2012 j michl, used with permission and appreciation. Please contact me before reposting, as a courtesy to the artist.

Prague window: ©2012 j michl, used with permission and appreciation. Please contact me before reposting, as a courtesy to the artist.

I found myself stressed on 6 fronts this past two weeks, each needing focus, belief, courage and breath to start again. Today. Now. Anew. So I wrote them all out on paper to get them out of my swirling mind. I handed them off to God and thus gained some breathing space.

As I added up all I needed with all I have been given, very long term of course, I found that it balances out to within a few cents over a lifetime.

Which got me to thinking about that Bible parable which makes me unsettles me so —  the 3 talents one—  as I tend to identify with the guy who buried his talent, his measure of money in those days, so as to make sure he can give it back. Like him, I don’t want to not do right thing or lose money, etc., and yet it is he who is ‘put to death’ for not prospering with what is given by God.

The ‘truth’ of it is in the ‘prosper’ part, of course. And that entails more than a balance sheet apparently; it entails how each of us defines a self-image of what need and abundance (even the ‘if only’ dreams) looks like reflected in the mirror. Right there, in your and my face, is the image: Are we just getting by on all needs? Are you reflecting “if only” dreams or the great gifts given and shining them out? Am I reflecting the yearning of what I need — and the feeling of the need already met in this moment — or am I reflecting the feeling of hiding the need and the desire and the talent … well, you see what I mean.

There’s lots of energy there, wanting to not need much, needing to do right thing, yearning to give back what given, to live in balance, to live in abundance not in deficit and to not lose what is given — wanting to do this life thing right while being aware that what is reflected back to us is what we are living inside… lots of energy there.

But we are instructed by such Story that we are here to do three simple things:

To Light and to Prosper and to Love. . .

and not necessarily in that order.

And there is the discomfort.

Is the picture of your life or mine a reflection shining any of those — the gifts, the talents, the yearning desire, the need — as demonstrating more than ‘just getting by’? Of making do by a whisker or a life of just making it and accommodating what looks like ‘reality’ or ‘ability’ or ‘situation’… rather than shining and prospering with what we are each given?

I feel such a picture of just getting by is a mirror of giving personal power away and not taking any of gifts given already in hand as tools or expressions of shine or of love.

I asked this question of Soulful Self and of God: “How do I expand my sense of incarnated self so that I can shine and prosper all I’ve been so graciously given — and what would that feel like? As clearly, we are given over a lifetime what we feel we need, rather than given a lifetime of needs as so many millions of us experience.

I think that’s where that ‘living like you already have all you need’ comes from — and there is a magic in it — as the parable teaches we already have all we need; it’s what we do with it that is our Task and our Purpose.

What would it feel like for you? Living, taking actions daily to shine and to prosper what you’ve been given inside, rather than focusing on the outer number of just getting by or living in need? What does abundance feel like after all? Is there a magic number by which you define yourself, or is it an experience?

I asked a dear daughter, as I was still feeling ‘careful’ trying to figure out this uncomfortable balance sheet of life. She said simply:

I feel abundant when I’m living with abandon . . .

you know like you just ‘do it big’ and it’s huge and wonderful and…

By now, she was sweeping arms now and I remembered the feeling from years of dance training —  of living, breathing, moving with abandon, rather than clutching the movement which looks terrible of course and feels terrible, too.

Living with abandon: 

It’s the feeling of being at the top of a mountain;

The feeling of leaping into the air and hanging there for a moment

suspended as art meets light;

The feeling of whooshing on a swing with long ropes;

The feeling of galloping fast on a horse;

The feeling of the waves splashing around running legs…

 

What’s your feeling of living with abandon? For in it is found your living in Love with life and source, to Shine and to Prosper,

So I looked up the etymology of abandon:

á banon. To + power/authority.

From Old English and Old French. Or as Eric Partridge writes in his fabulous book Origins:

“a sovereign’s proclamation within his/her jurisdiction…”

Oh, dear God! That’s right! Living with abandon, living to shine and to prosper, is living proclaiming sovereignty within the jurisdiction of one’s life while on Earth.

And that means, since you are a sovereign over your actions while here on Earth, it’s a given you have power, authority, treasury at the foundation of your life, as that’s what a sovereign has as a given

So what will you do today, to shine, to prosper all you have as a Given, and while Living with Abandon?

Blessings ,

Elizabeth Darby

You Have a Choice

You have a choice, right in this moment.

“Choose not to worry.”

Ernst Holmes wrote this as his second of recommendations to live well.

“Worry is an acquired habit. . . . You didn’t worry when you were a child. . . .  Loose [the past] and let it go and look forward to the future with hope. Build up a great idea of yourself the way you would like to be and work toward it, knowing that God is your partner and friend, and wills you to be happy. Think, feel, and live this.”

How much of  worry — anyone’s worry — is fear?

Most of it, it would seem. Fear of what’s to come; fear of what has been; fear for won’t be or will be that isn’t wanted…. worry is fear of those things out of our control, moment to moment.

And as the proverbial truth reminds us, worrying is akin to praying for what we don’t want, keeping it present and with us, a fear shadowing our every step.

Unfortunately worry also defines our steps — was that a stumble? A wrong path? Am I in danger? Will I fall or flail?…

So how can we choose to not worry, to live like children of light again, when worry trips us so? It seems almost to easy to say just let it go and look to a future with hope” when the shadows are marring our view.

The answer is in the action of it:  to choose to Work.  Holmes suggests the sure way: To envision a great idea of yourself and then work — work toward it, work in the moment, lean into idea.

It seems to me there are two working ways into the light from the shadow of worry, as actions take us out of the land of internal shadow.  Use either one, as the magic is in the work of working toward your vision, knowing you are not alone in it:

Here’s the first:

People don’t know this, but I’m really, really good at:

_______________________________________

________________________________________

 

. . . And I like doing these things.

 

Here’s why:

In feeling — leaning into — why you love doing what you’re really good at, you begin the work of building into the vision of you as you wish to become. Even just feeling that great idea of you, and then working toward it, seems to loose the worries, moment by moment.

Here’s another way to loose those worries:

I care deeply about

___________________________

___________________________

and I’m good at …

___________________________

___________________________

So clearly the World needs me to put these together

in this way as my work while I’m here:

_________________________________

_________________________________

Finding a purpose — your purpose — in the world and actively leaning into it, moment by moment, brings light into the shadows that plague us in the worries and fears. Focusing on what we care deeply about strengthens us, as acting On Task and On Purpose, we find we are working, in light and shining light out.

Action looses the worries and the fears — the choice is yours to take it.

Walk, no Act, in light and with blessings today…

Elizabeth Darby

Link

More on Success:

This lovely reflection from business professor Clay Christensen, from a couple years ago in the Harvard Business Review. I keep it handy for days when I, too, need to remember that Success is a life-work as well as a moment-to-moment state of smiles:

How Will You Measure Your Life

by Clayton Christensen

http://hbr.org/2010/07/how-will-you-measure-your-life/ar/1?cm_sp=most_widget-_-hbr_articles-_-How%20Will%20You%20Measure%20Your%20Life%3F

Blessings on your day!

Elizabeth Darby

What a Success!

How do you define Success?

How do you define your success?

Is it how you define success for someone else?

If you have moola-$ and no health, is that a success?

What if you have health and no moola-$, is that a success for you? Today? Now? In this moment of your life or for all time?

If someone else you have deemed “a success” has moola-$ and oh-by-the-way a little later on, you read headlines of his or her living (enduring) in a state of no health (whether addictions, self-destructions, or tragic illnesses), is that Success?

Does that life-experience still count as being in the “What a Success” category — in your estimation?

If you have plenty of moola-$ and no family, is that Success?

Repeat the question for those you esteem: If they have “plenty” but alas did you hear/read about their family… do you still consider Success to be in the equation by your definition?

If you feel “What a Success” about your life’s daily journey thus far … and yet no paparazzi are on your curb, is that Success?

After all, we wouldn’t know about the Success of those we esteem if it weren’t for the paparazzi capturing it for us, would we? And that makes them a … Success?

So “What a Success!!” really quickly gets  down to what you desire, what you want to experience, the costs of trading one success for another.

How do you define success as a Whole Life experience? Because like life insurance, you either buy the Whole Life or you buy the Term insurance — and be assured that they cost very differently and the return is very different.

Defining for you — only you — “What a Success” means also gets down to being willing to admit that what we esteem in others and how we define their Success we may — or may not — want to apply to our own lives.

Maybe this will help: A question from my book and workshops:

To Live Each Day I need*:

1) ___________________________

2) ___________________________

3) ___________________________

4) ___________________________

5) ___________________________

I might want these things:

____________________

____________________

____________________

But I really Need:

____________________________________________

*Need vs Want. Things you Need are things your Soul can’t live without.

The things you need might vary from the basics of a roof over your head to food on your plate. Needs might also include a big sky overhead, peace and quiet, or urban verve, or the connection of a family or a home-refuge nearby, or to be as far way from family as possible!  Among the Wants might be the kind of roof and how big a roof you want it to be and the quantity of the food on your plate.

Needs might include health to enjoy your life successes, large and small, like the energy to join in with the laughter of a loved one, rather than collapsing into a coma at night or feeling irritated at the humor — What are they so happy about?

Needs might also include Time — like having time to lovingly dry your child’s tears on any given moment of a day… (What did you have him or her for, if not to be available when s/he needs you?)

However, both Needs and Wants however defined will end up driving your life, your hours spent, your joy in your moments while here, and ultimately how you define Success in your time spent here on Earth.

Too often the Wants take over.

So Be Clear.

It’s what you need that will keep your Work true to You. . . 

And in being true to You and your definition of Success, your Work will be created more easily and joyfully….

If you are meeting your needs and are clear on how you define your Success, then it’s your paparazzi moment, if so desired:

Take a photo right now, even if only in your mind’s perfect camera, and frame it…

What a Success!

Blessings on your successful day, wherever in the world you are and however you define it!

Elizabeth Darby

A Lot of Truth

There’s a lot of Truth out there these days.

A lot of it is good Truth:

Like we are really good at doing what uses both our talents and our heart-felt enthusiasm, otherwise we risk the fashion faux pas of wearing brown shoes and a black belt … and a half-smile of enduring another day choosing one over the other;

Like we need to define our own success to look like something we actually want to wear and which looks good on us, rather than the latest style;

Like we don’t walk alone no matter how dark it looks and despite all appearances in certain moments of closet-hiding.

Moments of closet-hiding? You know the ones I mean:

You wake up thinking Today is the Day I’ll _____________________________ (find that job; feel talented for once or again; know that it’s possible I’m here to do Good Work that pays, despite age, circumstance, and time taken off for care-taking kids or parents or both; not feel like yesterday’s left-over beer when handing in yet another resume).

Choose any or all or fill in the blank with your own grinning admission.

And then you find that, well, yes you do still feel like any or all of these and the best place to deal is in the warm closet where your imagination can soothe you with possibility. Closet-hiding.

It gets pretty stuffy in that closet after a while.

And this is where we can dare to let the Truth in, like a bit of fresh air or a crack of light into our dark, somewhat stuffy place:

There is something within each of us

guiding each of us to what works best for us individually

and to the Work we are here to do.

No one is alone in that closet; there’s a guide in there with you, shining a light on your possibility but also asking you to listen carefully to your inner shining wisdom:

No one else can do exactly what you are here to do.

You have precisely the tools, talents

and soul-filled enthusiasm needed to

create the work — your work — in this world

where it is sorely needed.

And if you’re not sure about that, while basking in the possibility of this Truth, get out your pen or sketchbook and complete this simple fill-in-the-blank-of-your-Soul:

I’m an inventor and I can make anything work.

This is a description or sketch of the invention

I feel the world needs most:

_______________________________________

_______________________________________

_______________________________________

_____________________

Name of my invention

My International Prize Awarded on:

________________________

(day/month/year)

Here are the steps I took to make it:

1)

2)

3)

Now that’s wisdom shining from your Soul. And work waiting for you to do today.

And that’s a Truth.

Blessing on your day!

Elizabeth Darby