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!

 

 

 

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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

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

Challenges

Often when we whisper a dream of what we want to do with our time here, a bully shows up inside.

You know the type; they are the ones who remind us of “responsibilities” or it’s converse,  “being unrealistic” which is just another way of “being irresponsible”

Or that bully reminds us that we don’t have as much talent as our third cousin removed, or our neighbor or perhaps even our cat. And certainly, if that doesn’t dim the momentary shine of our soul when feeling the forward movement of wanting that dream, we are reminded that we don’t really have the right to be so, well, deserving of such fun – life is serious, no?

Challenges.

Call these roadblocks.  And the social “norm” is that we weather the challenge or we weary of them, and thus the dream “was not for you after all, weakling,” that bully inside sneers.

I say meet challenge for challenge.

If the bully inside or outside of you says, “You have responsibilities . . . you are being unrealistic. . . .”

This is a two-part sandbag, knock to the knees of your taking a step on the path.  We need to take each of these on one at a time.

First “you have responsibilities.”  Challenge it:  Yes, I have responsibilities, thank you.. And I am taking action to meet them.  I am responsible for who I am and what I am responsible for is my circumstance right now.

—Right?

By taking responsibility for where you are — no matter where you are— you open a door to actions you can immediately take to meet your circumstance. You’ve just dismantled the lock, the door, and the bully leaning against the door keeping you from your dream.

You can take responsibility for your situation and simultaneously take action to meet the responsibilities of your circumstance. Either way you look at it, it’s in your hands, and in your control to take the actions, now!  It may be as important and as forward as simply “deciding” to take actions to meet those responsibilities.

Not sure?

What needs to happen to meet your responsibilities?  Bit by bit, step by step.

Do the first one. And make sure what needs to happen is in your hands, not relying or waiting on someone else’s actions.

This can be the first muddy spot in the road, and we’ll look at it again, so if in doubt, just take one small action now that improves your circumstance or meets your responsibilities. One small thing, followed by one more small thing and feel the energy of captivity to circumstance flush.

If it’s stubborn, then we need to work with the “belief” that this circumstance is deserved in some way, and we need to see what dark shadow your bully is reminding you of:

What do you get from believing that you have no action you can take to improve your circumstance?

For most it’s a belief about love, being loved, and being cared for that peeks out – a feeling from a very long time ago.

Or perhaps the belief is that the solution requires a sacrifice too dear – these self-limiting places are all beliefs protecting you in some way.  And knowing that, we can take actions that honor the need to avoid the sacrifice of some soul – either yours or those you love.

Then the question is really about a judgment of being “unrealistic” from your bully’s point of view.

Challenge that POV again: Under what conditions would what I dream to be and do be realistic?  What do I need to believe or what actions do I need to take to make it realistic or achievable?

Quickly this comes again to your own beliefs, embedded like a viral video in your soul.

Do you believe what you dream is unrealistic?

What do you get from believing that?

Peel it away like an onion, layer by layer, asking what you get from that belief – it’s all there to protect you somehow.

“What do I get from believing my dream job/life/use of my talents is not going to be realistic – a code word for “successful”?”

“I get a reason to not try . . .

And what do you get from not trying?

“I get an excuse as to why what ever “it” is, is not working.

And what do you get from your excuse?

I get self-protection, as if I tried and it didn’t work — i.e. didn’t meet my definition of success — I would prove myself to be a failure at my dream . . .  So I’m keeping myself protected from proving that I believe my dream won’t work.

Ouch.

And what do you get from believing your dream won’t be successful?

You are really saying you fear your dream will be a failure, and you with it.

Or put another way, you get protection from this judgment of failure –

Funny thing is all negative beliefs try to offer our small selves protection:

Protection from finding out you FEAR you can’t make your dream in reality

look like it does in your head. . .

There – it’s really self-doubt —

masquerading as that bully who is deriding your dream as —codeword— unrealistic.

But unmasked, self-doubt is indeed something you and I and we can work with, and more importantly, work to make reality look like your vision, by asking a simple question.

“Under what conditions would I be able to make my dream in reality look like it does in my head?  What steps do I take to make it so?”

Voila, the steps you can take pour out in front as a path:

Well, I could take more time on its execution so the results look a tad better;

I could research how others achieved something similar and try to learn from their models;

I could improve my skill, get feedback, undertake a course or a coach to give me feedback and improve my performance . . .

I could do all this and keep working at it.

And little by little my skill will improve and grow, if I work hard, work honestly, and work with faith that I can do this.

And now, what else could you believe that would help you make your dream real?

Pursuing this path of what else you could believe soon becomes:

I could believe that if I dream it, I can work at doing it — and do the work of doing it well.

So:  Recap.

Challenges: Are you being or dreaming something that is called Unrealistic by inner bullies or outer loved ones?

Challenge it:  Under what conditions would this dream be realistic? What steps can I take to make it realistic?  What steps can I take to make it happen . . .

Can I do that?

Usually the answer is a resounding YES.

So go! Now is a great time to dream it and to do it. Step by step.

Dear Reader:

“You are not perfect at anything …

except at being you.

You are perfectly made, however, for the life and work

you are here to do in your life-time. . . “

So this guide to discovering you, your Passions and Purpose,
and designing the Life Path only You can do is written for you —

It is for you who feels the simultaneous excitement, confusion, and freezing fear brought by the myriad decisions before you as you think of the Life and living you build day by day, moment by moment, as you live. It is what you do in this moment that makes your dream made tangible in this world. It’s how you fill this moment that reveals your essential Being in this world.

It’s how you fill this moment

that reveals your essential Being in this world.

 

The possibilities for how any of us spend our time here on Earth, and how we put into service our energy, talents — the choices of what to make of ourselves — are indeed endless. Such choices are limited only by a combination of imagination, self-confidence and sheer courage to meet our own Self in the process. There is not a circumstance that limits the possibility of becoming exactly who we each dream to be, as it is only the actions of each moment that define each of us, revealing our Spirit.

This is how my book begins. . .

And I wrote it for you.

There is not a circumstance that limits

the possibility of becoming

exactly who we each dream to be . . .

Like any work, it was written for its author as well.

I wrote it when feeling particularly lost, at a crossroads in life:  children were grown and going, 24-years of marriage collapsing under the weight of separate careers, and my life path ahead totally unknown.  Would I return to the busy life of international journalism, having now successfully guided not just my offspring onto their own springboards and to lives they were loving but many of their friends as well?

Or, well, exactly what would I do to somehow combine my love of helping others discover their talents and passions and also bear Truth and Witness to the brilliance of those around me as they sought encouragement? What exactly was a Vocation anyway  . . . and does it pay the bills?

I was sitting alone in an old stable-room turned into dismal yet neutral hotel room. You know the kind — the windows were a little too high to look out, and revealed only the sky from the little desk pressed against the wall under them.   Although I imagined the horses that used to bed in the room, for comfort if anything, I found all I could see were the stars above the buildings of the stable-block. I wondered if the former residents, too, looked out this window for greener pastures to run in?

Then, as now all one could see

was a vast sky

full of stars: 

Infinite and improbable possibility as a blanket

for the soul on a dark night.

With me on this particular evening was not the reassurance of a warm muzzle and sweet hay breath of a horse but instead a little square pad of sheets of paper.

Each little square was separate and not connected to the next save for the box in which they sat.  I took one, curious to see what note I could write to my Self, looking for guidance.

Instead I took one then another and found a whole list of questions download through me onto each of these little sheets of paper.  Well, the little 3 by 3 squares were connected — by a guide leading me to my purpose and passion  — as the questions, simply questions that I was to answer, guided me to write down my dreams, longings, plans, abilities and things I cared about. Suddenly it was all on paper.  It was a map of my soul’s purpose and the squares became the stepping-stones to living this life-time here: On Purpose and On Task.

OP/OT

On Purpose and On Task.

This is what the World — this World of breathtaking beauty and piercing hurts — needs each of us to be.  On Purpose and On Task, being as excellent as each of us can be at using the gifts and talents we carry as tools of our expression in our life-times here.  To do what?  To do the Work we are each here to do; and if in doubt of what that might be, then to follow our yearnings and create as much beauty as is possible.

So if you, too, are feeling lost at this particular cross-roads, look up at the sky. Take a deep breath. Maybe there’s something here, or in my book or at a workshop that might help you.  I hope so!  For a quick start,  Take a look at the page Questions where I excerpt some of my book.  There you can  fill in the blanks of your soul as you discover or rediscover your dreams, your talents, your passions, your magic and remember how to be the Sovereign of your time here on Earth.

My book, Here You Begin, is being published by Chesterton & Davies, Ltd. It should be out any week.

To do what? 

To guide you to discover and do the Work

you are here to do;

And if in doubt of what that might be, then it is a guide to follow your yearnings to create as much beauty

as is possible while you are here

in the way only you can.

What you can do and who you are is greatly needed in this world.

In the meantime, I’ll post a few of the questions from my book  here …  maybe you will want to pre-order the book via the publisher at the link on the right!!  Or maybe you’ll want to try it out here a bit first.

I also offer personal coaching in finding your path and you OP/OT as well as workshops where we gather in beautiful places to go through the exploration together as well as take a keen look at the resistance felt or at the hurdles to  what is stopping any of us from being our best Self.  And then we walk around them together.  Dates on these to come but plans are for one to be held near you very soon.

If you have a group you’d like me to talk to — whether your friends or church group, your teen’s school or a job-search shelter for the many of us out of work and hurting just now, contact me!  As a journalist I found that asking questions proved to be the quickest and easiest way to discovering the obvious truth; in doing so with a gentle hand to hold, it re-ignites the fire of our souls to be remembered and put to use.

In the meantime, come back for a question of the day, week, month or set up a private coaching session with me.  You can do so through the links at the right!

Until we connect, remember: You and your gifts are needed in this world!

Believing in You,

Elizabeth D.