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

“As courage”

I was blessed with these departing words — ‘As courage,’ as in the verb avoir in the tu form in French, have, and means in this case ‘take or have courage’ — a little under a decade ago by a lovely older woman, a much beloved mom of my friend.  She knew a bit about what she bid me to take as we departed company that day — “Have courage”  — as she’d done work with the French Resistance as a teen in her native France and she’d raised two girls on her own as a mother who’d been left by a husband and father when her children were very young. She knew what it was to have courage, to take courage, and she said this to me as I was facing the beginning of some challenging times in my own life-time here.

 “As courage, …”

I took the words to heart; the encouragement brought to mind a model of grace and fortitude I would attempt as I faced the coming storms buffeting my own home and family at the time. And I knew the phrase to mean both to “take heart” and “to have courage”, especially when used as a phrase when departing, as she intended.

 

What I didn’t know till this week was how the now-superstar “researcher-storyteller” Brené Brown described courage.  (TED talk here; (yes, I’m behind cultural times apparently, as her star flashed over a year ago.)

In one of its earliest forms, the word courage literally had a very different definition than it does today.

 

Courage originally meant

“To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” . . .

 

What else are we to do but “to tell all one’s heart” when creating our Work, when being people who live our work and work our lives On Task and On Purpose?

I’ve anguished often over how smarmy my book is. As a journalist who was trained to ‘tell the story like it was’ in national media and to do that  required a good cynicism (notice I didn’t say healthy) toward all aspects of the story I was covering, my offering a book that is encouraging you to be  honestly who you are and to create the work ‘only you can do’ has often felt like I’ve donned an angel sweatshirt and grin absurdly. Indeed much of the response I received from others while writing it — the ones who were able to talk rather than choke on their snort and scoff as I told them about it— was that such an idea, that we each have work that only we can do, was preposterous.

 

I noted silently that these early responses came from those who at best endured what they were doing with their life-time, but felt they couldn’t quit as they ‘needed the money.’ That most of these folks were well into the 7 figure salaries told me they were fearful and trapped; what if… was a dangerous question to them, even though “doing one’s Work here” doesn’t mean necessary impoverishment.

 

So to see Ms. Brown’s amazing TED talk — even belatedly — brings tears to my eyes.

Have courage.

Yes, do have the courage to tell all of your heart.

Have courage to do that which combines your heart’s telling with your talents, your skills, your passion, your soul, in the service of that which you care about.

 

Have the courage to be You, shining in this world, On Task and On Purpose.

And if you don’t know what that is, have the courage to go on a journey of discovery.

I woulld love it if I – and/or the little questions in my book —  would give you a good start.

Blessings on whatever you do with your day today; may it involve the telling of all of your heart in some way.

Elizabeth Darby

 

PS there’s another little reflection on what it is to have courage at my other blog: Earth: Sacred/Possession, too.

Wanted

Last week, I was sitting in a library in the middle of Wales. It had wifi, free, and was the only place in town that did. I felt free, too. Life there was as when I left my full-time journalism career; there are places one can just be, as one is, living a day for a day’s worth of the miracle of life itself.

But in the library, tucked away at a back-table, and yes, using wifi to check my email for notice of familial needs or disasters (yes, I note the irony) I heard a man come in to ask the gentleman-librarian if he could use the library’s only computer. He was looking for work. Desperately looking for work, from the tone of his voice and the words between them. The conversation went something like this:

 

“Here’s an ad for a private chef. . . . Do you think they’d hire me . . . ?”

 

“Well,” started the Librarian encouragingly, but the man cut him off.

 

“I’ve some experience in that — I’ve cooked here and there. . . .”. He sounded frightened. “Do you think that would be enough?”

 

“Well,” said the Librarian again encouragingly, “it sounds like good work!  I would like to do something like that — be a chef. I cook . . . too . . .”. His voice dropped off into a bit of wistfulness.

 

“But do you think they’d want me,” asked the man. . . .

 

At this point, I nearly cried, both in compassion for both men in their early-forties, clearly wanting to be wanted by their work, but as well at the yearning in each of their voices:

Each wanted to feel to be valued for what he did with his time of his life.

One wanted to be wanted; any work would do but please hire him, now, I prayed.

The other would love doing something other than reminding 10-year-old boys that they needed parents’ permission to use one of the two computers available, which happened 3 times in the 1 hour I was there.

 

No, I didn’t stand up and say what my book — and I — fairly shouts at people:

 

You have a reason to be here on Earth…

It is to use your unique talents and specific abilities

in service of that which you care about in this world.

Your Life-time spent here,

doing the Work you are here to do,

 is needed.

Only you can do it!

 

It’s time to Create Your Work.

 

But I wanted to.

 

I wanted to take them both to the table and ask what each loved to do as a child and affirm that that joy is their path in this world even now.

 

I wanted to ask each what they could spend hours looking at, and what secret mission they felt they were on here,

during their lifetimes.

 

I wanted to remind each that he was not perfect at anything except at being himself, using his talents and gifts, passion and focus in service of that which he cares about — and thus each was perfectly able to create his own work that would support him all his days by being his best, shining self.

 

I sat, heart-pounding, wondering what to do next . . .

 

Instead, the seeker, encouraged to give it one more go by the gentle nudge he’d received from the librarian, dashed out to make an enquiring call before someone else took the cook position. And the Librarian announced to me (only me left in the two-room library) that it was time for lunch and he was “kicking me out” in 3 minutes. As we left, I watched him saunter shyly down the block, looking randomly in shop windows, and heading to the local market for a quick something.

 

I felt I’d been shown the light, as well as the door, as I stumbled out into the fair and beautiful day in this lovely small village where it seemed everyone knew and cared for others’ welfare.

I yearn to speak to people like this, in these small, out of the way places where hope and desperation so often dance hand in hand and a sense of dissatisfaction with one’s lot hides behind ‘any good job’ which is better than no job at all, of course. Of course it is, until one day one is still missing the feeling of being vital to one’s Purpose and Task here in the time one has on Earth.

These fellows are not people who attend seminars at a fancy hotel as so many self-help lecturers offer, but they are just like those who can and would do attend one to nurture themselves. These lovely people are also souls wanting to know the work they do with their life-time is needed and vital, and something each can contribute to this world. They, too, would like to know that they have what they need to create their own work; to live Life On Task and On Purpose, in the joy that brings to each day, and how to do that.

 

This is what I like to offer. It’s best in person, but sometimes a book of questions will have to do. If it’s accompanied by a friend or co-seeker, all the better.

 

Whose job is it to nurture vocation?

Is it a job-hire agency, where any work is better than none and pursue what you can?

Is it the work of the church to offer more than a few days’ course each year on what one’s vocation really feels and looks like? And if so, does it reach those needing to feel wanted or vital, or living through the quiet desperation looking for one’s Work  the rest of the year?

Should it be offered in schools, as a course, along with Life-skills 101 including banking, balance statements, and parenting skills?

 

I feel discovering the Work that puts each of us On Task and On Purpose is so important it belongs in all of the above, and maybe even as a free-table at the local Pub.

 

The point is this: such work of discovery has no season but rather is the beginning of your journey, wherever you are in life at this moment.

Yes, every moment is a “here you begin” moment to embrace your unique talents and passion, and to connect with the light and vitalness felt when shining from within combines with one’s sense of being needed on Earth here and now — i.e. having a purpose, and a mission-should-you-decide-to-accept-it — is lived. 

 

I can do this with your help: we can do this together.

 

Gather with friends and go through the book. Email me with questions.

Set up groups that can be tailored to fit anyone in need of encouragement and hope in your community.

Remember too that any  workshops I offer are one-for-one. Put together a workshop in your town or village with ten to twenty others, and we’ll make sure we offer another — together — at very-very-little-cost*  using the book as a living, exploratory process.

 

We all live in a moment of being authentic and our work and value needed in this world. It’s right now.

 And there is someone very near you — right now — wondering if he or she is wanted or his/her energy and passion needed on a mission in life.

Here You Begin, and help the person next to you do so as well…

 Together we can nurture a world of souls shining On Task and On Purpose. Wouldn’t that be a lovely place to live? Heaven on Earth.

Blessings,

Elizabeth Darby

 

*Low-low cost: enough to feel committed; cheap enough to attend when $1/Eu1/£1 is the difference between having lunch or paying rent and pay-what-you-can is the welcoming possibility to discover one’s Life-time OTOP mission.