Success is not what I thought it was...
It was three years ago. I was in the middle of packing and preparing to move my three children and I to another province. The move was understandably met with a mixed bag of emotions for all of us.
During that time, the corporate training arm of my business was in full tilt. While packing and taping up boxes, all my mental and creative capacity was dedicated to the creation of the various training programs I was developing. And, while I was exhilarated, I could feel my "operating system" slowing down as I had far too many mental file programs running. But, I ignored the call to slow down. After all, how could I? I had stuff to do.
I got into a car accident that totaled my van. It was an accident that could have been avoided if I had just slowed down. Gratefully, the children were not with me and nobody suffered any major injuries.
The following day, my friends arranged a going away party for me. While I was in the midst of basking in the love of the most incredible collection of people, I learned that the grant program that was funding my corporate training intitatives had suddenly folded.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars just dissolved in front of my eyes. I had plans for that money — it was going to pull us out of suffocating debt, allow me to do some things with the children that I really wanted them to be able to experience and, it was going to be the seed money for me to do my "love work."
But for whatever reason, whether I was still in aftershock mode from the accident, I was non-plussed. In fact, my first thought was: "Huh, I guess I had better move right into my love work." I was amused by that first reaction and took it as a clear sign guiding me to my new direction. And while I enjoyed working on my business projects and was good at it, I knew deep down that corporate training was not what I had come here to do.
The next day, while taping up a box in preparation for the big move, I noticed that something felt different. What was this new feeling? I realized that for the first time in a terribly long time, my mind was quiet. I was actually experiencing full presence. I was fully concentrating on the tape gun and appreciating the sounds it made when I pulled a huge strip down.
Bliss. With a tape gun. Ah, this is what shanti feels like.
Much to my surprise, I lost not even one night of sleep over the sudden dissolving of my corporate training project. Within 48 hours, with the help of my Shaman friend Debbie Gibbs, I had come to spiritual resolution with it. I knew that if the projects that I had been working on were for my highest interests, they would have happened. So, it must not have been in my highest interest.
My mantra that "Nothing happens to me and that Everything happens FOR me" called me back from potential looming fear and nestled me close in comfort. With the help of my tribe of sister-friends, my home was packed, cleaned, painted, shampooed and rented — in the midst of Christmas concerts, recitals, solstice and countless goodbye parties. I was there for it all. I was present. Not the shell of me that had been masquerading like Farhana. This time, I was fully present.
I fell in love with Presence; she was serene, unpretentious and unflappable. Even with a 19-hour bus ride with three children in the midst of a snow storm and a moving company that went awol for one week, nothing could make me upset or fearful. I protected this quiet that I was feeling and stayed off all electronics for one month. No Facebook... No Twitter... No email... And since no one had my new phone number, no phone distraction either.
In this blissful state, I began to see that my success was not wrapped up with lucrative corporate contracts, nor was it about any popularity contest — cyber or otherwise — nor was it about making connections and getting established, or getting another offer. It was something else.
In my love affair with Presence, I began to see that I was not separate from success. Then, I invited the following question: "If my success is inevitable, and it is, what would I do right now?" My first split second aha was that I would be doing what I am doing right now — inviting the spiritual conversation — my love work. And the functional answer that came, had nothing to do with my expansive to do list. Success in that moment meant volunteering in my daughters kindergarten class. Cool! A whole new operating system of asking and being guided was born.
I don't do this always — I forget the good stuff all the time — but when I remember to ask success how she wants to be realized in this moment, I am always guided fruitfully and in line with my real values. No more am I looking out there to determine what should happen. Instead, I am looking in here to see what wants to happen.
So, I ask you, if your success is inevitable, and it is, what would you do right now?
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