While blog surfing this afternoon, I stumbled across a life coach's offer to help you Accept prosperity and abundance as your right.
right(noun): (a) a power, privilege or condition of existence to which one has a natural claim of enjoyment or possession; (b) a power, privilege, immunity or capacity the enjoyment of which is secured to a person by law
Is prosperity and abundance really one of our "rights" as human beings? My hackles go up every time I hear this message, and today it plain pissed me off. I am sick to the core of messages about entitlement. Is every person on the planet (or only America) meant to be prosperous, wealthy and abundant? Even in a generous Universe of unlimited possibilities, which I do believe we live in, by whose standards and definitions? Our own? Oprah's? West Africa's?
How much is enough? I once had a friend who bemoaned having only $4 million dollars in the bank. She would have felt more comfortable with $10 million.
What happens to our lives, our relationships, our souls, our government, our planet, our responsibility to helping one another when self-centric entitlement is the floppy pesticide-riddled carrot we chase day in and day out?
Spiritual bankruptcy. Life and nature run in cycles. Ebb and flow, winter death and summer bounty, rain and drought. Every season is vital to the perpetuation of life.
Our American sense of entitlement is dangerous terrain. I'm not talking basic human needs -- water, food, housing, freedom, health care -- we're ALL entitled to those. It's the self-righteous gimme-gimme factor I find prevalent, disturbing and dangerous. We can challenge ourselves to want more -- to want better -- for ourselves, each other and our world than prosperity and abundance as an illusory birthright.
Time to take some deep breaths. Man am I fired up!
Taken yesterday at the Annual Gonzaga Women's Basketball Brunch. I love this photo! My parents were the very first Gonzaga women's basketball season ticketholders, and my Mom brings the girls batches of her famous chocolate chip M&M cookies before every away game. Simone is a great player, plus she's Gonzaga basketball's Big Man Extraordinaire JP Batista's girlfriend (lucky girl). My Mom (5'6") looks tiny next to these two!
Success is the lead word in this blog's byline, so clearly it's important for me to feel successful. But what does it mean? My definitions of success deviate wildly from those I was taught earlier in life, especially the narrow examples modeled during my years at Microsoft, and will doubtlessly continue to evolve as time goes by.
During last Tuesday's interview, I was asked what success means to me. In retrospect, my answer was lame. What I said was true yet hopelessly incomplete. Success has everything to do with how I am on the inside, and very little to do with what I achieve on the outside. In no particular order (at least that I'm aware of :)), I feel successful when:
I am being of service to others, offering up my gifts to the world
I am able to pay my bills, with money left over for savings and modest splurges
My day planner has more empty space than stuff written down
Customers share how much what I'm doing means to them, inspires them, helps them
I make choices based on my soul purpose of helping people honor exactly where they are
I allow time most days to meditate, rest, relax and burst into spontaneous play
I take regular measurable action, however small, towards a new dream or goal
I'm semi-caught up answering emails (100% is a pipe dream) and phone calls
I've written and/or worked on my book that day
Those are my current conditions of success, and they will surely change. What's clear to me in writing them down is that, for me, success is based on a sense of inner value, usefulness and stretching MUCH more than achievement, checking off goals or amassing fame and fortune.
Yes, getting noticed by Oprah was grand. That she tapped my candles for her Live Your Best Life Tour was the highest of compliments and a whole lotta luck. Yet I know with all my heart that I would still be successful today even if Oprah had never happened, because I'd still be doing exactly what I'm doing: Living by my own lights.
That's what I wish I would have shared during last Tuesday's interview.
Here's where I write and work. Where I'm sitting at this exact moment.
Absolutely gorgeous day here in Snohomish, WA. Sunny, windy, bright, sharp. Bryon's away for the weekend, so I am flying / lounging / nesting / sleeping / enjoying being solo. I'm lovin' the solitude. Hung with friends this morning, had lunch, and now greet an afternoon of writing, retreat planning and who knows what.
It's the who knows what that excites me most! Julia Cameron wrote: "Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise."
The Dobies are alternately laying in the sun, stalking each other and grumbling at unseen, menacing forces in the neighborhood.
It's been a quiet month at zena moon, with very few wholesale orders. This isn't a problem now -- in fact, it's a welcome reprieve -- so I'm trying not to worry about what may or may not be in the future and just enjoy the present calm.
I don't believe love is a feeling. I believe love is a choice, a verb. Love is the ultimate walkin' of the talk. Love to you all, this very fine first Saturday of spring.
Got home at 5:30 last night, in bed reading (The Architect by Keith Ablow) by 7. Today I'm a hazy combo of zonked and pleased. My eyes are still dry (eastern Washington dryness, or have I stopped blinking?). Lovely, lovely time. I'm told Tuesday night's event went really well, that I was inspirational, open and funny. I'm still too new at public speaking (and self-kindness) to accurately gauge myself. I do know that I felt pretty relaxed, which is miraculous in and of itself. About 25 people in attendance, many of whom I got to talk 1:1 with after the interview. That was fun!
Here are some of the answers I gave -- remember the interview style was based on BRAVO's Inside the Actors Studio:
Favorite color (orange), word (lullaby), scent (two: lavender and roast turkey), sound(my dog Elliott's breath)
Least favorite color (bright red), word (Ernst), scent (two: whiskey and patchouli), sound(someone chewing with their mouth open)
Favorite swear word:fuck
What bit of advice would you give to our small business owners in the audience?Be flexible. Ask for and receive help. Don't ever think you have to do it all yourself.
To sweeten the evening, we were served heavenly chocolates by a new Spokane company called Chocolate Myracles owned by Julia Myracle. Some of the best chocolate I've tasted, I cannot wait to try her Huckleberry Bonbons . . . although knowing my addictive tendencies maybe it's better that I don't. :)
Felt good to stretch outside my comfort zone again. Felt good to wear dress-up clothes instead of my usual wax-streaked sweats. And it felt even better to meet and mingle with other small business owners. I'm pleased that I am much less shy and insecure than I used to be. Not sure why, but I'll take it! God knows I'll need it for the two big events I'm doing next month (details forthcoming).
I woke up this morning thinking about expectations. Namely, those sneaky, insidious expectations that seethe and lurk just beneath the surface of my awareness, going about their merry hurtful way. Boy do they make me itch. And when I scratch at them, as I have repeatedly this week (hello PMS), they get inflamed, painful and even itchier. Three of my personal faves are:
I am <this age>, therefore I should have accomplished <fill in the blank>.
I have free time, therefore I should be <enter one of a zillion to-do's>.
I have done <this work>, therefore I should feel <centered, successful, grown up serene, wise>.
I am wracked by should's, many of them subconscious much of the time.
I want to practice, with lovingkindness, letting those therefore-I-should's go.
Yesterday while getting my legs waxed, the aesthetician put a little too much wax on one spot so it hurt even crazier when she pulled the hair off. It left a bright red mark. She asked her assistant for the tea tree oil, and said "We have to be nice to this spot" as she gently rubbed soothing oil onto the sore spot.
When I tap into a sore spot within -- such as these therefore-I-should stories, my well-oiled response is to pour scalding hot saltwater on the wound by berating, judging, shaming and scolding myself. What if, instead, I reached for the tea tree oil, and was nice to this spot?
That's better self-care. Noticing, "Ouch. Oh, here you are again. Hi. There there, it's OK." If I want to treat myself with compassion, tenderness and love, this is a wonderful arena to practice in.
I'm not really one for sports, playing or spectating . . . except when it comes to Gonzaga Men's Basketball. As a Spokane hometown girl, I am nuts about this team! I watch every game on TV and attend at least one game per season. This year I went to a nail-biting game against San Francisco. We won, barely. My hands hurt from clapping for a week!
Mind you, I'm nuts, but not nuts to the point of blind adoration. Most of our boys I love ("The Beast" Batista, flying Erroll, Adam and his Spokane 'stache, Pendo, PMAC; some are lukewarm (Josh Heytvelt has great potential plus he's really cute!); and there's one I positively cannot stand: Pargo. Don't even let me get myself started on all the reasons I detest Pargo. Suffice to say I hope he leaves GU after this year.
In any event, we're in the NCAA Tournament, and our Round One game against Xavier (I have no idea who they are or where they're from) is in exactly 20 minutes (4:20 PT, CBS).
Fortunately, I have a spiffy new haircut and freshly waxed legs to cheer my boys on this afternoon.
My pressing dilemma: do I stay a redhead (status quo) or go natural and get highlights (risky)? It's spring, so I'm leaning towards the latter. I feel frumpy, pasty and leaden -- and want to feel light, vibrant and bold!