*Follow up to Maybe You're Not A Good Person
After writing my last post it dawned on me that I had painted a picture of myself that emphasised the 'not good' qualities and none of the positive. I realised that the picture I painted could be misunderstood and understandably so. It took courage to be that real with both myself and with the world outside and so in this post I wanted to get the balance right and share how living my life was not something to put in the category of 'easy' and how what I have achieved may, from the outside looking in, look like nothing, so I wanted to show another way of seeing it.
Living a life 'off-the-hamster-wheel' of living for several years was in no way easy. Outwardly it may look like the charmed life, and yes outwardly it could have been that way, but inwardly I did some major growing that was totally invisible to the eye.
How Does Society Measure Success?
Society measures success in outer material terms, but because the things I have achieved haven't converted into my bank balance, it is seen as more a failure than a success. We are so outwardly driven and goal orientated as a race that people who take time out to 'find themselves' appear to be achieving little in terms of the big success society appears to approve of.
Society primarily approves and acknowledges 'doers'. Their achievements are easily measured, but for those of us who have taken time to simply be, to go within, our achievements are not readily visible and cannot be measured, but our impact is far reaching.
Maybe the impact we have on the world around us could be a better definition of success? Or perhaps we drop all definitions altogether.
With the exception of publishing my book, gaining my Bachelor's degree, and backpacking around Australia for a year on my own, most of my achievements have been intangible, but I believe that they will prove to be more worthwhile over time.
- Emotional growth as I was prepared/willing and wanting to explore my shadow side and the stuff within me that hurt, and deal with it.
- Inner wisdom shared that has made a difference in other people's lives.
- Growing spiritually and consistently being aware of what is taking place in both my inner and outer worlds, so I can be the person I truly am.
- Wisdom and awareness through my writing skills.
- Increased intuitive awareness.
The thing is, most people never explore who they really are, because they are too busy 'achieving'. Even when I was working full time I took time to explore my inner world and to keep questioning 'Who Am I?' so that I could become clearer and release the demons I was carrying from my past. I would self-reflect during my lunch hour, on the bus going to work and coming home, in the shower... there was always a way to self-reflect. Most people are too scared to explore the world I have been exploring. This is why the world is so busy, so noisy because to become silent and to simply be frightens the crap out of most people. Hence, workaholics, addicts and people who keep busy 24/7.
Most people do whatever they can to avoid feeling pain. They self-medicate, taking drugs or drinking too much, they have sex with strangers, they are workaholics, they over eat....all these things to avoid. How to embrace pain...don't try and avoid it. When it surfaces, feel it. FEEL into it...don't distract yourself. Let it be and observe it but don't "cope" by self-medicating because that just sends it underground. It's still there, you are just numb to it.
~ Philippa Lucinda Bloom
I can totally see why so many people over the course of my taking time out have judged me and resented my lifestyle. I probably would too if I were not happy in my own life, but it takes a change of perspective to see what is going on when someone takes time out.
'Simply Being' Is Not A Walk In The Park
Firstly, not being part of the 'rat race' sounds great when you have the income and funds to go travelling, to socialise and learn new outer skills. For me I had very little in terms of material wealth and so I spent most of that time alone, on my own and it was exactly what I needed.
While others were working hard I may have been walking through nature and it appeared such a charmed existence, but I was battling with inner demons and resistance against 'simply being' based on what I felt other people would think of me taking the time out.
Initially this is what I felt a lot, my inner self-judgements based on what society expected of me was tough going. It took me a very, very long time to relax into simply being and when I finally did accept that it was okay to take the time out, I then had all this time alone to get to know me and once we drop the 'busy' we find out our inner world is very, very noisy, very critical and not easy, far from easy.
The process I've been on is not measurable because it hasn't got signs saying where I've got to, because it's a continuous road. And because I don't function by the standards of society, this can cause others to judge me as a failure and that is also where I have been hooked into during my time out.
An intuitive healer I know, spoke to me about the process of Ho'oponopono (see here) and how many of us walk past a homeless person and may think 'Oh poor him' and we project this energy onto him and so it can be hard for him to lift himself out of that life experience because day-after-day people project judgements onto that person and energetically affect them. For me I felt 'Oh what a failure' projected onto me by the outside world. I received energy messages from people both verbally and silently: 'Why doesn't she get a normal job, what a waste of space' over and over again. I felt judgements from my family too because I did not match their conventional outlook on what I ought to be doing at my age and time in my life. And add this to the stories I had carried from childhood, you can imagine my inner world has taken some major exploring, dismantling and shifting and still does as I write this post.
It is true that Jesus healed the sick, but not because he healed them, but because he saw their wholeness; he did not see them as sick or broken. Imagine the difference we can make in other people's lives when we seek to see who they really are, not the image we project onto them. What could happen to a homeless man or woman if we walked past them and thought simply 'I love you' instead of 'oh poor you'. And also turn this inwardly towards ourselves more than anything.
My friend Mike told me this morning that some may think he did the wrong thing supporting me on my time out, but his response when I spoke about this with him was:
"Every human being is on his or her individual path and I have no right to judge their path to be right or wrong." ~ Michael Doherty
Mike believes in unconditional love and he wanted to support me unconditionally, until he was ready for a change and for that unconditional love to be honest with me, which he was, and now change has happened.
I'm not asking people to project love onto me, but to simply be aware that when we judge others we leave a mark on them energetically and what looks easy on the outside does not always equate to easy on the inside.
I am eternally grateful for my time out, yes it was damn hard, yes I battled and resisted 'simply being' a lot, but it has made me finally start to see that the outer world, the emotions, the mind is not who I really am. Who I really am is much vaster and is pure awareness. It has made me realise that even if the outer world reflects my failure story, that I am worthy of love, respect and acceptance exactly as I am right now, not in some far off imaginary future when everything I am doing matches the expectations of others or the society at large.
Success is living life in whatever way life is living through us. It is that simple, but can we as humans drop our perceptions and judgments about what people 'ought' to be doing and acknowledge them as humans and find the love in all of that?