Are you a success? Do you think of yourself as a failure? What are your definitions of success and failure? Who told you that? Extend your thinking a bit more: How do you react if you are deemed a failure by your own Ego or anyone else?
These questions present challenges that could halt or hinder one’s push to live personal truth, follow a dream, or walk in nonconformity in order to live in harmony with Spirit and in the fellowship of the Heart.
Ego loves to frame the definition of success painted by a world largely driven by Ego itself. It looks good. For this reason we must know personal truth and the emotional and cognitive framework it provides. Then, we can face whatever comes our way in living our truth, which often requires us to ignore the criticisms, advice, and aspersions cast by jealous, pompous, or fearful conformists. The framework of personal truth in reference to living Heart provides the ability to push through the doubtful, fearful, depressed, and even angry times.
“You’ve been doing this for over a year now, and you only have 900 followers? Would they buy a book, pay to purchase a publication that carried your column? Would they register for a seminar? How are you helping people, anyway? Wouldn’t it be better if you got a real job, made some kind of salary, and then you could do this writing in your spare time? Then, you could donate to other charities or maybe meet more people who could help you? Don’t you care about me?”
Any of that sound familiar? Maybe not to you, but I have heard such things. Personal truth: I am a creator. I have created the drive to discover and share that. I will share through writing and activities that may derive from that: speaking, seminars, webinars, personal coaching sessions.
So what do I do, my Heart? What is our truth? Write. Discover and write. So sit down, focus, and write. But what about money and publishing. Have you forgotten faith? Faith is part of our framework of personal truth. Have you forgotten magic and miracles? What does your magic say? This is part of our framework of personal truth. Are you not pursuing publishing? Keep on track.
You get the picture? In the face of very real opposition, criticism, and discouragement, I know and I act. Oh, and part of my truth is I will not stop.
However, I have to process the emotions that come with all of this. It is not automatic, and in the throes of internal conflict, I address Heart as in the example above, and the direction is to my personal truth. Scads of corollary issues arise, other angles, other challenges, but each one can be addressed by my truth. Ultimately, the question is am I a success or failure at the end of every day?
That’s easy for me. I set out the terms, I define it, and I learn if I fail my terms. Did I get to work on either of my books today? No? I failed that goal; therefore, what will I do tomorrow to address that. It doesn’t depress or discourage me.
While others may say they don’t mean to discourage us and they may not do it directly, they make it clear that we have failed to meet Ego-driven expectations. That leaves us feeling bad about ourselves — like we are failures. Not acceptable for an awakened, Heart-driven co-creator.
A reader might say that I am messing around with trivial matters, that no one cares about my paltry writing. I would laugh at them. Near the end of his life, Walt Whitman ruminates about this very issue of success, failures, and the definitions and interpretation of those. He does it in a preface to another work, November Boughs. In the preface, “A Backward Glance O’er Travel’d Roads,” he says reminiscing about one’s life work as a “grand resume” provides, perhaps, the most beautiful of songs. Since he delighted in the the lives of others, though, he believed everyone could have a song. I don’t think a very grand song will result if one has never discovered personal identity or created purpose and truth to live that identity.
Walt turns to thoughts of the over thirty years’ development of Leaves of Grass and says this: “That from a worldly and business point of view ‘Leaves of Grass’ has been worse than a failure — that public criticism on the book and myself as author of it yet shows mark’d anger and contempt more that anything else…” (443). This is the Ego definition of success and Walt well knows it. People of his time, by and large, rejected him. Have you ever read the simple profundity of his poems? Were they morons? No, just driven by Ego-expectations of what could and should be said or written or lived. Conformists — resigned, apathetic, pathetic conformists when it came to knowing and living their truth. However, self-righteousness can be a passionate and ugly commodity, and Ego delights to evoke that.
Did Walt really distinguish between society’s truth of conformity and his own Purpose and truth? “I had my choice when I commenc’d. I bid neither for soft eulogies, big money returns, nor the approbation of existing schools and conventions…unstopp’d and unwarp’d by any influences outside the soul within me, I have had my say entirely my own way…” (443–444). Yes, and since he knew this at the outset, writing thirty years later shows he must have called many times on his Heart and used that framework of his truth. He lived it in his “own way” (444).
Who are you, and what do you want to do to live that Self, imbued with your own dreams, passions, skills, abilities, and emotions? Set out to do it establish your own principles, write your own manifesto, live that truth without regard of others’ opinions. Join with those who walk in the fellowship of the Heart.
We get to define success, and the best way to even know what we wish to succeed in is to know Heart, become self-aware. The definitions and judgments of anyone else do not count; oh, they might hurt and we will need Heart help, but they don’t count. We can nonconform our way to success through our own truth!
Out of time and space, let’s see what tomorrow brings!
(All quotes: Whitman, Walt. Complete Poetry and Selected Prose by Walt Whitman. Ed. James E. Miller, Jr. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1959. Print.)
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!