The best part of one's life is the working part, the creative part. Believe me, I love to succeed, but the real spiritual and emotional excitement is in the doing. GarsonKanin
The free online dictionary defines success as (n.)The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted.
So often, when I'm planning something, success is that far off point where the event is over, the document completed, the goal realized and I have the time to take a breath and say, "Job well done." -- or not. So often, I fail to see the success in the doing, in the over-coming obstacles, figuring out problems, un-doing mistakes, creating possibilities of new directions, new possibilities as I work towards my existing goals.
Recently, while preparing for the Governor General's forum, ART MATTERS, I worked with our staff videographer on the video which I posted here a couple of weeks ago, The Possibilities Project. There was no clear goal for that video, no desired outcome to have it play a role in the forum. In fact, the original intent had not been to include it as part of my presentation at the forum. The original intent had been to create a piece on the project which we could include on our website to give visitors an idea of what's happening at the shelter. And then, when I decided to include the piece at the forum, I believed I had to cut it down to about 3 minutes to fit into my presentation slot. That created a whole different set of problems. How to condense 7 and a half minutes into 3 without losing the depth and value of the voices in the piece. At that moment, success would have been measured by how well we cut the piece to fit the timeframe. In the end, cutting wasn't necessary and success became focused on a whole other set of criteria -- how well the audience received the message, how well the piece expressed the message.
I got excited by that piece. Got excited by the opportunity to put together an overview of a project that inspires me and others. In working on the Possibilities Project, in working on bringing creative opportunities alive at the shelter, I have become excited by the 'real spiritual and emotional' growth I have experienced, and that I have witnessed in those I work with. And in its expression, I have received many, many gifts.
Recently, Max, one of the artists gave me a piece he had written. "You can do with it as you wish, Louise," he told me as he passed me a piece of folded paper. "You asked me a question the other day. I wanted to give you my answer in writing."
Max wrote: You asked what being part of the Power Play: Homelessness gave me. I remember a comment David Diamond [the director] said about not biting off the whole problem, about taking small pieces and making them palatable. It's taught me that success isn't solving the big things. It's in taking the small steps that make a difference every day.
When I was released from the relationship that almost killed me, my life was a mess. Big time. I had seventy-two cents in my pocket, a few clothes and my dog, Ellie. And I had people who loved me who were hurt and angry. I had betrayed the sacred trust of motherhood. I had betrayed myself and everyone who cared for me with the lies I had lived while in that relationship.
I was broken.
I was blessed.
My sister and her husband gave me a home, a safe refuge to weather the aftermath of the storm. Everyday, Ellie and I would walk into the woods at the end of the street and I would breathe deeply in the freedom of walking without 'his' voice rhyming over and over again in my head all the reasons why I didn't deserve to live, all the ways I had failed him and was a failure as a human being.
As I walked, I remember thinking of the problems I had to face. The burden of finding a solution to their totality weighed me down. They looked so big. So daunting. So over-whelming. To give myself peace, I would look up into the limitless blue of the sky overhead and whisper to the heavens, "Okay God. Here's the deal. Can you please carry the burden of what I must do so that I can focus on doing one thing today that will bring me closer to my goal of healing and reconnecting with my daughters? Will you please carry the load so that I can breathe freely and take one small step each day towards reclaiming my life."
And it never failed.
As soon as I asked, the burden lifted. I would feel lighter, more peaceful and calm. And in my renewed strength, I could take one small step to heal. And that one small step became a path of steps leading me away from the turmoil and pain of what had happened with him, into the joy of what was happening in my life without him.
One small step.
Success isn't necessarily found in the big leap, the giant step over the mountain. Success is found in the small things we do each and every day to walk our talk, walk our path of integrity, honesty and truth. Success is found in the grace and ease with which we overcome obstacles, embrace tribulations and infuse each moment with love and joy.
Success is found in living each moment filled with the rapture of now, expressing our Divine holiness in everything we do.
One day I took a step away from abuse and opened the door into possibility.
Today, I breathe life into all sorts of spaces such as the Possibilities Project and know the feeling of success that comes with living each moment passionately aware of the preciousness of this gift called life. Today, I am free to express my creative nature, able to inspire others to come alive to their own unique expression and to keep taking steps, one at a time, that keep me living in the truth of my human condition -- I am a fearless woman touching hearts and opening minds to set spirits free to dance in a world of love, joy and harmony. There is no greater success in my life than knowing, I am doing my best when I give my best to those I love, to those I serve. I am my best when I succeed with every step I take to open me up to experiening real spiritual and emotional growth in every moment. When I am excited about being my most magnificent self in everything I do, in every way, I am. Me.