Category Archives: Joyful Living
“Start with what delights you that you can’t help sharing because that is the joy that no one can really resist.”
Passion and purpose are words I see and hear a lot in the ever-expanding literature of self-development. I don’t know a life coach or a spiritual advisor or self-help guru who hasn’t included some mention of these concepts in his or her book or seminar or blog or speech.
I read those books and blogs and listen to those tapes and get as caught in the notion of a passionate and purposeful life as anyone. Who doesn’t like the idea of living his/her dream, following one’s bliss, etc.?
But when I take off the reading glasses and look in the mirror clarity sometimes seems to scurry out the door, leaving me with a lot of questions about where I put my passion and purpose and how to retrieve them, assuming I ever really had them to begin with.
I look at what at I’ve done and what I’m doing and I wonder things like, does any of it really matter? Does anyone really care? If I continue—or stop doing it—or do something else, will anyone even notice?
So I asked the Shower Team: “Where’s the value in what I do or in what I have to give? How can I know that what I have to offer or if what I regard as my passion or purpose has any real value?
It’s a tricky question you’re asking, not because the answer is difficult or even all that complicated, but because there are some powerful false premises attached to the way that you’re asking it.
The simplest and purest answer to the question, How can I offer something of value?” is to just decide that you’re going to offer yourself something that you value. That is, you should always start with you. Start with what lights you up or makes your heart sing and your feet dance and your smile beam. Start with what delights you that you can’t help sharing because that is the joy that no one can really resist. That is the gift that your world most needs and that will be most appreciated because there’s no way not to appreciate a gift offered from such a sweet, honest and joyful place.
But, this notion trips you up because it seems to conflict with your longstanding and oh so seductive perspective about ‘service’ to others and the only honorable route to such service being to put your own desires and dreams and “selfish pleasures” in the backseat where they supposedly belong.
You have a hard time believing that anything that feels too good can be a good thing for yourself much less for anyone else. So rather than making your passion—your bliss—your life purpose, you dig around in the dirt for something that looks nobler or feels like more of a sacrifice because you’ve trained yourself to believe that if it doesn’t hurt at least a little—preferably a lot—if it doesn’t cause you to suffer or to give up something you really like, then it can’t much use to anyone else. After all, how can something you truly adore and find absolute joy in doing possibly bring any value to anyone if there’s no evidence of what it cost you?
The other tricky part of your question is that embedded in it is the notion that someone other than you gets to decide the value of you. And while we can se how this notion arises from the conditions you observe of others placing price tags on products and services and creations, when some ‘they’ out there appears to be deciding how much this or that is worth . . . while we can see why you might conclude that you not the ultimate authority on how valuable your gifts may be, we still say to you that from the broader perspective, no one else decides this for you unless you let them. You may be one who sells some creation of yours for what some would call an obscene amount of money and never really believe that your creation was worth the paper or canvas or plastic or wood or whatever other material on which it was rendered.
If that offering had no real value to you, the price tag dangling from it or the dollars flowing into your bank account from the sale of it will mean next to nothing to the one whose opinion of it matters most—the one who created and offered it. Without your agreement on its value, any quantifying of that value is just economics, and economics continues to be one of the most persuasive illusions to which most of you ascribe.
So, you ask how can you know what is in you that is of value? What gifts do you bring to the world you inhabit and the people who inhabit it with you? And we continue to say that you will never sacrifice or suffer enough to improve the world you inhabit or to make a difference to those who agree that your only worthy option is to sacrifice and struggle.
You will only see reflected back to you the light that you allow to shine through you—and the only real way to be that light is to be who you truly are, to identify and express the most passionately selfishly true joy of your being, whatever that might be . . . and to offer that as your gift first and foremost to yourself, and then to offer it to those (and we promise you there will be plenty) who are able to recognize and receive the incomparably unique value of that perfectly offered gift.
It’s curious to say the least, how much easier it seems to just join the clubs whose creed is that nothing worth having-or giving—comes without sacrifice or suffering. Membership is open 24/7 and never stops growing. You see their flyers everywhere.
Could finding and living with passion and purpose really be as simple as just being myself? Am I even truly willing to belong to a club that would have me as a member? Far be it from me to argue with The Shower Team, but don’t be surprised if you see me tripping over that truth a few more times before it really sinks in.
Parting aFLOWmation: “Be the gift to you that keeps on giving.”
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“What you are regarding as bad or wrong in this instance or any other is really just guidance that you are judging because it is what you have learned to do.”
Few things can leave us as drooping in the dust the way a relationship gone awry can. When love goes off course or comes to a crashing halt it’s one of the worst feelings in the world and can leave us standing either in front of our partner—or a mirror (often they’re one and the same)—declaring “You suck.”
Having had what feels like at least my fair share of those particular blues over the course of my lifespan to date, I wondered to myself and then to The Shower Team, “Why do I seem to keep missing the mark here? What’s wrong with me that I keep getting it so wrong?”
The first thing we would say in response to that question is that what’s “wrong” (your word, not ours) is the question you are asking. That is, what’s wrong or misguided is your belief that something is wrong in general or wrong with you, which you will never get us to agree with.
We understand that you have experienced or observed something in the context of a relationship that is unpleasant or uncomfortable or discouraging for you and that is calling you forward to something better that you desire. And we get that the gap between where you are and where you desire to be feels uncomfortably wide in such moments.
That is, you don’t like the way that you are holding yourself (and we promise you that you are) back from the joy that your Higher Self or Soul or whatever you wish to call Who You Really Are clearly understands is yours to have. You don’t like the way you’re thinking about you or your situation right now because the way you’re thinking is not the way Source thinks about you. That discrepancy or disagreement with yourself never feels good.
And so, in other words, what is ‘wrong’ with you that is not really wrong is the way you are choosing to label or judge what you are observing. And the moment that you allow yourself to choose a different way of observing and thinking about what you are choosing, you will feel the relief you always feel when you recognize that what you think is wrong is really just information that you are interpreting in a particular way, usually a way that you have trained yourself into and which you barely even recognize as your choice.
Even though it doesn’t feel like a choice, we assure that it is, just as we assure you that other choices are available to you. What you are regarding as bad or wrong in this instance or any other is really just guidance that you are judging because it is what you have learned to do.
In other instances you do not judge such guidance. You do not, as a rule, see a sign on the highway that says you are further from your destination that you realized and conclude “Oh something must be terribly wrong with me for not being there yet or for not being further along than I am.”
But in this specific area of your life-in your close connections with others—you do exactly that. Instead of simply acknowledging the information you’ve been given as evidence that you have not yet caught up with where your desire is taking you, that you are not quite there yet, you stop and criticize where you are and blame yourself (or your partner) for being there when all you really need to do is see where you are, feel the direction that you’re being called toward and choose the steps and the point of view that moves you in that direction.
You instantly know what moves you in the ‘right’ direction by how it feels to turn that way. If the way you or your relationship is going or has gone feels wrong then it is only because you are thinking something about that relationship or about you or your partner that is not in agreement with how Source is thinking.
What does Source think about you or your problem or your relationship? We can assure you that what Source is never thinking is that you or he or she or it is ‘wrong’. What Source is thinking is that you have created something wonderful and fulfilling through the purity of your desire and if you will just pay attention to the guidance you are receiving and move in the direction of the desire that calls to you, neither you nor your partner nor your relationship or even the ending of your relationship will feel wrong to you. In fact, you will see—and be amazed at—just how remarkably right it all is for the way that it is pointing you toward the joy still ahead of you.
So, the only thing wrong with me is my feeling that something’s wrong with me? Sort of sounds like being told it’s crazy to wonder if you’re crazy. I do know that I have an unerring tendency to go in the opposite direction from my intended destination. Just follow me in and out of stores at any mall.
With all due respect to The Team, the message has that “easier heard than felt” feeling to it. “Words that wiggle a bit” you might say. So for now I’m off to have my compass checked—and while I’m at it, to once again question most of my assumptions.
Parting aFLOWmation: “Wrong is the other right.”