Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.
Every morning I receive a quote of the day in my inbox. Today’s quote struck accord within me;
“What keeps so many employees back is simply unwillingness to pay the price, to make the exertion, the effort to sacrifice their ease and comfort.”
— Orison Swett Marden, motivational expert
As a young adult with two small children, I played small and lived small. I did not exert too much effort in being. I simply lived passively, by default you might say. I did not want to ruffle God’s feathers by asking too much. I just wanted to live enough to get by unnoticed and without causing too much of a ruckus. I did not dream big dreams, just dreamed small enough to provide for my family.
So, imagine my surprise when I was promoted to supervisor six months after working for a mid-sized company. I was in complete amazement, total shock. I thought my manager had totally lost his mind, did he see something in me that I didn’t see in myself? This shocking occurrence happened many times at several other companies I worked at over the years. Each time I was promoted, I chalked it up to luck. I did not truly see in myself what others saw in me. I did not feel I was doing anything special when I was offered promotions. I was just doing my job.
What I didn’t realize back then was that when you do something well/good/great, life has to provide you with the next step up. In other words, to use the words of the great Napoleon Hill “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way”.
Looking back on those times, I did small things in a great way. I didn’t have the confidence or positive self image to go out and do great things, but when I did small things – I did them great.
Fast forward to early 2000, I became fed up with living a “small” life. I had been promoted several times and earned a great income for my family. Then something strange happened, I began wanting more. I wanted more material things, so that I could fit in with those around me. I wanted to shop whenever I felt the urge, at the stores that were out of my budget. I wanted to wear designer duds and carry designer purses and drive expensive cars. I wanted all the things that I thought would make me noticeable to others and happy within myself. You might know how this story ends, eventually, what I ended up with was major credit card debt, a shopping addiction and more dis-ease and less contentment within spirit.
Then late 2003, I felt an emergence in my soul, a wrangling in my spirit, a yearning for more, more life, a bigger experiences. But, these feelings frightened me. So, I ran from them. I was so entrenched in fear that it had strangled my life. It was intense and uncomfortable. I became irritable and withdrawn. I was ashamed. I was afraid others saw the fear in me, so I became more assertive, negative and judgmental. I made the usual statements made by people who passively lived their lives by default, “I will never get what I want, only lucky people live the lives of their dreams. I was born poor, so I will die poor.” I even used a statement to my children that I dreaded each time my mother said it to me, “money doesn’t grow on trees.”
I tried to cover up my feelings and I began to put on a front to appear strong, successful and happy. I did this by buying more things and going on vacations, all so that I could brag about my accomplishments. All the while, I was empty. I was living the life of someone I didn’t recognize, someone I didn’t even like. My whole life’s existence was based on money, money that I did not have. Somewhere along the line my self identity was in direct correlation of how much money I had or did not have. I was spiritually drowning. I realized I had to do something to get back on track with the Creator to turn the ship around.
In an effort to get back to my true self. I began purchasing self-help books and audios. I was seeking, actively seeking for the answers to my problems. I was sure the answers were written in a book. The key to unlock the passion and purpose for my life was somewhere out there and I was sure to find it. I spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars attending seminars and workshops. I was always excited right before these events and immediately thereafter. Then the thoughts I was running from would creep into my mind and completely absorb my spirit, you know the thoughts, the thoughts that this is all thoroughly useless. As I ran from these thoughts, I said superficial affirmations daily. I looked in the mirror and looked into my own eyes to reprogram the thoughts. Nothing worked. Nothing worked until I realized the answers were within me all along. All I had to do was realize that and when I did a real sense of peace sprung within me.
Today, I am quite victorious in my journey of discovery, as I have learned that there are no gurus or magic bullets out there that hold the solutions to the lessons I must learn in this lifetime. The only true guru is life and it is meant to be lived, so look within and you will find that ease and comfort are your virtuous right and there is nothing you need to do, just BE.