Authentic Success; The Way of Simplicity
For the last few weeks I’ve been facilitating a 22 day process of transformation, building community and starting a new mentoring program for women leaders of the Whole New World, and that’s why you haven’t heard much from me. But now I’m putting on my Happyzine hat again and connecting with all my friends in New Zealand and so wishing I was there with Charlotte in beautiful Golden Bay.
I’ve been thinking about success and what it means in this changing world. As the old world based on materialism crumbles and a new world is being born from a new consciousness of the interconnectedness of all life, many people all over the world are feeling the call to become more authentic. This awakening doesn’t always feel good because it can bring us more in touch with deep longings which we don’t always know how to meet, these longings eventually move us into action, and action means moving out of our comfort zone, and that’s both scary and exhilarating.
When we don’t know what to do we often fall back on what we do know, or on what others tell us to do. There are millions of books and thousands of internet gurus showing us the way to success: buy this and success will be yours, do that and you will have all the things you long for. Much of it appears to be about adding something or getting something from outside ourselves so that we can feel good, and I must admit I easily start to feel sick on a diet of big promises. Feeling hollow inside? Try a bit of consumerism. Feeling down or insecure? How about some retail therapy? Many people in New Zealand are not as materialistic as those in other western cultures, yet even amongst spiritual seekers I still see many flitting here and there trying to “get” something yet never staying with anything long enough to face the inner void that drives the quest, or to challenge themselves to discover who they really are. As long as we feel incomplete inside, and most of us do at times, we try to add something to fill us up but the satisfaction doesn’t last, and this is what consumerism is built on, a high followed by the return of emptiness and the need for another high; it’s the addiction which the old world is built on.
So where’s the good news in this?
The good news is that we already have everything we need inside us and between us, but it’s like seams of gold and we have to go mining for it.
Authenticity is a way to step out of this cycle of empty consumerism because it means trusting what is on the inside of us and knowing that expressing who we truly are, and discovering more of who we truly are, and being true in our relationships, is the only real and reliable satisfaction. Authenticity is the foundation for a sustainable life, a life that doesn’t depend on “things” or approval from outside.
What does she mean? I hear someone say, having a good heart doesn’t pay the rent does it? Being truthful doesn’t necessarily bring you the partner of your dreams.
But stop and think about it for a minute, when you scan through your life, what has brought you the most happiness and satisfaction? It might be a challenge you’ve overcome, something like giving up smoking or healing from an illness against all the odds; it might be times alone in nature or tending your veggie garden, being with your kids, creating community, mastering a new skill. Whatever it is that makes you feel really full up from the inside; at peace and full of feelings of awe and gratitude about life, aren’t those moment the sweetest moments of success?
Authentic success comes when the urge to grow and break through confining old rules, becomes so strong we can no longer ignore it. Then we stop trying to please others or to fit into some media dream of the good life and start to discover who we really are, what we really want, what gives our life meaning, and to face the challenges that will help us to grow. Becoming more authentic takes courage because we have to step off into the unknown, and take the risk to be more open and it can take a patient weeding over many months or years to let go of all the old limiting rules we’ve swallowed down about how and who we “should” be.
I’ve noticed when people start to become more true to their real needs and wishes, their lives become simpler. Very simple here and now things give life a feeling of completeness. The fullness comes from the taste of the mango or the sound of the cicadas or the color of a tree. It’s all already here, we simply have to wake up and see and taste what is.