by Debbie Takara Shelor
Several years ago I started noticing that I wasn't happy. I was ill more often than was O.K. with me and I seemed to only find pleasure in writing.
I began asking, "Whatever happened to my joy? I must have had some joy in my life at some point. But where has it gone?
I wasn't happy in high school. We moved to a new town when I was entering the 9th grade and I cried everyday after school for almost a year because I just didn't know how to fit in with the same crowd - or type of kids - that I'd been friends with in my previous school. I felt like a failure at making my high school life work. I didn't even attend the 5 year reunion because the pain was still so great.
But there were times in grade school and junior high when I was very very happy.
Even during my engineering career my laugh was so infectious and wonderful that one of the plant managers used to comment about it often. He loved my laugh.
But the laugh was even gone for awhile.
So where had it gone? When and why did my joy leave?
I was sitting in my office "trying" yet another thing to make our business successful. I had already spent hours (years) upgrading the website, answering email, writing the newsletters, reading about effective marketing.
My former husband - whose timing is always impeccable - came in to the room and said "Here you sit. Again! You are in front of the computer when I leave for work and you are on it when I come home. You don't do anything else." Then he just turned and left.
I didn't defend myself. I didn't try to explain why it was so important to be doing what I'd been doing. I just sat there and thought about it and realized he was right. There I sat and I wasn't even enjoying it. The only thing I enjoyed was writing the newsletters, but the rest brought me no joy. I was now in a state of realizing that "something isn't right here."
That same day he called and asked me why our bank account had a negative balance?
I had no reply. I went numb. After I hung up the phone, I had a complete and total physical and emotional breakdown. I was sobbing really big tears. And I was ready to leave - the planet I mean. I had had it. I was a complete and total failure (in my own mind). I couldn't even manifest a positive bank account. I was exhausted from the struggle. I hated the game (life). I hated my life (the things I had co-created).
There I was - in that most magical of moments - often referred to as the Dark Night of the Soul. That amazingly horrible wonderful instant when you can choose to sink or swim. That time when we are forced to make a real choice - to change our life permanently for the better or stay stuck in anger, hatred, sadness, or whatever other type of negativity. I had "hit the wall" as they say. I felt like an absolute and total failure. The old way was absolutely no longer acceptable.
I'd been there before - back in 1993. That experience is what caused my spiritual awakening. Interestingly it was brought on by the same type of thing. Depression - severe depression over the loss of a job I totally and completely loved.
You see I had become completely co-dependent on what I considered the perfect magical job for myself. I was a Team Leader in the Bayer Factory. We made all the Bayer Aspirin in the U.S. I was co-creator of a self-directed work team. I got to travel. I got to teach team, communication, and quality skills. I got to work one on one with employees - their personal development. I worked night and day. It was difficult, but I had a mission - create a successful self-directed factory.
But the more things I tried, the harder it became, the more problems there seemed to be.
And then the unthinkable happened.
The company restructured and I was taken out of the Bayer Factory. I was no longer a Team Leader in a self directed work environment. I was a front line supervisor in a traditional (archaic) factory - a job I had turned down at least 6 times prior to this. To say I was devastated hardly begins to describe all the things I felt.
My dream had been wretched out from under me - and there was nothing I could do about it. Once again, my life felt like a failure.In hindsight, almost 10 years later, I finally saw the truth. The truth is I thought my one shot at real glory had been shattered. I was so co-dependent on the "success" of the project that I couldn't see the truth. The truth is I didn't care about the success of the team. What I cared about was me being part of something wildly successful. If I was part of something wildly successful, then I would finally deserve and therefore receive the acknowledgement and appreciation I was so desperately seeking from - oh no - my dad.
Growing up I never got it. I tried everything. I was the best at practically everything I did. I'd come home with straight A's and my dad's only comment would be "Why weren't they A+'s?" That's it. After all I had put into achieving I never received the reward. I was a failure in my own mind even when I was excelling.
So out of this I developed the belief that no matter what I did, it wasn't good enough and it would never bring me happiness. So I had to try harder, try more things, and the more attached I was to the outcome being a success, well (as is always the case when you are attached to an outcome) the bigger the failure it became.
When you are attached to the outcome there is no way for there to be a good result. Actions not taken in joy never result in happiness.
I wasn't taking actions out of joy. I was taking actions out of desperation. Trying desperately to achieve something worthy of praise. Trying desperately not to be a failure in the eyes of others and in my own eyes.
The driving force behind all of my actions was not desire to attain my value of helping people or making a difference. My actions were being taken from the shear terror of how I'd feel (and always did feel) because my dad must not love me since he never praised my accomplishments.
Because father represents Father (the masculine aspect of God), then God must not be pleased with me either. Great!
The more I tried, the more things didn't work, the more unhappy I became. So I tried with more determination, with greater attachment to the outcome. So of course all I experienced was disappointment and complete lack of joy. I didn't enjoy the work because it was full of disappointment - I had WAY too many expectations. I couldn't enjoy my former husband, or my son, or where we live - even though all three of those are fabulous. I NEVER took time for myself. Because the only thing that mattered was the success (or in this case lack of success) of the business.
My focus was completely on what I didn't have and the sense of failure I felt. And I completely lost sight of what I did have - which was a great deal.The human personality is such a silly character. Lets get to the truth of the matter.
Did (and does) my father love me?
Did he acknowledge my accomplishments?
Yes in his own way.
Was he proud of me?
You have no idea how very proud.
But the little girl - we don't know how old she was when she decided all this - wasn't getting the exact right words or actions at the exact right time to satisfy her own insecurity. So she made all the other stuff up and began living life from that perspective. A completely debilitating set of beliefs and patterns with really no justification for their existence.
We all do that you know!
What is the worst thing you can do for your immune system? Experience for long periods of time negative (or low vibratory) emotions such as anger, hatred, fear, depression, sadness, etc. I'd been stuck in sadness and depression. So I became ill. And no matter what I tried things didn't really improve.
This Dark Night of the Soul literally freed me from the shackles of a limiting belief that I'd carried most of my life. After the initial breakdown - which was very short lived - this huge energetic boulder, that was much bigger than I am, shattered into a million pieces and fell to the floor all around me. It was gone. I mean it was really gone.
The next day, after this experience of discovering the shadow, I turned 41. It was Spring Equinox - a time of rebirth and renewal.
I was literally faced with having to redefine who I Am and what matters to me. A kind of scary idea. All of my goals, values, and everything had this false belief underneath them. Now that it was gone its like I had to start again. I had to re-evaluate my values. I had to look at my goals to see if they made sense. And, finally, it felt like for the first time in my life I could breathe deep and relax.
Before everything was about being perceived as being successful - so everyone, especially my dad, would love me. So, nothing and I mean nothing, could be left to chance. The stress this creates is almost unimaginable.
This "thing" driving me in every moment wasn't even something in my best interest. It caused stress which leads to disease. It required taking actions that I didn't even enjoy. It was my creation - a belief of how life is, how life works, what really mattered, based on mistruths.
My dad wanted me to excel - feeling that would bring me happiness. So he urged me to do that in his own way.
The entire goal of this journey we call life is to discover the truth and move forward into the Light. The light of freedom. A life of love, joy, laughter, creativity, and fun unencumbered by the shackles we've placed on ourselves.
Our only mission is to discover and re-merge (become) the Divine Being we already are - going past the illusions and fears of being human.
No-one said the journey was easy. But it is the only journey that has any lasting value. Everyone's journey is different and perfect. And the journey never ends.
So now what's happening with me you ask?
Well I went off into the mountains and wrote a book called Freeway to Freedom. The meditations I was "given" involve dolphin healing technologies and they permanently heal issues, beliefs, fears, the past, and more.
Well, with the help of those technologies, the Phoenix (me) has definitely risen from the ashes:
I Am soooo much lighter.
I smile alot.
Finishing things used to be really hard - and often didn't happen. I think I thought that if I never finished, then whatever it was couldn't be judged as a success or a failure. There have been many completions since then.
I'm no longer struggling with the same issues. So I'm no longer exhausted from the struggle. Yeah!
When I'm with someone I'm really with them enjoying the moment. I don't have to worry about their perception of my perfection and success. And I don't have a million to do's running through my head.
When I think of something that "should" be done, the first thing I ask myself is "Would doing that bring me joy?" If the answer is no, then I don't do it - at least not right then. I wait until I can enjoy doing it or I don't do it at all.
Have you ever felt like a failure?
Have you ever experienced feeling totally defeated, like you have failed at something really important? It might be that your marriage ended, or your child got into trouble or didn't reach their potential, or you lost your job. Maybe, like me, you went through a job restructuring and felt you were demoted or a failure at your new position. Maybe you tried to start your own business and it didn't really take off. Or perhaps you just aren't happy and can't figure out why.
Success and failure walk hand in hand. What do they each mean to you? What does it feel like or look like to be successful? What does it feel like or look like to be a failure?
When you focus on the failure, you rarely even notice the success. Start finding what is good, what you can be grateful for, what is like a blessing.
There are many people who are facing the wall (of their shadow) or have actually hit the wall - people who feel like they are a failure or have failed at some aspect of their life. Alot of them don't know what to do. Feel free to share the story I just told you about my own experience and suggest that they look for the mistruth or limiting belief that has caused them to come to the place they are at in their own life.
We offer many tools and experiences that can help.
Man as an organism is to the world outside like a whirlpool is to a river: man and world are a single natural process, but we are behaving as if we were invaders and plunderers in foreign territory. For when the individual is defined and felt as the separate personality or ego, he remains unaware that his actual body is a dancing pattern of energy that simply does not happen by itself. It happens only in concert with myriads of other patterns---called animals, plants, insects, bacteria, minerals, liquids, and gases. The definition of a person and the normal feeling of "I" do not effectively include these relationships. You say, "I came into this world." You didn't; you came out of it, as a branch from a tree."---Alan Watts,Does It Matter © 1968, 1969, 1970, p.23The more I looked into themes, keywords and elements from that quote, the more inspired and overloaded with information I became. And the more I realized how many things linked to each other. My favorite find is the theme of mankind being the link/tree/bridge between Heaven and Earth and how, as "trees" we are simultaneously linked in community with one another.
I am up late tonight, not an unusual thing for me, and tinkering around with various things. Posted to facebook, took a couple random photos, downed more coffee than is good for me, sex IMed a friend's stalker for a half hour, and did some general worrying about the job market and my need of a second job and a new place to live with cheaper rent. Busy night. But on a jaunt to the restroom I thought how cool it would be to update my blog from the bathroom using my htc Evo. Lol So I am. And Swype makes it so fast.