Because this month’s Being Joy™ habit is to Be in Spirit, I thought you might wonder what the difference is between the word “spirit” and “Spirit”. When I talk about the upper-case word “Spirit”, I am referring to the Great Spirit, the Creator, the Divine, the Universe, God, or whatever term you use to explain the origin of all that is. I will often say “Spirit guided me to this opportunity.” Or “I love it how the Universe conspires on my behalf.” Or simply “Thank you God”. But when I talk about the lower case “spirit” I am referring to the inner you – your authentic self, the part of your being that is uniquely you, your life-force. Sometimes the word spirit and soul are used interchangeably.
A few years ago, while busy preparing to make a huge Easter dinner for my family, my kitchen faucet broke. So that meant I wouldn’t have water in my kitchen to finish preparing the meal and for clean up. What to do? Thankfully, I had been raised to believe there was always a way. You just need to get creative! We had to MacGyver it by attaching a garden hose with duct tape to the bathroom faucet which was right off the kitchen and then ran it into the kitchen sink so I could finish the rest of the meal prep. The clean up was the messy bit – it took hours with all the running back forth between the bathroom and the kitchen.
I was watching one of those baking competitions on TV the other night, and while being interviewed during the episode, one of the contestants boasted about being a perfectionist. She claimed that because she had such high standards and that nothing would do unless it was perfect, that made her a great baker. As it turned out, she got so flustered when things didn’t go her way that she barely finished and ended up presenting a dessert that was not something she could be proud of. She was eliminated from the competition. You see, perfection is never attainable. There will always be something you can pick apart if you really want to. And as the quote above so beautiful illustrates, this poor contestant became so demoralized, that she was not even able to do her best, let alone get anywhere close to the standard she had set for herself.
How can you feel completely satisfied within yourself and your present circumstances while at the same time have desires for the future? Aren’t they conflicting feelings? Yes and no. This is what I mean. To live in the peaceful expression of joy, you must appreciate the now - where you’re standing at this very moment. Whether it’s what you want or not, you’ve created this reality through your thoughts. So the sooner you acknowledge and appreciate all the lessons which have led to the person you are today, the sooner you will lean into the high vibration of peaceful satisfaction. Only then can you freely desire without attachment, which as suggested by The Buddha, is the root of suffering. As I often heard Deepak Chopra say, “Be open to everything and attached to nothing.” Powerful wisdom to live by.
Trying to live up to other people’s expectations or pretend that their life is better than yours is one of the fastest ways to feel inadequate. Believing in the illusion of perfection can bring a lifetime of doubt and anxiety as you chase after the greener grass on the other side. But the reality is that the grass is pretty good where you are right now. And it’s your grass. So why not be satisfied now? People often ask me; how can I be satisfied with things the way they are when I want to do and have so much more. My answer is simple. Until you can feel satisfied with where you are right now, feeling appreciative of all the things that contributed to your life at this moment, you will be at the mercy of your Ego’s need for continual validation. Ego will say: you should have done better, you should be more like her, you aren’t good enough. Those are the very feelings that will sabotage your desires. It’s about being satisfied now.
We’ve all been through a lot these past few months. I heard someone say recently that once we all resurface after the pandemic, you’ll either be a hunk, a chunk, or a drunk. It made me laugh! No matter what category you might fit into (or none of them), own it and accept that’s where you are right now. Be kind to yourself instead of berating your tender soul. Appreciate that you did the best you could under the circumstances. Be grateful for your resilience. Be satisfied. Right now, good enough is good enough. Now that doesn’t mean you necessarily want to stay there if you want change. Desiring change is natural. It’s just that you shouldn’t be attached to the outcome. Being satisfied means that you’re o.k. with where you are right now. You’re not chasing perfection in what you do or who you are. It’s o.k. and you’re o.k. Give yourself a break. Good enough is good enough.
There’s nothing like a global pandemic to remind you of how interdependent we are on a global scale! You’ve likely heard of the butterfly theory that suggests how the flapping of a butterfly’s wings can impact the weather thousands of miles away. In an April 14, 2020 Fast Company article by Parag Khanna and Karan Khemka, they reinforce this concept even further, with sobering predictions for the future by saying, “In chaos theory, the butterfly effect describes a small change that can have massive, unpredictable consequences. An insect flaps its wings and, weeks later, causes a tornado. The coronavirus is more like an earthquake, with aftershocks that will permanently reshape the world.” If there ever was a time to take our heads out of the sand and realize that we are indeed connected, now is the time!
What does it mean to be part of a community? For some, it’s about coaching a youth sports team or volunteering with a service club. For others it’s about lending a hand to a neighbour. And for many, it’s about supporting the local economy by working in and buying local. But at the end of the day, it’s about belonging to a place where we can feel safe, trusting that when in need, the community will have our back. Over the past several weeks I’ve seen many gestures of community at its finest. Kindness, generosity of spirit, and neighbours helping neighbours. I’ve seen staff at local businesses working hard to ensure we have groceries and other essential services. And I’ve seen dedicated essential workers at hospitals and charities serving the needs of our most vulnerable residents. That’s how a community shows it’s accountable to everyone.
Who are the friends and family members who you most depend on? The ones you know will keep their promises. The people who hold themselves accountable for their actions. The ones who are authentic? Now ask yourself the same question. Are you someone who people in your sacred circle can trust? Being accountable to others is probably more important now than ever before. We need to be able to trust each other to be honest if we’re not feeling well so that everyone in our sacred circle is protected. We need to be able to trust that what someone says is truthful and that those closest to us have our best interest in mind. In today’s reality of COVID, accountability is everything.
Do you sometimes feel that you’re being selfish if you take time to practice self-care? Do you think that the needs of others should take precedent? Do you feel that you’re not worthy of attention? In actuality, the opposite is true. Self-care is about self-respect. And it’s the starting place for taking personal responsibility for what happens in your life. It’s about knowing that only you can create your own reality and that you are 100 percent accountable for your thoughts and deeds - nobody else. And if you don’t like the reality you have created, you are the only one who can change it. Time to stop feeling like a victim. You’re not doing anyone any good if you feel that way.