How are you? How are you handling this last bit of winter before we fully step into spring? Did you enjoy the video series while I was in India?
My trip to India was a magical journey of health and spiritual explorations. It affirmed the incredible healing powers of Ayurveda, especially when the science can be totally lived, and it gave me a vision to someday create a similar wellness center in the United States.
While I was there, I lived so fully in the moment. I stayed present with each conversation, chewed my meals slowly and when heartbreak came, as it tends to arrive during healing work, I let it wash over me.
It’s been interesting now to come home and figure out how to maintain a similar spirit of presence in my day-to-day life.
Particularly, it’s a big moment right now because I am filling up the spring session of Self Care 101. This is the ninth round of the group-coaching, habit-shifting self-care course that I’ve organized over the past three years. Each prior time, I have been able to fill the course with a group of 20+ awesome women.
This time is different. Despite a lot of work prior to India and some intense hustling in the past few days, the course hasn’t filled up like it normally does. Right now, I have about a quarter of the number of women who usually sign up and we in 11 days.
I would like to say that I am moving with this change gracefully. It’s true that in my good moments, I am ok with whatever happens and suspect that having a smaller group could be beneficial for everyone involved.
Yet in a few tired, pregnancy-hormone-filled moments, I struggle with the concept of failure. For the first time in a long time, I am probably not going to achieve my course goals. This may affect how much money I make this year and potentially, sign-ups for future courses.
With the self-observation skills I honed in India, I’m watching my ego wriggle around in this feeling of failure. Oh, how it hates it so much! It wants to hide from it all. It’s horrified that I am writing about it in my newsletter and exposing its weakness for all of you to read.
You see, my ego, and perhaps all egos, wants to be successful 100% of the time. These egos will stop at nothing to be seen as right and desirable and special. Our egos completely negate the learning, compassion and growth that come from making mistakes and going through hard times. They insist on success at all costs, even when that means stepping on other people or denying our own integrity.
While I was in India, I glimpsed a different, far less material vision of success. It was one that involved gracefully accepting my karma and staying present with whatever arose. This kind of success meant feeling so blissfully connected to everything that, by the end of the day, I actually felt quite ordinary.
In these past months, since finding out I was pregnant, I have been exploring the Heroine’s Journey. During these explorations, I wanted to dig into the archetypal journey of growth and development from a feminine perspective.
Throughout it all, I have learned so much about power, independence and individuality. I’ve unlearned a lot of what I’ve been taught about how to develop as a human being. I’ve embraced the fact that I need other people’s help and that my growth happens in spirals, rather than a strength line.
So, it makes sense that as I conclude this exploration, I also have to reexamine my definition success.
Finding out that I was going to become a mother shook everything up for me. Suddenly, it wasn’t just me anyone and there was a lot that felt outside of my control. As excited as I was, a big part of me wanted to get back in the driver’s seat so I didn’t have to leave anything up to chance.
I didn’t want to have to go through the loss and hurt that felt inevitable with bringing a new life into this world.
Every moment of this pregnancy, I’ve had to surrender control and step more fully into my own vulnerability. Yet, instead of it making me feel weak, it’s revealed a much deeper strength within me. Now I have a more complete sense of my own power and creativity as a woman. I can only imagine how this will multiply as the years go on.
This change in perspective has shown me how much my happiness does not come from the material world. Making money and being seen well is one version of success. It’s the version that our culture has bought into fully.
But you see, I’ve seen through that kind of success. I’ve spent the past few years trying so hard to achieve that bulletproof vision of success and, despite the cultural affirmation it brings, inside it always leaves me hungry for more.
Now, the universe has opened the door more fully and invited me to step into a different kind of success. It may involve making less money or even dramatically changing the work that I do. It will definitely have some failure along the way and all the rich learning that comes from the humility. The whole time, my ego may continue to wriggle around in horror.
By the end, I might not be seen as successful anymore, but I suspect I will feel successful in a whole new way. I think it will set me free.
What I do know is that I can trust the process. My life has not let me down so far. When I choose to listen to it, my intuition leads me through my own Heroine’s Journey more elegantly than I ever could have planned.
Most of my best life moments have come after an excruciating period of ego death. It’s only when these constricted, fearful parts of me die that I free up enough energy to truly live. It’s from these cathartic moments that I learn how to really be myself, as a woman and as a human being.
So for this next week, I’m just going to focus on truly living. As soon as the snow melts, I’ll take Poncho to get lost in the woods. I’ll eat delicious food and enjoy the company of my loved ones. I will go to sleep early and learn from my dreams. And when the emotion comes, as it always does, I will let myself feel it as deeply as I can.
Within all these everyday successes and failures, I will continue to celebrate the gift of being alive. This life has gifted me the ability to truly care for myself, to make the meaning I choose to make, and the ultimate liberation those choices bring.