This evening, I was having an intense discussion with one of my dearest friends about the meaning of success.
I sat knitting a fuschia, hot pink and purple scarf while we were talking.
This was the second scarf of the evening, followed by the teal and gold threaded scarf I had finished while talking on the phone to my mentor in healing, Sue Maes of Canada.
Sue is my mentor, and even though she has long ago humbly called me an equal and a friend, I still consider her my mentor as her level of insight is precious and profound to me.
To me, insight means seeing well beyond the veil, well beyond material reality, seeing deep into the reality of the soul of what is and what matters.
This is no ordinary vision.
So Sue and I started this discussion, while I was busily knitting the teal and gold threaded scarf for a friend, and then I continued knitting, moving on to the fuschia, hot pink and purple scarf, while I continued the deep discussion about success with my second dear friend.
I am mentioning that I was doing my knitting while having these talks because my knitting has everything to do with what we were talking about.
A long time ago, I had asked Sue whether or not I should sell the jewelry I make.
Sue said no, not really. I could sell a few pieces if I liked, as I was already doing, anytime anybody asked. And in those cases I would give the profits to the Atlanta Pet Rescue or the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
But Sue helped me to see that making jewelry for me was all about being in a state of joy. It was too important an activity to be made into a job. It was meant to be kept precious.
I got very clear about that. I would sit in the sunshine, either beading by myself or with friends who would come over to make jewelry with me, and I would be in a true state of ecstasy.
The energy of this high state of joy totally comes through into whatever I make.
Yes, it looks beautiful, but more to the point, it FEELS joyful. My jewelry carries my energy of how I feel when I am making it. Light. Precious. Happy. Excited. Curious. Inventive. Playful.
And so it is with my knitting.
Yes, the scarves are beautiful, but in a way that maybe nobody else could quite put their finger on, they FEEL joyful, which is how I feel when I am doing my knitting.
So in this second discussion, as I was busy working away on the fuschia, hot pink and purple scarf, which happen to be my favorite colors, my second friend and I were talking about what is success and what is not success.
Success is not making lots and lots of money, my friend said.
Otherwise why would famous millionaires commit suicide? He pointed this out, irrefutably.
Success is not really balance, because you could be in a very narrow field of focus and still be very successful. When I am knitting, I am focusing kind of narrowly on the skein of yarn and the colors and perhaps thinking about the person I am knitting for, but it’s not like I am solving the problems of world peace or finding the cure for cancer. I am just knitting.
I mentioned to my friend that I am pretty good with money except for my hobbies, and then somehow I find plenty of money to spend on beads and yarn. But my friend said he thought that was great because I was doing what makes me really happy and spending money on what makes me joyful.
He is right of course.
So we agreed that you have to have enough money to pay your bills, otherwise you can’t be really joyful if you are worried all the time about paying your mortgage. But beyond that, it’s not about the money.
Nor is being successful really about seeing lots of people in your work or having a big impact necessarily. Otherwise, my friend pointed out, why would people who have a huge business seeing lots and lots of clients suddenly decide to simplify their lives and downsize, continuing to work but making their situations less stressful or less complicated.
He pointed out to me that the only reason we ever decide to do anything is because we believe it’s going to make us happy.
So he said the real key to success is to follow our joy.
The funny thing is that for some years I had been encouraging him to follow his joy. And now he really really gets what I have been saying.
My friend has been telling me for many months now that he sees me as extremely successful.
I am listening, and I am totally trying to wrap my head around what he is saying. I am not quite there yet.
But this is what I will observe.
I am very good about following my guidance. I know how to be at the right place at the right time. If I could bless every person I know with just one skill, it would be exactly that. I would love to teach everybody how to listen to your own intuition. And that would empower you to know how to be at the right place at the right time.
This, to me, is one of the greatest gifts about being intuitive and following your intuition.
When we are at the right place at the right time, we get the information that we need in order to move forwards in our lives. We meet the right people. We make the essential, crucial connections.
And I am very good about following my joy.
Over the years, there have been many subjects I have totally mastered, made a lot of money doing and helped a lot of people with.
But once I stopped enjoying doing those things, I gave myself permission to move on to another place or another subject that absolutely brings me ecstasy.
In doing so, I am able to bring this energy to other people. I am able to be fresh and relaxed when I do my work and I am able to bring other people the energy of pure joy.
It is easy to lift other people up when we are already in a state of joy.
We ourselves are light as a feather, making other people light in the process.
You might feel it if you came to one of my yoga classes or my qi gong class or tried on one of my scarves or sat with me on my porch or walked with me through my garden or took a look into one of the blooms of my orchids or sat inside my studio and looked out at my fountain and the flowers surrounding it at any season of the year.
I can get very excited about a lot of things that, on the surface, don’t matter a hill of beans.
I got very excited when I saw the first blossoms on my red rose bush, for example, and took this photo.
I can run outside with my iPhone camera when I see a butterfly, trying as valiantly as I can to capture its fluttering wings in a picture.
I am always photographing my orchids, or my dog Belle. I love to spend hours languishing in my hammock, looking up at the sky. I don’t take many pictures from my hammock. I just enjoy being there.
When I get a new box of yarn in the mail, as I did the other day, I can get very excited ripping it open and seeing the subtle variations of the new colors and wondering how it will all turn out when I start knitting.
My friend has been trying to convince me that I am a true success. I tell him that I am still trying to see it, I am trying to see through his eyes and really get it.
I see my success most clearly when I look out at my garden, which is visible evidence of ecstasy made manifest, every season of the year.