When I was in my 30′s, I started a small soap business. I knew how to make really nice soap, but had no idea about the business end. At that time, there weren’t too many handmade soap companies, but I knew of one that was very successful, so I contacted the owner and asked her if I could talk with her for a couple of hours to get some direction. I happily paid her for her time, and then began, as she suggested, marketing my soap.
She had great ideas for selling and getting my product “out there”; ideas that had grown her own business quite successfully. The trouble was, I hated doing what she suggested. Every single contact that I made, or show that I did, was like torture for me, even though my soaps sold very well.
I didn’t listen to that inner voice which was uncomfortable. I heard it, but thought I needed to push through. I thought there was something wrong with me, that maybe I didn’t believe enough in myself or my product, and I felt I had to “conquer” this. …and I tried. And I finally quit because at the end of every show, no matter how many soaps I sold, I felt exhausted and depleted. And not in a good way. Not in the way I’d felt after doing some big project and happily relaxing and basking in the feeling of accomplishment. This was a tired, almost “dirty” feel. And when I quit, I felt like a failure, business wise (and somewhat personally too).
As I think back on this, I can see that I wasn’t a failure at all. The only mistake I made was in not listening to that inner voice, and asking for direction: acknowledging the value of this woman’s information and then asking for guidance (from Spirit) on how to go forward with it in a way that was right for my business, my life. Quite possibly the answer would have been, “Hire someone who loves sales, and keep doing what you love (making soap).” But I thought I had to do everything myself. I also believed that every time I was uncomfortable, it meant there was something wrong with me that I had to get past, clear, or push through. It was as if I saw life (and myself) as a battle ground; always something to conquer. It makes me tired just thinking about this.
I also see that I lacked faith that I really was a part of a much larger whole. If I was honest with myself I would have said, “I believe that some sort of higher power exists. But I don’t believe that it has anything to do with my financial well-being. I don’t believe that I am really being helped or guided or moved by any force other than my own will power.”
It is such a relief to have moved away from this way of living and thinking. Maybe we could do that in our 20′s and 30′s, but it gets very hard and tiring after a while, and it doesn’t get us what we really want, which is to feel good about our lives. We don’t need to push, pull, or wrestle with Life….we just need to accept it, open up, breath, trust, laugh, work when we should, rest when we should, be easy. Smile.
Recently, I read a wonderful mediation in the book, Three Magic Words (published the year before I was born, in 1954), it goes like this:
“I know that I am pure spirit, that I always have been, and that I always will be. There is inside me a place of confidence and quietness and security where all things are known and understood. This is Universal Mind, God, of which I am a part and which responds to me as I ask of it. This universal mind knows the answer to all of my problems, and even now the answers are speeding their way to me. I needn’t struggle for them; I needn’t worry or strive for them. When the time comes, the answer will be there. I give my problems to the great mind of God: I let go of them, confident that the correct answers will return to me when they are needed. Through the great law of attraction, everything I need for my work and fulfillment will come to me. It is not necessary that I strain about this, only believe.”
And here is another quote that I love from a very “out there” and funny spiritual teacher;
“The fruit tree doesn’t jump out of the orchard and knock on Safeway’s door and say, ‘Hey, do you need any of these?’ And you too should not try to force your gifts on others. Let them know you exist and what it is that you do, but wait for people to come to you. It’s stronger that way.” Stuart Wilde, The Secrets of Life