Monday, February 28, 2011

Success

Alain de Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success | Video on TED.com

So I'm trying to start a business... well I've started already. It's a quilting business. I make and sell quilts. The stories behind this is here and the official blog is here. Of course it took me many years to find out what it is I wanted to do with my life. Many years of struggle and anguish and turmoil but here I am... I know now. Which is great. But, what next? How do I take something that I know I want to do with the rest of my life and turn it into a viable, sustainable life option? I'm working through that. Making plans, trying to organize myself a little better, learning a little bit about business and management as I go along... but I often ask myself if I will make it. In fact, last night, I told my husband that I was only trying to cope with the world and life and that I will never really be "successful" or "make it". I won't be successful I think in the way the world see it. I will probably not turn this business into an empire, I probably won't make a tonne of money, this may never become an industry that employs hundreds of people, famous people will not be using my quilts... so I guess I won't be thought of as a success will I?
The question however is, "What is success to me?" How do I define it. I know that if my life became what it used to be, long hours of work, long hours in traffic, horrible bosses, work that got me no appreciation, I would not feel like a success. If I was not happy, not challenged, not creative, not excited, not appreciated, I would not think I was a success. So how do I find a way to take what I want to do with my life and be the success I want to be? Yes I'd like to make money but I would also like to have a life. A life where I have family, and friends, and beauty, and travel, and music, and art, and health and wellness. I think I should spend some time thinking about what my idea of success is. Its probably crucial to the exercise of making a business plan.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Learning to live without fear

As I grow older I find that I am less confident and more afraid. I don't understand why this is happening. Why is the world becoming larger and more scary now that I am bigger than when I was smaller. Strange. But it is happening and I know that if I don't put an end to it I will only get worse. Fear will consume me and I will not be able to function as a normal adult. That would be quite tragic.
I think fear is a symptom of not being able to believe that there is good in the world. More importantly fear is a symptom of not being able to trust God like a child. Its a symptom of believing that I am alone and must care for myself. Some people can take care of themselves but I have realized that I need God. Everything is meaningless without Him. Still, it is difficult to fully trust to the point where I can live freely and abundantly. Anxiety and worry follow me all the days of my life :).
I have been asking God to help me not to fear but each time I prayed about it I was afraid. Why can't I believe that God wants the best for me? That he will do good in my life? Maybe the unanswered prayers of the past - especially the illnesses and deaths - come back and make me doubt. Well, they do. It's the first thing I think of when I tell myself that God will answer prayer. But not being afraid is not about having your prayers answered. It's about believing that God loves and cares about you more than anyone else, including you. And that he will take care of you and do what is best for you, not in the way the world thinks, but so that you will grow into a deeper relationship with Him.
So the other day, during a body balance class, I decided to live without fear. We were in the meditation segment of the class at the very end and the trainer said, "Let go of everything that is bothering you and relax." And I did. And I thought if I can do this for 8 minutes when a fitness instructor tells me to, why am I not doing with the God of the universe tells me, "Do not Fear", "Do not worry", " I will never leave you nor forsake you." Why am I not believing Him? Each time I ask God to help me stop worrying I only affirm that reason to be anxious and be afraid. I am not casting my cares on Him. I am not listening. I am not trusting.
So I decided that I would stop asking God to help me not to be afraid in my prayers and focus on thanksgiving, and praise, and praying for others. For the Heavenly Father knows what I need and He will give them to me. And so I take my first step to live without fear. Praise God!