As my birthday approaches, I've found myself all over the place. Emotions and rawness and vulnerability welling up and spilling out. Old stories around where I "should" be in my life keep surfacing. Nasty, critical voices screaming within. I took a couple of days to myself to pay attention to all this. It was extremely uncomfortable as I felt the chaos running wild.
I'm reading a book called "Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict" for my Shamanic training. I had just started it but decided to try out an experiment that was given as an example in the book. What would the pain look like if I gave it form? I felt it in my body and then saw a grim reaper type character with his machete, hacking away mercilessly, flailing and willing to strike at whatever came near. What is the real need behind what this grim reaper wants? I asked what it needed. "Love. Even though I seem out of control, I want you to love and contain me. Keep embracing me, no matter how hard I struggle against you." In the next step I visualized dissolving myself into a nectar of love and feeding the demon until it was totally satisfied. As I did this, the robe fell away from the grim reaper and a scared baby revealed itself. I fed it until it was soothed and sleeping peacefully.
This young self of mine lashes out and is controlling these thoughts in my mind, if I let it. However, now that I see the truth of where these criticisms and judgments are coming from (a scared baby trying to desperately protect itself), I can hold them in a different light. These thoughts do not get to run the show anymore. I can offer love and containment from my adult self when they show up, knowing they are the thoughts of a frightened little girl who needs protection. I spent a lot of time during the last few day in my Sacred Garden with my spirit and animal guides, receiving their outpouring of love and guidance through this process.
And with their help, I decided to redefine success for myself as I move into this next year of my life. I want to do so from a loving place and with confidence as I work toward my own version of success, which may not look like the typical conditioned definition held by the majority of our society. I created this list of what success looks like to me:
a healthy body and mind
freedom: time and space and resources to take care of myself
living my purpose as a guide and a bringer of light
community, tribe, belonging
abundance: health, finances, love, connection
When I look at these as determinants of success, I am well on my way to arriving at a life that I have consciously chosen and created for myself. I don't have everything on the list, but I am certainly taking steps towards each goal. In Shamanism, ritual is important. My guides helped me in creating a ritual to bring in this next year. I planted poppy seeds (a favorite flower of mine that holds special meaning). One for each of my statements of success. They are a reminder that success does not bloom overnight. It has to be planted and nurtured and cared for before leaves begin to sprout. It takes time for the flower to blossom. Just because I can't see it all quite yet, does not mean that the process isn't happening. I trust that my version of success has been planted and is on its way.
I encourage you to define success on your own terms. What does that look like for you? If you would like support in creating or working toward your version of success, I would love to connect with you.