This post is the final in a four-part exploration of how the second of our four inner senses—vitality—helps us imbue our experiences with meaning. Here’s a second example of the power of vitality in action specially tailored to perfectionists and overachievers.
For Perfectionists and Overachievers (continued)
Given that I had spent so many years confusing productivity with purpose, it’s not surprising that five months later I needed another reminder concerning who I am and Whose I am and the fear-based nature of perfectionism.
Things had been humming along for me. Coaching six to ten clients a week. Publishing some, although not as much as I would have liked. Meditating, although more would have been beneficial. I had two assistants to help me catch up on office work and new technology to support greater efficiency. I was eating healthy, working out six days a week, and listening to good books on my PDA. I had an amazing online library system (www.librarything.com) to organize all of my favorite inspirational resources for clients. There was less clutter in the office. Making art was becoming a staple of my diet again. Sounds lovely, yes? How could all of that abundance ever result in me weeping with my hands pressed over my heart?
Here’s my handle on the chain of events. I was cranking along, getting more organized and productive. Not realizing I was at risk for becoming seduced again by the gremlin of “productivity equals purpose” thanks to my guardian, Ella, falling out of love and into the grip of fear yet again. So at home was I in the land of overwork that I didn’t even notice anything amiss when she started whispering and hissing in my ear, “See. Now you’re remembering how this works. Work, work, work, and more work. Look at how much more you accomplish when you take yourself more seriously. Using those organizing tools again. Schedules, lists, software, how-to books. You used to raise multitasking to an art form. For heaven’s sake, you taught others how to be more productive. I knew you couldn’t have forgotten everything I taught you. All you needed was a little prodding from me. You know how much better it feels to be you when you’re doing and accomplishing more.”
I had no idea she had been playing that sinister tape in my head again. I knew my work could benefit from a little more intention and organization—setting priorities, making some lists, filing more regularly, scheduling more tightly. There is nothing wrong with being organized or productive. The problem arises when we conclude our value is in any way related to our performance. That is when things get wacky. It is when the other two members of my personal board of directors, my sage (Claire) and my muse (Bee), can be pulled out of alignment too, thanks to Cruel-Ella ruling with her iron fist of fear.
There I sat, sobbing and a bit clueless as to why. I had been up for hours and had consumed nothing but a cup of decaf cappuccino. I knew I needed to back away from the laptop, put some distance between my office and myself, go upstairs, and eat so my head and heart actually had some healthy fuel to function properly. Maybe add some sitting meditation to center myself and attain clarity. Upstairs to break the fast I went, beginning on-the-spot meditation by chanting my personal version of the Shambhala Four Limitless Ones affirmations, which are a way of life for me. At least I thought they were a way of life until I couldn’t for the life of me remember one of the four.
I remembered the “peace” one because peace was so clearly eluding me at that moment. I had the “compassion” one, steeped in a misery of my own making as I was. I remembered the “joy” one, probably because I was experiencing none. What the heck was the fourth? I taxed my brain. I tried writing them down to trigger muscle memory. No dice. They had become the three, not four, limited affirmations. I had lost my way.
I knew in my heart it had to be significant that I couldn’t remember the fourth. Maybe the root of my misery was that I quite literally couldn’t remember and wasn’t living the fourth. Unable to stand it any longer, I aborted breakfast prep and returned to my office to look up the fourth affirmation on my laptop. Here are the four affirmations I found:
- Love: I enjoy loving-kindness and fostering loving-kindness.
- Compassion: I am free from misery and fostering misery.
- Joy: I choose joy.
- Peace: I dwell in equanimity, free from craving, aversion, and indifference.
Imagine my astonishment; the missing ingredient was love. Love. It’s not the fourth; it’s the first. How could I have forgotten about love? I am the love and curiosity chick. How had I forgotten about love, and how had it led to me weeping at the laptop? Simple. Deceived once again by the fear-based lie that productivity is the same as purpose, in the process of becoming more organized and productive I started to forget that the only reason to do so was to further my ability to always delight in my purpose to enjoy and foster loving-kindness. Not fussing and making myself crazy about having to be perfect at it right now. Not going nuts trying to figure out how I can read eight thousand self-improvement books this week to embody my purpose perfectly because I’m not enough as I am.
My sage, Claire, intervened: “Oh, Deborah, listen to yourself! Look at Little Bee. You’re scaring her to death by pushing her way too hard again. Look at her. You’ve made her cry and hold her hands over her heart to protect herself from what you’re doing to her. She’s afraid she has no worth to you again because she’s not perfect and can’t do it all, doesn’t want to do it all. She’s worked hard for you all week. She had her heart set on playing some today. For love’s sake, stop this insanity!”
Just like that, when I recalled that love is my purpose, I found the compassion, joy, and peace I had misplaced. I remembered that when I approach myself and every being, encounter, and experience with love, respect, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude, I always have deep peace, lasting joy, and meaningful relationships.
Dear ones, you are worthy just as you are, with your delightful blend of gifts and annoying little quirks. In all of time, you are the only you in the entire Universe. You are enough—perfect just as you are in this moment.
Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2019 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.
August 6, 2019 Update from Deborah
After 44 years of providing individual and organizational empowerment coaching- and consulting-related services, I have retired from professional practice. While, upon request and subject to availability, I still conduct “tune-up” coaching sessions with former individual clients, I no longer accept new individual or organizational clients. Nor do I offer Reiki or EFT/tapping training or treatment sessions.
Here are my recommendations for identifying other qualified providers through the esteemed professional associations of which I remain a member:
- To identify credentialed professional coaches, CLICK HERE to browse the online directory hosted by the International Coach Federation.
- To find EFT/tapping practitioners, CLICK HERE to browse the directory hosted by The Tapping Solution.
- For Reiki training and treatment, CLICK HERE to browse the directory hosted by the Reiki Membership Association of the International Center for Reiki Training.
I’ll continue to publish new empowerment blog posts multiple times each month through December 2019 with occasional new posts thereafter as the spirit moves me. I’ll keep my website active to continue offering tons of timeless tools and resources to help individuals and teams build lives and organizations they love. You may continue to subscribe to my blog and follow me on a variety of social media channels via the links at the top right of the sidebar.