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Karma & success

Karma is a sum of all that you have done, all you are currently doing and will ever do.  You project your own ideas of heaven, hell and purgatories.  These mental images sharpen based on your feelings.  You can always decide to learn, to gain things from all your experiences.

You also create your vision of success and imagine what you need to experience in order to achieve it.  In order to know success, you must first evolve to determine your true desires.  This begins with you.  Evolution inside yourself results from the fulfillment of your desires. 

It has been suggested that each of us develops skills and lives as long as we're able to learn from our karma.  Success, in a spiritual sense, may then result from working through and separating yourself from Earthly attachments.  This differs from material success which is often measued in terms of acquired possessions.  It remains a mystery whether karma is infinite and constantly being renewed or whether it only exists for souls to better understand ego and physical desires.


Now or never

You may get to a stage where you feel like you need a new course of action.  The life you're leading isn't motivating you the way you want it to, or taking you where you wish to go.  What next?  You think about it.  You may forget about it and go back to doing what you did before.  Then, there are those people who simply act and surprise you perhaps as much as themselves.

One woman I know simply packed her bags rather impulsively and moved to the other side of her own country.  She initially sought a change of scenery and a new job.  By requesting a transfer to a new office, she found faith in her intuition grew and led her to move in rewarding directions. 

A guy I know began an aspiring pilot.  He obtained his license while working odd jobs and then, he was more than broke. Yet, he got into his old car with a map and a list of prospective employers.  He set out to drive through Canadian provinces and territories to approach small flight companies in person.  During this journey, he often slept in his car.  He developed a connection to his inner guidance.  Trusting his gut enabled him to take control of his life.  He's since flown to places as far away as Antarctica that he hadn't initially dreamed of.

A young woman I met did marketing for a call centre.  She loved science in highschool and had decided to take night classes to become a lab technician. She knew someone who had worked in a lab and that same path seemed logical.  Yet, the more this woman detailed her plan, the more she seemed to be trying to convince herself.  When I queried her deepest interest, she confided she spent all her free time on fashion design, but was at a loss of how to pursue it.  She had been trained to believe we must struggle to achieve predictable goals.  Upon reflection, she decided to listen more to her intuition which was giving her a greater awaress of her worthiest passions. 

A university friend of mine is quite a go-getter.  She works for a butcher and also does environmental emergency projects for the government. Juggling her interests in work to pay the bills didn't seem to enable her to experience fulfillment.  I encouraged her to explore her creative side, so she chose to take night classes in interior design.  This sideline interest is evolving to the point where she envisions her own consultancy.  She has developed a clearer perspective on her abilities and she has become the true architect of her new, stimulating life.


Check your back pocket

When you feel as though you're in a bit of trouble, what is your reaction? Some people instinctively run away to escape the source of anxiety.  Other people struggle to face the trouble with tools they seem to have at their disposal. Still other people freeze in their tracks.

Consider the dream of a girl who felt she was being chased by a crocodile. She froze briefly on a boulder beside a body of calm water.  When she realized she stood beside a wooden ladder, her reflex was to turn and climb.  She ascended the ladder all the way to a  platform and was shocked to look back and see a huge crocodile following her. It inflated to the size of the croc who swallowed the watch and Captain Hook's hand in Peter Pan. Just when the girl wondered if she could grow wings and fly, a voice whispered in her ear to check her pocket.  As a vegetarian, she was surprised to find a juicy steak which she instinctively threw the croc. He happily went on his way.

We all have hidden instincts that we may fear because we don't take time to get-to-know them.  Yet, tapping into these instincts and abilities within ourselves is key to creating our own success.  Problems we perceive or create for ourselves will not simply disappear if we try to ignore them.  You may know someone who blow problems  'out-of-proportion' or makes situations seem worse than they actually are.  Remind yourself that problems, like illness, may escalate to get your attention. They are often a symptom of an underlying issue such as your attitude, habits, lifestyle or emotions.  If a nagging situation is bogging you down, tell yourself that you are very capable of dealing with it.  You likely underestimate your options.  You have what you need, that is, the will and resourcefulness to reach out and do what you need to do to get over the hurdles. 


Life stories

When you share chapters of your life with others, you begin to realize that one of your deepest needs is to be heard and valued.  Yet, in order to earn the willing ear of others, to obtain their support and compassion, you also need to be fundamentally honest with yourself about your feelings.  From the point where you take someone on a journey into a place within yourself of vulnerability and authenticity, you create a sense of connection that helps you grow and heal.  Your efforts to share stories help raise awareness in others about what you have endured and learned so they can grow through you and by facing the many obstacles life throws their way.

Consider Nelson Mandela, a South African leader who spent 27 years in prison during Apartheid.  He suffered humiliation and physical hardship, but his story of resilience and human rights inspires people the world over.  He became a meaningful symbol for resistence, freedom and survival.

When news broadcaster Katie Couric lost her 42-year-old husband to colon cancer, she discussed the illness openly and initiated a public awareness campaign. Her efforts resulted in more people talking about their fears and a 20% increase in colonoscopies, a test used to detect colon cancer.

When fomer actor Christopher Reeves was paralyzed after a riding accident, he became an outspoken advocate for physically-challenged individuals and for stem cell research.  This led to issues gaining higher profile in Congress and more people questioning their ethics and motives. 

Child poet and peacemaker Matti Stepanek suffered from a hereditary illness called dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy. His three older siblings died from this rare form of muscular dystrophy  before him. His mother also suffers from this disease.  By age six, Matti had already written hundreds of poems to promote gratitude, hope and positive thinking.  During his brief life, he became a best-selling author many times over.  He spoke to millions of people to encourage making the most of life, no matter what your cicumstances.

I think of glimpses into the lives of people who aren't famous. Their way of living can inspire me where their behaviour says more about who they are than what they have.  One such person is a Chinese businessman and former missionary. His kind-hearted motives lead him to sacrifice himself and do what it takes to instill hope in people.  I think of relatives, friends, acquaintances and strangers who persevere, who take responsibility and share stories that prove they can defy odds.  These people manage to make positive contributions no matter what obstacles they face.  They enrich their own lives as they encourage and enrich others. This inspires me.


Catalyst for positive change

What would it require for you to take a hard look at where you are and in which direction your life is heading?  What kind of experience would you need to wake up to who you really are?

One friend of mine was in an relationship for nine years before she realized the challenges she faced were blessings in disguise.  The more aware she became that her needs weren't being met, the more she realized things had to change, but she didn't like the idea of being alone.  She tolerated discomfort until she decided it was time to take responsibility for her own happiness.  The last straw was when her former boyfriend bought a motorbike rather than an engagement ring.  This was her catalyst for positive change.  She moved on to meet another man who listened, valued and respected her to make her feel appreciated.  When she was ready, she invited this new partner into her life.  Healing occurred when she listened to her feelings.

I remember an uncomfortable job transition.  I chose to dress professionally and treat clients and fellow staff with respect.  Yet, fellow employees were sloppy. Some of their lazy behavior reflected low motivation or self-respect.  Management didn't set high standards and few people are pleased if a visitor 'raises the bar.'  Looking back, I sense seeing me was likely unsettling.  It was like forcing peers to look in the mirror and face things that made them feel uncomfortable about themselves. This former job also reminded me that I'm only to blame if I feel stuck in an unsatisfying situation.  As I felt healthier, I attracted colleagues into my life with other standards and work ethics.  They enabled me to create more suitable professional opportunities and then, to move on.

At my 10 year high school reunion, some old friends didn't recognize me. To them, I had really changed.  I had been away to school, lost weight, grown up and matured through life experience.  I felt I still had a long way to go and much to learn, but I sensed I had outgrown my roots.  I wore different clothes and felt comfortable with my evolving self.  I had already set in motion a gradual awakening that is still guiding my life journey.  Apparently, my inner joy was visible. 

What was especially poignant about this reunion was meeting a girlfriend I hadn't seen for a time.  She had always been a horse-lover. I learned she had been living with her local boyfriend who was a dairyfarmer.  On the surface, this sounded great.  I'd never met him, but he sounded 'outdoorsy' like her.  Only, weeks later, I received a letter from her telling me she'd left the dairyfarmer and moved to Germany.  She realized that in order to live a more fulfilling life, she had to step out of the corner she had painted herself into.  Seeing me again and learning about my life experience caused her to accept that she had been lying to herself. When she opened herself up, she stepped out of her rut  and created a life that excited her.  Soon after her move, embracing a new language and job, she met the man who would become her plumber husband.  I heard they were married in a barn.  Recently, they also bought a horse. 

In reflecting on my own moments of truth, I suppose I trigger revelations when I feel uncomfortable.  When I begin to feel I'm living some experience that seems like someone else's life instead of my own, I realize I need to separate myself from the expectations of others.  I remind myself I'm always surrounded by choices to seize opportunities.  I have options to expand and challenge who I am or accept what other people think I should be.  I'm thankful that my will to forge ahead is much stronger than my fear of change.