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Karen M. Black
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A daughter's tale of truth, love and letting go

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An addictive spin on awakening, soulmates and past lives

Your idea of success – is it successful?

“Neuroses is a substitute for legitimate suffering.”
– M. Scott Peck

What is the definition of success to you personally? Lately, I've been pondering the complexity of this question and how our beliefs about it can shape us.

Is success results? Recognition?

Title? Productivity? Getting your way? Is it money? (was Bernie Madoff successful?) Marriage and/or children? (is Oprah successful? The Dalai Lama?)

Okay, how about inspiring others and giving back? Was bestselling healer, author and educator M. Scott Peck a success? He reached millions of people. I am one.

Play with me. Decide now: is he?

Successful in one area of life: is that success?

As you may know, Scott Peck died in 2005. In his final years, he wrote a bit about his personal life. Throughout his marriage, he had many affairs. He admitted that he stopped only because he got prostate cancer. He drank. After 43 years of marriage, his wife left him. When he died at age 69, he was estranged from two of his children. I ask again: was he a success?

To say yes doesn't feel complete. Yet to say no is laced with judgement. I love the man's books. Glad I wasn't married to him. The two thoughts co-exist. He's a paradox, as is life. As we all are.

In your family growing up, what was success?

What was failure? For you today, what is success? Do these ideas support you in life, or weigh you down?

Do you compare yourself to others? If so, please stop now. When we do this, we compare the outside of others' lives, with what we feel inside. Apples to oranges.

What's your own definition of success?

German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) made a valuable observation on the shifting of human views when he stated that all truth goes through three stages:

First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Finally, it is accepted as self-evident.

This is not only true for changes in the world at large, but changes in our hearts. For really, personal change can only be measured, in relation to ourselves.

I remember my own journey to discover my own ‘truth’. First, I thought I was crazy. I did everything I could to avoid, deny and run away. As time went on, I found myself in so much pain, I didn't know where else to turn.

Today, I know that pain was a gift. Today, I know the dots of my life make perfect sense. But that wasn't always the case. Realizing this was a success, for me. My own quest continues.

Healer, heal thyself (one definition of success)

“Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure. Problems...create our courage and wisdom.”
– M. Scott Peck

Do you know who John Bradshaw is? Like Scott Peck, he's a healer. This week, I watched some videos of his, about our stages of growth as children and how they affect us as adults. A passionate, humble, funny and eloquent speaker. You just know he's the real deal.

Healing his own childhood has been his life's work. Abandoned by an alcoholic father. A ‘do your duty’ mother. A recovering alcoholic since 1965. He was the family Star, and an out-of-control Caretaker (his words). He's helped millions. He's integrated his own ideas into his life and while he tells his stories with humour, you know it hasn't been easy. His successes continue, into his 70's.

What if success is defined from the inside out...

Having a purpose, a reason for being comes from inside us first. Why is this important? Because what's inside us can never abandon us, betray us, leave home, reject us, die or otherwise be taken away. It's with us, it is us. Ever evolving.

I was asked recently about the ‘glue’ in relationships. Apart from the common answers (like intimacy: ‘into-me-see’), I'd add: individual and shared purpose. Wanna stick together like Crazy glue? Try on shared Legacy. Such is the glue, I believe, of not only relationships, but of our lives.

Success then, is best pondered in layers, relative only to ourselves. Purposefully. The richest relationships, are ones which help each of us, nurture and grow new layers of success.

How does your current definition of success play in your life? With your work? Your spouse? Your health? Your emotions? Your children? Are your beliefs about success supportive, or is there room for change?

What do you think: Have you had a successful life?

A true story about a successful life

A dear friend of mine spoke at the funeral of a 41 year old man a few years back who died suddenly. The man who died was single, and open to meeting someone. He was an architect.

He had no kids. He built schools, designed with light and space so that children would thrive. He was a talented painter. He was funny. A good friend. Kind. Connected to animals. This man, my friend concluded, was in life, a success.

My friend is a 76 year-old psychiatrist. The man he was speaking about was his son.

Meaning of life articles for your heart. Created with love.

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