Really succeeding successfully
From the original transcript of Byron Katie’s new book, A Thousand Names for Joy:
A successful human being is the one reading these words. Do you weigh 500 pounds? You’re a success. That’s your job, to weigh 500 pounds. You have cancer? That’s your job, you are successfully do that job right now. It doesn’t mean it won’t change. Can you be happy from here? Take on that job. You don’t understand the words you’re reading? Perfect! Your job is not to understand yet. You may experience tomorrow morning in the shower a blast of understanding, a profound experience and appreciation of yourself as a successful human being, just a glimpse of how precious and how necessary it is for you to be you right now. There’s no mistake in the universe. There’s a perfect age, height, gender. You don’t have a partner? Perfect. You have a partner whom you can’t get along with? Perfect. You’re a success. You have just met yourself with unconditional love. This deep understanding—that is success. When you understand this, there is nothing that can keep you from realizing that you’re a success.
Look at that, I’m more of a success than I thought! Just looking at this moment, I am a success at sitting at the keyboard and getting sidetracked. It’s probably taken me more than half an hour to write this much – and most of it was Copy & Paste. And I’ve been having a great conversation with Y, getting so much wisdom from this little six-year-old, who reminds me that her name means ‘great teacher’. I love the way my fingers flick across the keyboard, the way they move themselves. I’ve spent most of today with a tummy bug, and I’ve noticed I’m an expert at doubling over in pain; at spraying the bowl (I don’t think I left one part of it untouched); at trying to upchuck with minimal results; at suffering in silence; at groaning enough to let people know that I’m suffering in silence. I’m really good at forgetting to sit in my Course in Miracles lessons throughout the day. Oh, and my moods: I woke up this morning blaming everybody for things; then I found a little peace in the Course; then I managed being rushed fairly well; then I spent a considerable amount of time unable to focus; there was some frustration in there – and a bit more blaming going on; a sense of achievement; then the sickness started taking over and things were pretty fuzzy for a while, while I lay there wondering how this body couldn’t really be me if it hurt so much; then eventually I read the passage above and a whole wave of clarity overcame me, along with the inspiration to write. I am a complete success at mood swings! And still, I can get myself in a funk that lasts for days – it can get really black and seem inescapable. I am really good at getting myself down. A master, I daresay. And I bounce back and can spend a long period of time in clarity, so I’m a success at that too. I’m a success at whining about things – like the mess – and doing very little about it. Oh yes, I’m very good at that. And I’m a success at change: one moment I can see you as beautiful, the next as unattractive; one moment I can treat you with the utmost respect, the next with complete disregard; I can look you in the eyes now, and later I will do everything to avert my gaze. I’m a success at being 37. I’ve done it for half a year now, without failing once. I did each of the other years leading up to it perfectly as well – not one moment in any of that time was I any older or younger than I really was. And I’m a real success at wanting to be different: when I was younger I wanted to be older, now I’m older I often want to be younger (not as much as I used to, though); I’ve wanted to be heavier; wanted to be in a different relationship or a relationship or not in a relationship so many times these past 37 years, I couldn’t hope to count them; I’ve wanted to be richer; wanted to be more organised; wanted to have a different job; wanted to live somewhere else – oh, I’ve wanted so much that I haven’t actually had, it’s a wonder I can be here right now to talk about it. And I’m a true success at that: being here right now to talk about it – against all odds, here I am, the greatest success story ever told.
I think I’ve just discovered the meaning of forgiveness.