The Art of Successful Failure – Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

How Did I Ever Get Here?
Your Descending Path

“We must be willing to let go of the Life we’ve planned, so as to have the Life that is waiting for us.”
-Joseph Campbell

Who is this book for?  My automatic knee jerk response is: You and only You!   The next question is why you are holding, looking at this book or pondering to read it?   The most honest response is I had to write this book and you have to read it.  We are going to be friends for the next period of time as we walk through some “tough” personal stuff and right into the next chapter of fulfillment in your life.  Yes, things are going to be interesting, challenging and significant lasting change is within you.  Okay, now that we have this adult understanding, let’s keep going.   It’s no accident or random coincidence that this “spiritual” experience book is in front of you.  I am an adult man sharing for men/women alike who outwardly look a certain way but inside have a whole “lot” going on that seems and feels unexplainable and in need of desperate clarification.  You know something is much bigger than your own world, more meaningful and you know your part of it but how?  If that’s you, keep reading.  We are good to “go” forward knowing that you want to get to that inner part of you.   Even if you doubt your inner wisdom, intuitive nature and brilliant mind, they are all part of your personal “awaking.”

Before we discuss Mr. Campbell’s quote let me introduce myself—I am Stephan!  I want to start off with extending my sincere appreciation for your interest in this timeless transformation subject—your successful Life journey.  Thank you again for picking up this book.  Hopefully in the following pages of our discussion it will help you to start to make sense out of the seemingly random, perplexing events, challenging circumstances, difficult relationships and your present day life.  I promise we are going to have quite a ride through the challenges of accepting, changing and allowing your new insights to become your new life experiences with lasting “inner peace.”  Don’t we all want lasting peace, calmness and fulfillment?  Yes is the automatic answer.  You’re currently on the path to maximizing your life in ways you could only have remotely dreamed of but now it’s time to move forward and do it.

Your New Road Map—We will begin our discussion when things were peaceful/calm in your life and something or many things began to happen.  It’s your road to the Valley of Despair (we all have one) which is the beginning of your personal transformation (it always happens) and all the stops and starts in between.  This entire book/discussion is all about: expanding, experiencing, creating, and transforming your new Life perspective on all levels (emotionally, relationally, family, emotionally, spiritually, physically, economically and personally).  We are going to focus on your ability to experience and develop your inward journey going forward.
Many times it seems that the forces of your life combine to “explode” at the perfect time.  The varied circumstances, relationship disappointments all have the sole purpose of grabbing your inner attention concerning the deeper untapped issues buried within you.  It is these “dark nights” of the soul-filled moments when you stop and take a “serious” honest, non-defensive, non-blaming look into your life and what is happening (Valley of Despair).  Your moments of brilliant insight might be rare but profound beyond words, description or knowledge. You’re forever changed by your “successful failures” in how you walk down the road of your life.  Everything (your ego) is different including how you feel and think about yourself, life, your destiny, life purpose and your soul.   Like Mr. Campbell states above we all have to adjust, amend and open up our “heart” to the new possibilities that await us.  The quote below by Thomas Merton is a reminder that exploring and accepting (understanding the bigger unspoken purpose) your “life” is critical to your bigger and more meaningful purpose.  This internal cognitive shift from defensiveness, fear, hopelessness and resistance to accepting is the theme of Section II in the book.

“In a world of tension and breakdown it is necessary for there to be those who seek to integrate their inner lives not by avoiding sorrow and anguish and running from their problems, but by facing them.”
–Thomas Merton

My Life isn’t Working—You know when you know that your life isn’t working the way you had hoped, wanted or dreamed.  It is at these precise moments of clarity that time stops and you acknowledge that there is something bigger and more meaningful to your current life circumstances.  Your new inner “insight” is driven by the extreme emotional pain that you are feeling.  The problem is that the emotional “distortion” of your fears can be paralyzing.  When we are panicked, psychologically terrified and/or emotionally reactive, we have zero to little clarity or perspective.  The deep unspoken fear for instance that you might end up homeless and penniless or that the person you love will walk out of your life seems inevitable.  Everything feels like it is slipping away and you can’t get a “grip” on any of it.  The truth is your “old” ways, patterns and “life” are slipping away, dying and taking you to your own personal “hell.”   The emotional desperation and panic running throughout your life is palpable and frightening.  It’s difficult to believe but all these “heartbreaking” occurrences and situations are purposefully designed for your personal “inner” awakening.  There are fundamentally five basic paths that will expedite your personal awaking that will begin coming to you (money/career, love relationships, childhood family, and parenting and health challenges) and these (awakenings) are as varied as the men and women experiencing them.  You might find yourself living out one of these “themes” to what feels like a death march to places unknown.  It is this process of descending to your timely transformation that we are going to explore in great detail.

New Openings for You—Unfortunately the process of making these life altering internal changes isn’t as nice, painless or as pretty as we would like or choose.  Your transformation might appear tragic and feel awful, but underneath, the disastrous circumstances all things are working together for your destiny.  The most profound and powerful changes of the heart and soul are directly correlated to the most painfully profound experiences in your life.  There is a clear cut mathematical connection between your significant life changes, perspective shifts and the desire to reduce and stop your emotional pain.  The balance between your emotional pain and ability to activate change is always an “ongoing” process.  Your spiritual awaking is like gravity.  It’s always a constant principle/force regardless of the elevation your life is at or the places you go literally and figuratively.  The nuclear power of a wounded ego (emotional pain) is always the grand opening for your transformation and expanded personal/spiritual journey.  Your life path is always and will always be “calling” you to move forward regardless of what the difficult circumstances may indicate or look like.  The question is, “in what direction are you moving—forward or backwards?”  Neither direction is without—personal pain and personal change.

Moving forward will help create lasting relief and permanent change from your painful life lessons, self-defeating patterns and spiritual frustration cycles (where and who is God).  Resisting your personal transformation process (acceptance of your Life lessons) only guarantees the chronic reset of your repetitive painful life experiences.  No one is exempt from the process of personal growth, change and their own personal spiritual awakening.  Men of all ages can say they don’t believe in God but their heart will betray their ego (self-importance) when they begin to consider their higher life purpose.  Women can say that God had abandoned them when they were mistreated, but their heart/soul knows it’s only an excuse for procrastinating to leave a “bad” relationship.  All these terms, concepts and processes of your personal awakening will be explained in great detail throughout the book.  The soulful dynamic of finding your inner passion, purpose and spiritual connection are all invaluable pieces of your life today and not something to avoid, resist or be afraid of.  The short and long term goal of our journey together is to move toward and embrace your spiritual side.  Saying all that, let’s continue our informal introductions on this matter of change.

Your Starting Point—we all have a point on our time line where the “whole” thing just blows up like a fireworks show in July.  My emotional roof came crashing in when I was sitting with a dear friend explaining my current personal “horror” movie, which I was trying to downplay.  We were smoking a cigar, sipping on a “scotch” and watching “March Madness” (college basketball playoffs); he looked at me and said, “Your life is a successful failure.”  I could not argue with his statement.  The evidence from my highly emotional break-up with the love of my life, moving out of her house, no money, needing a hip replacement surgery and living in a hotel with my beagle, Ricardo, left me feeling  devastated, defeated and dejected.   The backdrop to this story is my ex-wife married my ex-best friend a few years prior.  I had introduced them many years earlier at a book signing for my book about fathering.  To further exacerbate the situation at the time, my kids thought her new husband was a better father than me.  No longer was I needed in their life—a nuclear missile to my heart and life.  I can’t adequately begin to express the epic explosion that hit my life via being a displaced father, boyfriend and person.  Parenting was my express lane, and the non-stop pathway to my Valley of Despair.  I did a full face plant in the ash pile of my lost dreams, lost hope and lost my precious angels/children.  I wasn’t feeling or thinking that this was the “Life” I had envisioned for myself back in High School or College.  Rather, all I wanted to do was to seriously disappear into a cloud of dust and hit the “restart” button on my life from about the age of one.

I was so depressed that I couldn’t allow myself to get too “down” because there wasn’t much energy or cushion left within me for any degree of self-pity.  I was terrified that if I really let go of my small ray of hope, I might never return from my ash heap.  My sense of shame and lack of self-acceptance coupled with feeling “awful” was my cup of water to drink.  I could vaguely feel within my heart that there had to be a spiritual pathway out of my “hell.”   I not only felt like a complete “loser” who was on the edge of complete and utter humiliation and despair, but my kids seemed to have the same opinion of me.  The idea of even moving to Australia with my beagle or some foreign country and becoming a farmer didn’t even seem appealing because that would require energy and motivation.  I had very little of either.  I was lying “face down” on the road of my life.   I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself I was feeling hopeless.

Removing the Roadblocks—What I soon had to acknowledge was that I had always struggled with a hidden belief that I was a “phony” who was not good enough and was deep down was a “bad” guy (Shame Factor—will discuss further in Section II).  I believed from a nonspiritual self-loathing perspective that I truly deserved to be “loveless” and without any partner or children.  Now it seemed that I was completely consumed with self-doubt, self-loathing and shame.  I couldn’t even convince myself that my life would ever come out of the ash heap of despair and hopelessness.  Things were so painful that I couldn’t really take a hard look at the casualty list of my life because my eyes were blurred with grief, anger and despair.  The inner war of self-loathing and fear that nothing would ever change for the better was in full gear, and the ride was getting worse every time I looked around.  Shockingly, my professional life was growing in spite of my nonstop emotional bleeding.  My clients would tell me their stories of feeling rejected by a partner, kids being taken away during an awful custody battle or losing their job, home and self-respect.  I would nod my head with empathy for their struggle because we were both looking for the keys to unlocking doors in our own lives.

It was difficult to believe that I was the central character in this self-directed personally funded horror movie.  I had known since about the age of four that I came to this life to make up for some bad stuff I had done in a recent past life (past lives discussion in Section III).  Sounds crazy but I knew the day I had that thought in the backyard of my childhood home.  That thought faded as I got older but the need to make a positive contribution to the world and help lost teenage boys/girls never left my soul or heart.  It was clear that I was attempting unsuccessfully to convince myself and my buddy, Kye, that things weren’t as painful, devastating and out of control as they felt.  As I recounted the events of the recent past, he says without any regarding for my fragile humiliated emotional state, “You’re a Successful Failure.”  Kye then went on to say with my mouth dropping on the floor, “You can either look at your Life as a failure or see the Value in these events, don’t quit buddy.”  I wasn’t feeling the “love” or “humor” but his words, but his comment hit me like a “lightning bolt” of truth in the stomach.

Stopping the Pain—I had always held deep within my heart a spiritual belief that everything works out regardless of the circumstances of the given moment.  Deep within my heart and soul, I knew things would change for the better.  The distance from where I was standing in my “Valley of Despair” to the top of the mountain seemed impossible to climb or to conceive I could ever reach.  It was now a function of patience and persistence in re-inventing my life, but how?  I didn’t know that my prayer request a few years earlier for a more fulfilling life was going to be the path of sheer hell and agony.  I didn’t feel like a “saint” or have any aspirations to be one but lets lighten up on the emotional disappointments.  I really just wanted to get to the other side of the “black emotional” cave in which I found myself dwelling.  Further, this process of spiritual transformation and awakening was just about to wipe me out.  I was very close to quitting on myself and just checking out (going emotionally numb) with a bitter script and limping to the finish line.  The Valley of Despair wasn’t a joke or a cute phrase or anything to “mess” with.  My current emotional address of “failing” was beyond anything I had experienced or ever imagined possible.

Maybe There is a Lasting Answer—The dissension was in the “fast lane” for all   areas of my life with disappointments that I now could have never anticipated or dreamed possible.  My only hope was that I had hit the bottom of my personal Grand Canyon?  Hitting the metaphorical “rock” bottom in life has always been a choice that much I knew.   Whatever “life” lessons that needed to be addressed, I was alert, awake and not going to screw around or avoid the deeper issues of my life anymore.  Nothing?   I was fully awake and willing to do whatever it took to transcend this painful and desolate place within my heart and soul (I will explain later what that entailed).  I was also aware that many people have thousands of worse life experiences and tragedies than anything I have seen or known.  Yet at that period of time, I was feeling very deflated and absolutely traumatized by this “death-rebirth” process I was experiencing in my personal own life.   The old way of doing my life was no longer a viable option or useful—everything needed to change from the inside out.  One of the things I started during this “crisis” was to meditate.  Anything that could silence my anger, fear and hopelessness was worth the effort (will explain more about this later).

“Never be afraid to fall apart because it is an
Opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish you had been all along.”
–Rae Smith

No Blaming—The quote above seemed very fitting and extremely scary at the same time.  It seemed that everything I touched only got worse.  The emotional pain just seemed to be escalating with no end in the foreseeable future.  The journey that we all walk was in full color and I didn’t want this (living in despair) to be the end of the road for me or how my story ended.  I never truly gave up my hope for better days.  I was too scared to admit to myself that all the noise in my head/heart, negative feelings, fearful thoughts, blame and painful self-doubts were true.  My inner resolve was, “No-way” was the “goodness” and essence of “love” going to skip my life.  If all this “stuff” about how “God/Divine” is caring and close to us then why was I missing this important connection?   What was I doing wrong, missing or just couldn’t understand?  Where was the disconnect or the missing piece of spiritual/life insight for my present crisis?  I didn’t want to hear from some therapist/psychologist (even though I am one) or have a spiritual mentor say one more time, “be patient, everything works out!”  Patience my “ass,” I was dying and don’t know what to do other than try to accept these circumstances.  The advice felt like cheap useless “bullsh…” for someone in a crisis and their ship in life was about to sink—ironically they were all correct in the end.

I know you know exactly what I am referring to—there has to be other ways:  realizations and divine actions that can take place in my/your life.   I wasn’t going to be a victim of life, blame others, blame God, blame my parents or blame something outside of me.  Whatever was begging for my full attention NOW had it!  I wanted to have that “inner” peace, contentment and spiritual connection to the “greater good.”  I was tired of being tired of not feeling good enough, smart enough, wealthy enough, lucky enough or “spiritual” enough to have my life move forward without all the pain, struggle, fear and impending doom.   If this sounds familiar keep reading because we all get to the other side of the black cave/tunnel and begin to see things that weren’t ever visible before.

Your Descending Path

“In the process of letting go you will lose many things
From the past, but you will find yourself.”
–Deepak Chopra

My Full Responsibility—You may be reading this opening and thinking my story is like a “walk in the park.”  Maybe, your story is so heart breaking that you can’t even believe that God or anything good in the Universe could exist because of your personal road of “loss” to “despair” to “awakening.”  The idea that you have been the object of “bad” luck, been screwed over, betrayed or just simply the target of a mean cosmic joke is beyond comprehension.  Maybe you (this is tough concept for me to accept but its powerful) had unconsciously created this entire “mess” to get yourself back to your core life mission and spiritual path?  Hmm, the idea that you somehow are actively involved in your spiritual transformation is a staggering concept.  The main idea that you and your soul (your intuitive nature) have a part in this “death-dying” process of your outwardly driven life is one of the primary operating premises of this chapter and underlying principles of this entire book.  We will discuss this idea in full detail in the pages to come.  For now, let’s just step back from our personal “train wreck” and get our emotional “breath” back.  Let’s attempt to regain your life/spiritual perspective at large.  I call this your 10,000 foot overview of your life, current path and life circumstances.  With that said, now refer again to the quote at the beginning of this chapter.

No Religion—The statement at the beginning of this chapter is a great one because it hits at the core of all of our hopes and dreams.  Joseph Campbell is referring to the Life that is our “spiritual” awaking path.  Your life path will always be your spiritual path.  There is an internal small voice, feeling, and quiet part of you that knows that you aren’t where you should be spiritually, emotionally, relationally and psychologically.  Regardless of your religious or non-religious upbringing you know that any lasting fulfillment in this life comes from accessing this deeper “knowing” awareness and connection to your true destiny.  Your deeper awareness, understanding and personal experience of the “divine” doesn’t imply or require that the you become a “religious” person but rather a “spiritually aware” one.  Remember your life going forward is all about your ever increasing life perspective.  No church, synagogue or temple memberships are necessary or needed.  It’s simply your personal spiritual enlightenment/realization of yourself.  Your inner life (beliefs and experiences) is what will completely transform your life.  Reading this book isn’t about calling your intuitive self-God or higher power any particular name.  Neither is it about attaching any label to your inner awakening.  It’s your full acceptance of your new insight to your inner self, spirit, soul and whatever language you like to describe that life energy within you, me and everyone else.

What does “Spiritual” mean?  For the purposes of this dialogue this is a working definition: spirituality is realizing the limitless opportunities from within your heart and soul to have the quality life you desire (destiny); it’s the belief in something bigger than you in this world/life (Divine/God/Spirit); knowing there is a greater reason for your life rather than a random sequences of unrelated events (purpose); the process of becoming aware and connected to your “higher” purpose in your life is your Spiritual Factor—it is your positive spiritual footprint on your world and the world around you.

The concepts of your destiny, life purpose, life/spiritual connection to your “higher power” are all parts of your life mission which is your “spirituality” in day to day action.   Everyone has to address, work out and discover their individual gifts, treasures, and purposes on their journey, while “doing/living” their life.  Your spirituality is a very individual experience that doesn’t require any particular “religious” membership but rather your “openness” to your divine nature.  It’s a very overwhelming idea that everyone, including you, has something to contribute, learn and give to the “greater” good.

The following short story is a reminder of where your journey will always begin (within you) and always (your heart) has the answers for you.  The ideas, desires, dreams and longings all start within you and have to be understood from that perspective.  This is your own life journey with tons and tons of personal information stored inside of your heart/soul to be discovered by You!  No-one can read or translate your inner soulfulness other than you.  Your greatest moments will always start within you and spread to your entire “life.”  This is a very powerful short story that illustrates the many different reasons for exploring, learning and making life/spiritual “self-realizations” within you:

Look Inside for Happiness

There was an ancient Indian legend about a little known tribe that was constantly at war with other Indian tribes.  They abused their religion and their families, had no morals or feelings for others, laughed at wisdom or any kind of order.  Murder, theft, and plundering were a daily occurrence.  This violent Indian tribe seemed doomed to wipe themselves off the face of the earth.  Finally, an old chief gathered together a few of the least violent of the braves and held a council to discuss how they could save their tribe from themselves.  The wise old chief decided the only thing to do was to take the secret of happiness and success away from those abused it.  They would take this secret and hide it where no one would ever find it so it could not be abused again.  The big question was—where should they hide it?

One Indian brave suggested they bury the secret of happiness and success deep in the earth.  But the chief said, “No that will never do, for man will dig deep down into the earth and find it.”

Another brave said to sink the secret into the dark depths of the deepest ocean.  But again the chief replied, “No, not there, for man will learn to dive into the depths of the ocean and will find it.”

A third brave thought they should take it to the highest mountain and hide it there.  But again, the chief said, “No, for man will eventually climb even the highest of mountains and find it, and again take it up for himself.

Finally, the old chief had the answer: “Here is what we will do with the secret of happiness,” he stated.  “We will hide it deep inside of man himself, for he will never think to look for it there.” To this day, according to that old Indian legend, man has been running to and fro all over the earth–digging, diving and climbing- searching for something that he already possesses within himself.”

–Indian Legend
(Speakers Sourcebook, Volume I; pages 207-08)

The Moral to Your Story—Regardless of your belief or disbelief of your personal Higher Power (whatever name you like to refer is fine) which resides inside of your heart and soul, there is a secret that is only for your Life/Spiritual path evolution.  The discovering of your personal secret within your heart is one of your primary tasks along your life/spiritual path.  The seemingly illusive intangible feeling of completion, inner fulfillment, success or failure that transcends the material level is part of your untapped secret/happiness potential within your heart.  The Indian legend story is timeless and powerfully accurate for this time and place in your life.  You could be like the people in the tribe that keep running around their world looking for something that is already inside of them.  Or, you could decide to stop running, avoiding, hiding from what’s within you.  You are tired of looking everywhere, hoping to find that everlasting happiness, inner peace,  and personal success in your work, personal wealth, marriage relationships, family, kids, and accomplishments.  It is within you—the last place anyone ever thinks to look or seek!  All the answers to all your questions about your life, your life purpose, reasons for all the different events all lie right inside of your soul: your inner energy source that is infinite and unchangeable.   We have all been conditioned to believe that through hard work, persistence and being “good” we will achieve happiness.  This is a truism if we start from the correct place (our soul/spirit).  Our heart is the doorway to our inner/outer journey not someplace outside of us hoping, looking and seeking to find it out in the world.

Sunglasses analogy:  If the idea that your inner success, happiness and life/spiritual path is all within you seems a bit overstated, consider this idea for a minute.  How many times have you begun to panic about finding your sunglasses or glasses?  You start racing around your house looking everywhere only to discover they were on your head the entire time!  You just forgot that you put them there!  Hmm, this is no different than what you are wanting for your life today.  Stop running around looking for a miracle! YOU are the miracle! It’s already inside of you!  Take a moment to remember that it’s already within you this entire time even during your despair, severe pain, fear, loss and despair.  The “it” is:  lasting inner peace, sense of purpose, feeling of connection to the greater good and a divine perspective for your life and all your challenges.

It is the acknowledgment that what appears at face value to be superficially random disappointments, great accomplishments and/or tragic events in your life are for a significant purpose.  There is meaning and purpose to all of it!  There is absolutely no failure in your Life!  The only failure, if you will, is to not see, resist, dismiss and/or deny the inherent value of these meaningful events in your life.  Understanding, accepting and absorbing these life changing lessons that are staring you in the face is the first step out of your Valley of Despair.   There is absolutely nothing random, useless or unrelated to the primary purpose of furthering your personal growth along your spiritual factor/path.  Nothing is excluded, it all matters in your Life.  It is as if you have two lives now: your worldly life and your spiritual Life.  Keeping this new perspective in the forefront of your mind is paramount for avoiding and chronically repeating many of the painful life lessons that have brought you to this point and time.  There are more aspects to your life than just the material level that we all live and function on daily.  There is a whole other world within you that has been attempting to “grab” your undivided attention in the midst of your job, family, finances, relationships, health issues, children and your life for many years.  A client of mine having a moment of clarity made this statement recently when they accepted the bigger purpose, “My life is more than merely paying bills and going to work every day, what a relief to know I am part of something bigger than me.”

No Failures—Your Fine Art
The “no failing” concept isn’t a polite way of “white washing” your screw-ups, impulsive choices, self-center decisions or unforgivable acts.  This isn’t a skip “jail” card or sloppy deathbed declaration of forgiveness for a reckless life.  Rather it is the heart breaking perspective that there is inherent value, purpose and meaning for you in all of your experiences.  Lodge this new concept into your heart and soul: Your losses are as important as your gains.   The disappointments, rejections and seemingly “bad luck” themes are of tremendous value and purpose in shaping your destiny and soul journey.  The process of heartfelt soulful understanding goes all the way back to your early childhood and up to this present day-moment.  One of the biggest challenges along your path to genuine spiritual enlightenment is accepting the “learning” value of your current situation(s).   Regardless of the betrayals, resentments and seemingly “unfairness” of your life, poor choices, self-defeating behaviors, they are as valuable as your accomplishments.  Your life journey is about your Life being transformed from the inside out with a new depth of compassion, love, gratitude and understanding that transcends all prior versions of you.  This is exactly what Joseph Campbell is referring to in the above quote (re-read it now with this perspective/clarity).

“We must be willing to let go of the Life we’ve planned,
so as to have the Life that is waiting for us.”
–Joseph Campbell

OK, now the great debate and argument is on between your head and  your heart.  When I am referring to “Higher Power,” what I mean is your intuition, your sixth sense, your positive inner voice that embraces Love and the greater good of life.  Whatever is your comfort “zone” with terms like god, spirit, divine nature, soul, intuition and any term that works for you can be used.  This isn’t the time to argue about semantics when your life is hanging in the balance with something that is within your heart waiting and begging for your full attention.

Personal Questions

It is always important to do a “self” temperature check and find out what is going on in your life.  Answering the following questions with the first response you have, don’t edit or change your mind.

  • What is one issue, thing, and action, behavior you’re resisting to accept about yourself, or your current circumstances or relationship?
  • What’s going on with my life on the inside?  You already know the answer but it is worth asking the question.
  • What’s the potential meaningful purpose of these events?
  • Why is there a recurring theme to all these events in my life?
  • How and why do these things keep happening?
  • Why do these events, situations seem so emotionally painful?
  • Am I crazy for thinking about wanting to quit the personal growth process and just “numb” out?
  • Why has my life been so hard, difficult and/or challenging?
  • When will the pain stop?
  • Do I have the courage to go through all the changes I need to make and do?

We could keep asking these questions for the rest of time, but the underlying answer will always be that you can change the course of your life—from the inside.  Regardless of the “mess” you feel or are experiencing you can create a new path.  It is never too early to make the changes you have always wanted to make and/or have postponed.  In the next chapter we are going to address your questions and possible answers to them.

Closing Thoughts

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience-
We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
–Paramahansa Yoganada

The idea that we all have a spirit within us that is universally connected to everyone and to everything is mind boggling.  Your life isn’t about your “body” comforts but rather about nurturing the “spirit” within you.  Secondly, your spirit/soul that is within you has a definite purpose for you in this current life.  The idea that nothing is random in your life up to this very moment is a concept that lends itself to the urgency of discovering your destiny, path and/or mission in these challenging circumstances.  The quote above points out that your priorities may be out of order with your emphasis being first on your body and materialism.   It’s an old and new idea that maybe your highest goal, priority and purpose; is to connect with the intention/purpose of your intuition-spirit within you for direction and guidance.  Consider for a few minutes of switching your paradigm from being solely outwardly motivated to becoming inwardly motivated.  This shift is the lifelong goal, task and purpose of all life-spiritual paths.

You are on a life path that is disguised as a spiritual journey specifically designed for your highest and best good.

The emotional pain, suffering and “heartbreak” that you have experienced and are feeling today is all designed by your soul for your eventual spiritual awaking and fulfilling your intended purposes in your life now and going forward. This shifting of perspectives to being inwardly driven is one of the biggest challenges facing you on your path toward heightened awareness and lasting inner peace.  All the great saints from all walks of life acknowledge the tremendous emotional pain that is created by going from a human perspective to a spiritual perspective of your life events.  You are undertaking this “life/spiritual” shift by reading and considering all these ideas today.  Keep going it will make more sense to you as your story unfolds before your eyes.

These two quotes below illustrate the start of our journey together and is something that I have always felt and knew but tended to forget at critical times.  The Universe has an excellent and brilliant ways of creating circumstances that get our full undivided spiritual attention again and again.

The goal of the human experience is to transform ourselves
From beings who long to attain power in the physical world
To beings that are empowered from within.”
–Caroline Myss


“True happiness comes from within and when you’re in alignment with your
truth and purpose for being here in the physical—no money, material wants
or relationships can ever affect this place of harmony.  Be true to yourself
and follow your heart.”
–Bill Phillips

Summary Points—Something New to Ponder

  • Your life is your spiritual journey.  Everyone is on their path regardless of their belief, lack of belief, disbelief in a “higher power.”
  • Spirituality is like gravity, it applies to everyone regardless of circumstances or challenges—it’s always in effect (gravity and your spiritual life) whether you believe in it or not.
  • Your losses are as important as your gains!  Loss is never a wasted experience or useless element in your “awaking.”
  • There is a purpose, reason, life lesson buried within the depth and breadth of your current crisis.  Keep looking within and you will find the purpose, meaning and value—because there is one if not many pending lessons.
  • All the answers to your Life questions lie within you—no-one holds the keys to your future, your healing or your mission except You!
  • You are living two lives simultaneously—worldly/ego and your spiritual/divine.  The challenge is switching from an externally driven life (ego) to an internally motivated-driven (spiritual) life.  This the struggle and duality of your life.
  • Successful Failure is beginning to realize that there are no failures, mistakes or missed opportunities with a “spiritual” perspective for your life purpose/journey.  What appears on the surface as a major “setback” in your life is usually the opening of your “heart-soul” connection to a deeper more fulfilling life experience/change.
  • You can’t fail in life!  You can resist the process of change inside of your soul, emotions and relationship world—that’s frustration.  Failure is an “ego” term not a spiritual or divine concept.  Personal and spiritual change is the result of acceptance—that’s your journey.   Souls don’t fail, they wait for the opportunity to change, evolve and love—your soul will always evolve!

“For a soul/life to evolve, it must learn lessons, a myriad of issues in each lifetime
—including lessons of love, forgiveness, and gratitude.”
–James Van Praagh

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Read the Forward to The Art of Successful Failure


Books by Dr. Stephan Poulter

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