The world of comparison is a dangerous one. But the necessity of measuring has its dangers too. While I learned years ago to measure where I am against my own intentions (rather than to compare myself to others), there was a time when I added pretty harsh criticism when I felt I missed the mark. I misunderstood the true value of measuring – not as a look back for admonishment, but as a touchstone for learning and preparing to move forward. I had to learn to make peace with reality, to make peace with what is. The key lies in knowing how to look, where to look and what to observe.

What do I mean when I say “how to look?” What qualities matter to you? This is your observation, so be true to yourself. I’m pretty consistent with my Success with Joy encouragement, and I bring this to my touchstone measures as well. Was I successful in fulfilling my intention? When I look back on what happened, do I smile at what I see? Was there an experience of joy for me AND those involved? It matters to me that people are honoring and supportive of one another. Use what matters to you.

Where should you focus? Look at your own thoughts and actions, examine your feelings about yourself and your true feelings about what is. Replay your conversations with those involved. Did every aspect support your success? Was every component aligned? If not, how can you realign?

I know for sure that when I’m clear about my desired direction it’s so easy to hear myself speaking counter to my intention. Those who know me can attest to my mid-sentence self-correction, “That is so not what I’m committed to right now. I take it all back!” Then I say something new that still tells the truth, but also aligns with the truth I’m creating, “There is definitely ground to take in getting this done. The one thing I know I can do next is…” “There is so much ground to take in getting this done, and I have no idea what to do next. I surrender with a willing heart.”

Once we’ve done our honest self-check, it can be inspiring, enlightening or sometimes embarrassing to notice how our words, emotions and actions are reflected back to us. Few lessons are better learned than when we hear children repeating what we said, word for help-me-Lord word. We can begin to notice how the action we chose in fear led to others’ actions, which express and reflect just as much fear. We can see our love and generosity reflected. We can delight in our commitment to excellence met with inspired effort. And when we begin to see ourselves clearly, we can see those around us with new eyes too.

But then there are those times…there wasn’t anything distracting or undermining in what you said, your emotions were aligned to support your success, your mind was clear as a cloudless blue sky on a summer day, and you went every mile and the extra too. Things still went awry. What then?! My grandfather would say, “Leave it, go.” This was his encouragement for surrender. Fittingly, Granddaddy’s favorite hymn was Farther Along, which speaks of an understanding that only comes with the passage of time. In wisdom I’ve learned to be patient and watchful for the revelation of whose lesson was there for the learning in each experience. Not everything that effects you is about you.

Clarity and alignment are not always easy, but the more we practice, the smoother our experiences become. And the peace of knowing when to surrender in willingness brings the simplicity of mastering our journey and making way for others to master theirs.

Journey Well, My Friend!

Success with Joy,

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