This was written at the end of December, 2011.
Over the past 10 days or so I have been struggling with a lot of fears about my value, worth and acceptance by others. I recently scheduled an 8-week workshop – my first – and it has triggered all my old stuff about nobody coming to my party. I know that I cannot control who comes and who doesn’t, and in my heart I also believe that the right people will show up. And I know if no one shows up it’s not a failure, but information that I can use to change things up for the next time. After all, this is what I tell my clients, and I believe it is true for them, why wouldn’t it be true for me?
Additionally, I’ve been rather distressed that my mood has fluctuated based on external validation about this workshop. When someone registers for it I feel good. When I call former clients and invite them but don’t get any returned calls I feel bad. I really, really, want to be in that serene place of not being attached to outcome and can’t seem to do it, so I add beating myself up about my need for external validation to the mix. I’ve tried all my tricks to get myself back on track. Some have worked for a while, others haven’t worked at all, and frankly, I’ve avoided trying some tools even though I know they will help. Gotta love that ego for keeping all the fear alive!
This morning I decided to skip most of the things I typically do in my morning practice such as gratitude and success journal, intentions and meditation. Instead, I just felt like I needed to go for a walk. I’ve been trying to change things up with my walks, and decided to go to Myrtle Edwards Park. Good choice! Even though it was a cloudy, overcast day, I could see Mt. Rainier. I immediately began wondering what the vision of that mountain was there to tell me.
The first thought that sprang to mind was that the mountain is there whether anyone climbs it or not, and it doesn’t care whether anyone climbs it. The value that it has is not increased or diminished based on the number of people that climb it. By the same token, its beauty is there whether anyone sees it or not. These ideas are true of me, too. My value is not based on how many people attend my workshop. The gifts I have to share still exist, whether anyone takes advantage of them or not. My beauty exists whether or not others see it.
The mountain doesn’t feel bad if no one climbs it, and it doesn’t crumble away so that it is unavailable for anyone to climb it. It remains available for when someone does want to climb it. For me, this translates to not losing my self-worth just because no one is partaking of my gifts at the moment, and remaining open to when someone does want access to what I can provide.
I next realized that not everyone climbs a mountain, or even wants to. Even when they want to, they may not be ready yet. There may be months or years of training required before they climb their first mountain. The same is true of potential students for my workshop. It isn’t going to appeal to everyone, or there may be reasons that they’re just not ready yet. This doesn’t say anything about the value of what I offer, just that it’s not the right fit for them right now.
Similarly, not every mountain climber chooses to climb Mt. Rainier. There are a myriad of reasons why a different mountain might be their preference. Maybe they live on another continent, maybe their skill level is a better fit for a different mountain, and maybe their climbing buddy wants to climb a different mountain. None of this says anything about the value of Mount Rainier. Not every person who wants to learn about how to be happier is going to attend my workshop. The schedule might not work for them, maybe they’re not yet ready for the information or to make changes, or maybe their friend has invited them to a different personal growth workshop. It’s all about them and what’s going on in their lives, and not at all about me and my value.
As soon as I began to see the parallels between Mt. Rainier and me, I was so grateful for my impulse to set aside my other morning rituals today and just take this walk. This reminder that my value and my beauty are independent of the actions of others was just what I needed. Now whenever I begin to fear that no one’s going to show up for my party, I can remember the lessons of Mt. Rainier and know that my gifts are beautiful and valuable and they will be shared at just the right time with just the right people.