[suh k-ses] noun … The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.
It’s one of those words that seems to have a pretty clear meaning. In many places, especially US culture, success is measured by wealth, prosperity and fame. These are, of course, reasonable measures, but the truth is that success is something so much deeper than that. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m doing this 21-day Meditation Challenge focused on success. Today’s thoughts have whirled around the concept of harmony – that moment when all seems to slip into place and you just “know” that you’re on the right track.
There is progress and growth that happens in life whether or not we engage – we lose baby teeth, go through puberty, hair turns gray and time marches on across our bodies (usually in a downward slope, sadly). Inner growth, is categorically different, requiring our engagement and involvement on a persistent and consistent basis. Inner growth requires that we be in tune with our inner selves, staying connected to some sense of something greater doesn’t hurt either.
At this point in my life, where I’ve slipped past the logical half way mark in the journey of life (if I’m lucky), I can’t help but ponder where I’ve been. More importantly I’ve come to look with eager anticipation towards where I am going. Adjusting my life path, taking some risk and embracing my self more fully has resulted in a sense of advance towards success that I’d never imagined. In fact, I already feel I’ve succeeded. My business has just opened, and isn’t nearly what one might call “successful” but having overcome some remarkable challenges I know to my innermost self that no matter where the path goes from here, I’ve already won. What’s even more exciting is that I know there is so much more ahead. My father always said that the day we stop learning and growing is the day we move on. He didn’t say it *quite* like that. Sadly I cannot remember his words, just as I struggle to remember the sound of his voice (something that saddens me).
I think back to my dad’s last days, more precisely to the last time I saw him alive. It was February 21, 2000. I recall very clearly the look in his eyes and the energy he exuded – rather the distinct sense that his energy had begun to withdraw and move somewhere else. Granted he was in the last stages of his wrestling match with the demon of cancer, so the nature of his energy was less peaceful than it was resigned; but what I recall most clearly was a sense of his being done.
It was as though his path of growth and change, which had been replaced for many months by a focus on jousting with disease, was complete. He’d tired of that struggle and knew he was finished.
I wonder, sometimes, what his path might have been had the illness not consumed his last days. When struck by illness – especially something terminal that marks the end of life – that becomes such a focus that it reminds me of the importance of remaining teachable and engaged with growth every day that I am able.
And so into the breach … seizing each day as if it were the last and yet looking forward to see just how much higher I might stretch to place that next step onto which I shall clamber.