when I reflect – my journey of life can be mapped by my definition of success. As a little girl – success was being able to boast about having a better dad than anyone else. I mean – he HAD to be the best! I felt on top of the world every time he walked with me on his shoulders. What could be better?
Success moved to being placed ‘first’ in a flat race at school – Oh! The adrenalin, the determination, the euphoria of having all your friends cheer you on and the sense of accomplishment when you stand on the podium to receive your physical symbol to affirm your success – the Trophy!
And that feeling of being the centre of attention doesn’t fade easily. Now as a teenager being the most popular girl was the ultimate. The constant surrounding of people vying for your company. The scornful looks of girls – green with envy! And the boys! Those silly, beautiful creatures!
With popularity comes the need to be fashionable, and have ‘things’. Things are cool! Those Levi’s 501’s, Doc Maartens , One Stars, hairstyles, accessories, handbags………. And so it grows – success begins to look like my overflowing closet.
Which progresses naturally to the sex in the city – dressed for success, corporate highflier, with a tastefully decorated apartment in an upmarket part of the city, driving a car to suite and carrying a sexy man on her arm (and of course – the perfectly toned body in a pair of drop dead gorgeous Jimmy Choos). Success right?
Then you get it – and then you don’t! It equates to just an outward image and does nothing to appease your restless, ever-searching, inwardly lonely soul!
Your soul searches for connection with self – God – and others. Your soul wants a feeling of belonging,of oneness with all that’s around you. Your soul seeks peace, bountiful joy and True Freedom from all the above – entrapments of success. You want the real deal – ‘unconditional love for self and others’!
So you break – free, against all odds, risking everything, noting those raised eyebrows you see – convinced that you are having an early mid-life crisis. And then it surprises you ….. It feels beautiful and liberating! You exhale slowly…… That was close.
You wake up the next morning – and everything looks that much more colourful. You smilingly congratulate yourself for having the courage and now this ‘in the moment feeling’ – this state of heightened senses and consciousness – is the feeling you have been searching for. Finally.
Convinced that your days are all laid out in front of you, sure that you will not surrender this feeling after having searched so long, the journey of life takes you by surprise.
It creeps in, in the form of financial turmoil, tragedy, raising kids, difficult relationships – and once again you are out in the ocean, arms flaying, trying to grab onto anything to stay afloat.
The thing is – it’s not your ‘hero’ dad, nor your so-called friends, neither is it your status symbols, sadly not even your prada handbag that can restore your life. It’s not your job title nor your good-looking man that comes to your rescue.
You reach land after hours of spluttering, talking to yourself to swim forward, one arm after the other, kick! Asking God – doesn’t even matter which one – to help you, calling on your own will and refusing to allow yourself to think you won’t make it.
You drag yourself up to a sitting position, catch your breath and face that sea that almost beat you. Cold to the bone, shivering, exhausted, torn clothing – you laugh at loud. You realise that this is Success – hardly a pretty picture!
Dry and warm, safe on land your consciousness, unconditional love and gratitude is restored. But interestingly – it’s even more than before. The trees look even greener and the sky is a lighter, brighter, hue of blue! The colour of success – ever changing, deepening with every time you swim back to shore, after being knocked over by the waves of life.
It’s a journey – all you need to pack is yourself. It’s all in you!