I asked myself this question, “How do I define success?”
I once defined success by being able to pay all my obligations on time and have money left over. I also defined my success by being a contributing factor to my society, at least, locally. I did that, I lived it. For some reason, my heart felt empty. It was confusing. I was confused. I thought all I did, all my goals achieved, would bring about constant happiness.
I had to learn to see differently.
I changed. Although I had achieved many aspects of my defined success, I wasn’t peaceful.
I was about as happy as my biorhythms dictated. Happiness is unstable – it appears in fits and starts and highly contingent on circumstances. If happiness isn’t the goal, if I can’t count on happiness, what can I count on?
I had to begin to label what was, what is and what I wanted.
After many years of searching, I’ve discovered something I had no use for as a young woman… Peace. If someone had suggest I seek peacefulness when I was young, I would have been immediately bored. Happiness, now that was what I wanted. Happiness of being in love, of being loved, of adventure and happiness of a birthday, a holiday and new beginnings. Happiness of a great meal, of giving or receiving a gift, happiness of all the thing I thought brought about happiness.
After seeking and finding these things temporary, I had to find something more stable, more substantial, more capable of achieving daily. Just not on high holidays, not just from an outside object…
Years of seeking I’ve found a new idea of success…. Peacefulness. This feeling, this true and authentic feeling was much more allusive, at first. It took my searching for happiness to discover how vacillating happiness behaved.
Peacefulness, the feeling that all is well, that I still have possibilities in my life, the feeling of nothing and everything, of being in complete harmony with myself, of accepting myself.
The peace in my endeavors, of chopping wood and carrying water, of every task being a source of peace. I’m building a new idea of success. Every time I wash dishes with peace, every time I can create the same feeling doing laundry as I do making soap. When I can feel as accomplished doing nothing as doing a million things in one day. Every time I can be pleased with myself just being me. This is my success.
On a more pragmatic level, striving to do what I’d like each day, supporting others to do what pleases them and to offer encouragement when I can, and along the way, create something of use for someone else, in my case its soap, this is my new idea of success. This is success defined for me, today.