In worklandia, we often say ridiculous things like “How will we measure success on this project?” & then I stab myself in the eye with some scissors and the meeting is adjourned and that’s that. But sometimes, it’s a good question to ask. More than “what do I want to do with my life?” the question “what feels successful to me?” feels like something I can answer right here and now.
I recently re-read this post about seeing Diane DiPrima speak, and it reminded me that we have our answers. The doubting, treading water moments – there’s nothing there to learn from. Silence it & just listen.
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
– WB Yeats
When I let the concept of “success” kick around my noggin, what floats to the surface are thoughts like:
knowing without being told
expansive view of reality
being open to potential
released from boundaries
Success doesn’t have to be a series of things happening, it can be a state of being. Achievement = being grounded and checked in. It’s not about a bucket list or finally taking that trip to China. It’s about being the most tuned in version possible of the little fizzing chunk of matter that is Me.
People like to talk a lot about luck, and the traits that make people lucky. But if you’re awake and following your intuition, you’ll feel grounded, secure, and like you’re on the right path. Sometimes this means doors open without being pushed (“luck”) and sometimes you have to push (“work”). When I know I can trust my instinct, I will not steer myself in the wrong direction. I don’t need to spend so much time thinking about what I want to do, I just need to be present, and trust that I will pick up the correct threads.
I started reading this book, Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art – & there are so many little messages that have me saying “YES YES THAT IS IT” that I may need to actually type out the whole book here. A handful of favorites:
The Yoruba believe that before we are born we meet the High God and request the life we want. Although the too-greedy may find their requests denied, within limits we can choose our fate. Unfortunately, at the moment of birth the soul forgets all that has transpired; therefore, when men and women feel they’ve gotten off-track, when the way seems confused and knotted up, they go to the diviner in hopes of seeing once again the design of things as it is remembered in heaven.
Turning things over to chance, letting them fall as they may, means in this case “forgetting the hand,” which in turn means, first of all, getting away from the hand’s acquired and habitual gestures.
More conservative minds deprive coincidence of meaning by treating it as background noise or garbage, but the shape-shifting mind pesters the distinction between accident and essence and remakes this world out of whatever happens.