I had a recent epiphany with the meaning of the word success.
It seemed strange that I had not really understood its meaning and how it was defined and applied to my lot in life. The word in the past was applied to my current status and seemed to be "about" things I acquired rather than a change of perception, pathway or reaching a signpost thats signals I am headed in the right direction.
My partner's definition of success is the "overcoming of obstacles" .... while walking a path from one position to achieve the wisdom needed to continue the journey with experience in a way that strengthens your mind, body and soul.
What surprised me is he did not include material objects, money, fame, etc in his definition. My definition seemed to be a mixed bag of tricks that could be moved or taken from you at any moment based on current events in your life or the way your obituary was written.
When I glance backwards for a minute I see a lot of "successes" along my pathway and where I am currently residing in with his definition and sprinkle of achievements in mine. One of the dictionary's definition of success is "favorable outcome".
What confused me is at what point can my old definition be applied to my obituary of sorts. It came from others perception of me. I had no say in the matter and from someone in a moment of time to a sudden explosion of embolden emotions from others. Like a flash of truth from a camera light flung carelessly about a room.
I sometimes complain to my partner and to my work companions that we never celebrate the current success we have had or the "favorable outcomes" we had when the last big project was accomplished. An endless list of things to do and a tight rope of walking a fine line between success and failure.
I have had the biggest breakthroughs while working with acrylic paints when I push myself to the very edge of failure. The paint brush seemed to know when a stopping point of now was more effective than pushing for an easy definition or stroke of success.
I believe joy and success also resides there in that space between freedom in the present moment and the unknown expectation of what is there waiting in the next breath.
One of my favorite spiritual teachers Byron Katie, would define success, as any state or position you are currently residing in, even if you are just sitting there quietly in a chair breathing. She would be thrilled even how successful you were while doing just that without a story of the past, future or the agonizing task of tightly "holding" people accountable for their actions now or in the past.
While lying in my bed yesterday after my surgery, I looked up the definition of current and past ailments and afflictions as defined by Louise Hay, "...causes of illness however mild or severe is an indicator of your current emotional state, caused by your thoughts and focus."
Appendicitis causes: "Fear, fear of life, and blocking the flow of good".
Hernia causes: "Ruptured relationships. Strain, burdens, incorrect creative expression".
What I realized is while that is true for me, it also meant that I have been successful simultaneously with my new definition of success:
Success is the current moment of whatever is happening in my life without my story and your beliefs about it, or a label of judgement, guilt or blame placed upon top of it.
It is what it is.
And life cannot get better than that.