It seems to be the grand desire carved into so many of us – that if you haven’t ‘arrived’ you haven’t then ‘fully existed’. People tend to be enraptured by those they believe have earned a social standing, have won some recognition and public status for their visible achievements. In whatever social tribe, a hierarchy exists. Some of us are more sensitive to these hierarchies than others.
After a discussion with some friends about ‘success’ and what it could mean, I felt somehow protected by my own lack of ambition. It has always been crystal clear, for so very long, that for me, the fantasy life was one without the chase for public gold stars. Perhaps it was a combination of ancient gendered tropes (that it wasn’t a woman’s business to be driven by status), and a childhood that was coloured by two polarising figures – a perpetually hungry capitalist, and the tender contentment of a spiritualist. It was a no-brainer – the better path in life was that which didn’t require an endless sense of dissatisfaction as one chased for public approval and recognition. Year by year, it becomes clearer that if we are looking for specific external markers to find some self-validation, then that would be signing up for a road to nowhere and quite often a vicious cycle of hollowness.
The highest points in life, for me, is to stay connected with my spiritual purpose of existence. To learn how to overcome my great variety of weaker instincts with even greater wisdom and compassion for myself and others, at each subsequent turn. To enrich the lives of others with my time and effort in easing their journey. To cultivate integrity, discipline and honour as part my life’s motto. And as I get older, to find different paths to elevate communities of people beyond my small circle of family and friends. If ‘society-approved-success’ is somehow weaved into the journey, it will only be a side effect of trying to embody the higher self within. And let’s be real. Our highest self, will always be a work in progress. The very moment we think we’ve arrived, is probably the beginning of our descent.