When people ask me about success, I struggle to give a straight answer upholding my “smart-ass” reputation. If I don’t profit financially in my small business venture of 5 years, but continue to gain lifelong friends (like really, REAL friends) and unforgettable experiences with a full heart and hopeful soul, is this success? Don’t bother trying to answer because I already feel successful every day; the secret is I actually choose to feel that way. Getting out of bed I decide that the day is full of possibility, freedom (samadhi). Then I choose to meditate, for at least 10 minutes minimum, each day, no matter what, discipline (tapas). I get to take a shower and brush my teeth, maybe even do some laundry, purity (saucha). I say “hola” or “buenos dias” to the people I see, kindness/community/connection (ahimsa/sangha/yoga). The list of daily successes goes on and on like this.
In case you couldn’t guess where this is going, I’ve gotten here by simply practicing yoga. The more I learn by practicing yoga (mostly lifestyle philosophy, physical exercise + meditation techniques), the more it feels impossible to give up on the things that make me feel alive. Not the things that will make me feel alive tomorrow, or used to make me feel it yesterday, but the things that continue to make me feel alive each day deep within my being. The problem is, our deepest being (soul/atman) prefers to hide in protection from the crazier, angrier, more unpredictable forces in life. Yoga is the simple union of this internal existence with the inescapable external existence. A little protection is necessary at times, but we must return to the heartbeat, the inhale and the exhale to understand the simplicity that life brings (ujjayi/triumph/success).
I’ve also been blessed with some tough shit in my life. For instance, I like to say I was a child of “many divorces”; my parents, my grandparents, some of them twice, an aunt, an uncle, a cousin… I was the kid in high school (and college) without a cell phone + without a car because I worked 2 jobs and still couldn’t afford one. I still wish I had dropped out of college. But this is all just part of a (pretty boring) story that has gotten me here today, listening to reggae and eating homemade curry on a Friday afternoon in the Dominican Republic. Success feels super real right now regardless of what the bank accounts have to say. My dad (not so) famously once told me, “Feelings aren’t facts.” He’s an engineer and a conservative, whatever that means, I love him beyond the stars and we actually have a lot in common despite the fact that I totally disagree with his statement.
Here’s the end of the story; I genuinely believe that my dad and I both see the world full of beauty, light and potential for success each day from totally different perspectives. I also believe that we take it a personal choice and that we are both really good, successful, happy people. SO I just looked up “success” on the internet; 1. the accomplishment of an aim or purpose OR 2. (ARCHAIC) the good or bad outcome of an undertaking. The next time someone asks you about success, take peace in knowing that you are successful in all the things that you do, just doing them is what’s important. If you’re looking for some guidance on the how-to, maybe check out a yoga class or open a copy of the yoga sutras, or sign up for a yoga teacher training! I truly believe the archaic knowledge of yoga comes from the simplicity of the first human soul. At a cellular and scientific level, this shit works, and I’m not giving it up. I love yoga and I love you.