What is the measure of success?
Good morning group,
I'm sorry I have not been blogging this week. To be honest, I have felt like sort of a boring person. No one wants to hear a detailed tale of my adventures in couch surfing. Sometimes I just don't have anything to say.
In general it has been a good week. I started a super secret and super fun music project. I cannot say much more about it right now. All I can say is that I could not stop smiling and laughing when I was working on it. I have a feeling I hit on something here. More will be revealed.
I also played the open mic at Genghis Cohen again on Monday. It was nice to be home. I sang two brand new songs. Both were very well received! You know you have a good song when a room of songwriters are freaking out about it. The host and my friend, Billy Kent, said "Where did you get that hook?" As if I stole it from the Gods or something. haha. My ego felt good that night.
In general I have been thinking a lot about the measure of success. What is it? I so often think that it is when you are recognized for some grand accomplishment, when you have the prizes, the luxury, the family, the kids, the fairytale, perfect health, etc. This is a lot to ask for. If everyone in the world had this - this world would be an insanely weird and probably ugly place. It would be way overcrowded, there would not be enough to go around and All the humans on the planet would be waiting for the accolades from the other humans. No one would be satisfied. That is the nature of material success. There is never enough.
When I fantasize about success in the music business/entertainment - I envision a lot of unrest actually. You always have to be topping yourself. You could always be more famous. You could always sing better. You could always have more money. You could always sell more CDs. Etc. When do you actually feel like a success? I mean internally? When are you satisfied? Ever???
And what about the people in this world who have no material possessions? The ones who never asked for much of this world and never got much. The ones who just recently lost everything. Absolutely everything. Would we say that they are not successful? Would we say that those people in the world who are not rich and famous are failures? NO. We wouldn't would we? Who would ever say that.
So what does success mean? What does it mean to you? What does it mean to me?
To be honest, I don't know if I will ever feel successful if I don't have the husband, the kids, the career, the house. I worship those accomplishments. I get off on acclaim. I love it. I love attention and I love looking good on paper. My EGO lives for it. My ego wants a lot of things in order to be successful. My ego wants more more more. Never enough. This is a big part of my personality and probably why I have had issues with substance abuse, to be honest.
But I also have come from a very blessed background. I have never gone hungry, never wanted for anything. Infinite possibilities have been handed to me from the time I was very young. So it is obvious that I learned that this was what was important. Stuff. All A's. Applause. I never just needed enough to get by - so what I learned to need was MORE.
Currently, I live in a very materialistic town. Los Angeles and Hollywood worships fame and fortune. We admire the beautiful, the talented, the visionary, and the chronically materialistic and self-righteous. It's a weird place. Amidst all this STUFF - is a current of spirituality. A group of people who are looking for something a little different. People who worship the cake rather than the icing.
I'm interested in these people - in this way of life. There are millions of people around the world who define success differently. Success is living a humble, simple, generous, and loving existence. Success is serving God to the best of your ability - living for others. I look at the monks in the orange robes at The Self Realization Fellowship where I attend on Sunday. They look like the most successful people I've ever seen. They do not have fame or families or homes or stuff. They have an internal radiance - inner peace and JOY. Such Joy! These men know Love. In a real way. They are not attached to the material world in an unhealthy way. They find their strength and their satisfaction from within - in quiet servitude to their God.
They seem to be happy. And not in a shallow way. Not in a "I just blew out my birthday candles" way. They are happy in a "I am in constant contact with infinite joy" way. It's hard to explain. I'm sure they have bad days. I'm sure they have self doubt. But I feel like they have put all their eggs into one basket and it happened to be the well of infinite joy. You know what I mean?
What basket are we putting our eggs into? What are we hedging our bets on? I'm guessing that if I bet my inner peace and happiness on the event that I become rich and famous - I am going to be a miserable person whether or not it actually happens. Maybe if I put my bets on God - on the will and plan of the divine. Maybe if I spend as much time meditating and serving others than I do fantasizing and caring for myself - I will reap the real rewards of success. The kind that comes from within. After all, we are all just workers among workers, people among people, musicians among other musicians, lovers among other lovers. We are not supposed to rise above the rest. We are supposed to care for those around us. We are supposed to go when called to help.
On our death beds, the measure of our success will be the quality of love we shared with the world. I'm pretty sure the source of perfect love is God. Having a loving relationship with our source teaches us how to love others. Then we can start a ripple effect of love in the world. Millions and millions of ripples of perfect love and service. That is how we change the world. And that is how rich or poor, unknown or famous, CEO or unemployed, single or married, comfortable or homeless - we all can live a successful life.
"Silver and Gold" - Kirk Franklin and The Family
A few success stories coming out of one of the largest natural disasters of the century.