How does one define success? And how much of that definition is thrust upon us or driven from the inside out?

I had lunch with a friend yesterday and he is going through it. He left a secure 9-5, Monday through Friday job to follow his dream and his passion. He talked about how he has to step back and re-evaluate where he’s taking his vision and the weight he carries was obvious to anyone. At one point in the conversation, I saw where the weight was coming from – he has friends that have job titles of “importance,” maybe a corner office, or some other perceived item of value. He has his dream job (working for himself) which does not compute but rather competes with that vision.

I asked him two questions: Who was he trying to make proud with his accomplishments? And when was he going to make himself proud? That sunk in with him and I felt it – he freely acknowledged he doesn’t want THAT life but that he wants to have the freedom to follow his heart.

Those are two profoundly different statements that ring true to me today. As a yogi, we’re taught that yoga is about being here, accepting this moment for what it is, and to carry no judgement. But in the world at large, life (and work) is all about the moment and the shiny objects we can buy because of the job. What if there’s something more? What if the people you judge yourself against are judging themselves too…against you?

It goes back to the very principle of being a bad yogi – we are each on our own path. So quite frankly, who the fuck cares? Yoga itself is not a competition sport, meaning “so what?” if your neighbor on the mat can push up into handstand. We practice and we breathe in order to better feel the current. A teacher/friend of mine has a phrase she uses “There is no gold star given when you achieve the splits.” And she’s right. We make steps toward a final pose shape, with full understanding that we may not accomplish the perceived ideal for that shape. Daily, we work in an office or we teach or we follow our hearts. We could all learn to breathe into our life respect for ourselves and learn to be proud of where we’ve been and where we’re going rather than comparing ourself to the neighbor that has it all. Because having it all may mean having nothing in a life filled with things.