Success NOW

New England dawnFunny, how conflicted a person can feel about success.

And there’s the rub. What IS success, and what is not?

That is what I’m thinking at 5:30 a.m. as I take in a deep breath, smell the essence of my tropical green tea, look outside my window and glory in the darkness and the early morning moon shining through my window.

This, this is my success.

Waking up at 5.

Stretching and pulling and moving my muscles, yoga style, in bed before encouraging the whole lot of them – the cold feet, the sleepy leg muscles, the torso, the heavy head, to rise up from bed and start a new day.

This is success, starting a new day, every day, with freshness and vigor.

But sometimes I, and a lot of us (let’s be frank, it’s human nature), lie in bed in the middle of the night and wonder “why?“.

Why strain and strive for another day, for another “success,” whether it be writing, or banking, running a business or stamp collecting, gardening or wine collecting.

Don’t we all stop once in a while and ask, “what the hell does it matter?”

That’s when we should stop and, well, just STOP, and ask ourselves, “what does matter?”New England woods

I sip my tea and watch the harsh blackness of the night begin to slowly, slowly become a softer dark, a black that silhouettes the New England woods. A black that mystifies and entices. These dark shadows soon will be illuminated by the sun’s rays. Objects that are dark now, will soon glow pink and peach and glory in the day.

Like me. That’s what matters. I just want to glory in each day, stretch my body and my mind to wakefulness of the light, and the dark. Wakefulness of the laughter that surrounds me, and the sadness. Wakefulness to the aroma of steaming tea and the soft strain of the classical music in the background.

Clock thanks to John Calabria.

Clock thanks to John Calabria.

That’s what makes my day.

Just staying in the moment, moment to moment. 

What’s your success?


104 thoughts on “Success NOW

  1. Pingback: Success NOW — roughwighting | By the Mighty Mumford

  2. Pam, the peace and calm of your post resonates with my own this morning. I love reading about your early start of the day, your musings in the dark in the dawn to come. December mornings are very special to me as I switch on the window lights, the star, their gentle light beaming across the dark, the sense of inner harmony, of anticipation of another day, of Christmas, holiday with the family. Your clock will stay with me today. Now every o’clock! 😀❤️

  3. Success means such different things at various points in our life.
    I can point with pride at various achievements in my life and call it success, yet lately as I continue to deal with a broken collarbone, success has been very simple things like tying my own shoelaces.
    I have struggled with this injury since June, and it’s been a daily lesson in here-and-now and appreciating this remarkable piece of organic machinery I was gifted at birth.

    • “Organic machinery” – what a great phrase for a collarbone, or an elbow or knee joint. I send you more healing vibes – and yes, when our body breaks down in some way, we know our biggest success is restoring physical wholeness, while retaining our inner peace.

  4. For me, success takes many forms, and it often involves many of the things you mention in your post ~ writing, reading, wine, and travel. The reality of the situation, however, is that these things are not the successes. They are just the vehicles that allow us to travel to the destination. It’s really funny that you bring this topic to light this week as I begin getting feedback from beta readers on my manuscript, “Second Chance”. The theme of that novel is – success is less about what you overcome or achieve, and more about who you share the experience with. So, there you go – there’s my definition of success – enjoying the journey and sharing it with close friends and loved ones 🙂

    Thanks for sharing, Pamela, and best wishes for many more successes in your immediate future!

    • Well, I can’t wait for Second Chance to have a chance in the whole wide world – I’ll buy a copy, for sure! Good luck with the Beta readers – I imagine you’ll share on your blog what feedback you receive. Your theme resonates with me, obviously. ❤

  5. It’s funny when we look back to our younger years and remember what we thought it meant to be successful, isn’t it? As I got older and experienced health issues, a successful day was getting out of bed without pain. Now that I’m able to manage my disease, my focus is off of myself and on to others, for me, that’s success. Great post, Pam! xo

    • Yes, I think ‘success’ shifts with what’s going on with our bodies/ourselves (to pen the title of a rather famous book). 🙂 I’m so glad your health is managed now, Jill, so you can focus on your WRITING as well as on others. xo

  6. If we aren’t making the most of every day, we’re wishing our life away. As I get older, I wish for my younger body and wonder how I got this far with my younger, naive brains. But I’ll make the best of what I have and be thankful for both then and now. I think the clock idea would make a good reminder poster. Life is short and we should live it every moment.

  7. Great post! In light of the year that I have had, I define success differently now versus my younger day! Funny that I woke up this morning thinking about what it was like to wake up each morning 6 months ago. Where each morning I would say, “please just take me home”, I now say, “thank you Lord for another day! Surviving Cancer is definitely the biggest success of my life!

    Thank you Pam, for a great post and have a great weekend.


    • Surviving Cancer is such an amazing success – and the way you have shared your struggles/joys/pain/success has inspired so many of us, Sharon. That’s another success – helping others by sharing what you have gone through. We all thank you as we celebrate your recovery!!!!

  8. In a world when so many of us are pushed to succeed towards a goal of money, fame and fortune, which IMO is not success, our truth gets lost. My success is enjoying each day, embracing the Love around me, servicing those who are in need, laughing and talking with my mother on the phone each morning, doing my best in all I do, all in an effort to bring Love, Joy, and Peace to all who cross my path. Yes I have “dreams” yet those are not for NOW. NOW I follow my Heart as I dip in those patches of Silence to soak of the balm of spirit in order to continue ministering to those I do. This is such a beautiful post, written by such a beautiful soul. Much Love to you Pam, Amy ❤

  9. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your morning ablutions: You are spot on in creating mood.

    I remember getting up around 5:30 when I taught at the college; every term I requested an 8:00 class. Crazy – yes – but like you I’m a morning person. Now I lay-a-bed until about 6:00.

    My success used to be defined in excelling as a teacher. Though there were intrinsic rewards, I amassed a bunch of framed awards too. When we moved, I pulled out the piece of paper on many and recycled the frames, some very expensive. They simply had no meaning any more.

    Now I define success by how well my purpose in life matches my daily activities. Passing on a legacy by writing memoir and finding ways to be kind in this turbulent world are near the top of my list of defining success.

    I enjoyed how you developed the topic and your readers’ comments. Brava!

    • I re-read your comments on success over and over, Marian. Isn’t it interesting that the awards which highlighted our successes when we were younger, and so involved in a career, mean little compared to our successes now. Being kind to others, getting up early in the morning to watch the day unfold, spreading some love to those around us. Those are successes that perhaps are harder, compared to tasks from our earlier careers, but so much more important.

  10. There is a sweet spot in my morning. It’s after I go to the gym and pick up my coffee. I sit at my computer and create or read or blog or comment. It’s my peaceful time. Nothing else matters. It’s the same no matter what the weather. At the end, I’m ready to get things done!

  11. I stay more in the moment now than in my younger days, but then these days, my mind wanders….
    😀 😀 😀
    A thought-provoking post, Pam. It wasn’t till a few months ago, I found I had to stretch this way and that before I dare attempt getting out of bed. Ouch.

  12. Success has taken many forms during my life. Initially, it was as simple as remaining in control and upright while riding a bike at the age of 6 or 7, or passing my driving test and getting my license while in high school. Then it was measured by surviving the jungles of SE Asia, or chasing the American dream by getting back to marry the light of my life, creating a family together and rising to the top of my field. But as I get older, I realized that success can be measured by the circle of friends that you’ve surrounded yourself with over the years who have become, as the light of my life so aptly put it, a “constant comfort” to rely on in times of good and bad. Now, success is simply being able to look across the bed each morning and saying “good morning” to her as we begin our second half-century together.

  13. My goal for “success in life” is simple ~> enjoy the journey as the path unfolds. If I’m enjoying the journey, I win. No matter what.

    “A good traveler has no set plans and is not intent on arriving.” ~ Lao Tzu

    “Do not delay; the golden moments fly!” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  14. Beautifully written, Pam. There is a sense of peace in this post.
    I am also a morning person–usually up around 5:15–but I love the smell of coffee in the morning. I love the early mornings, but lately I’ve been so busy trying to get work done.
    I think I need to take your advice and enjoy the journey more. 🙂

  15. Nice, Pam. I like the clock with all the “Now’s” on it. I equate success with happiness, but I know that’s rather broad. I think balance is also part of it. Gratitude, noticing the small joys and gifts. And certainly much of that requires being in the Now. I love your morning moments to stretch and watch the day wake. Lovely ❤

  16. This really re calibrated the word success for me! It’s not a word I feel very comfortable with, because I’m aware that there are many traditional milestones of mainstream success that I have not yet, and likely will not, ‘achieve’ (career worthy of my degree, my own home, marriage, kids etc) because they hold little relevance for me. Success for me is a day in which I have served, been kind, been honest and gentle and cultivated warm connections and relationships with those around me. It’s about people. I don’t need to be rich, I want to be loved and loving. I don’t need to be famous, I want to be peaceful and wise. H xxx

    • I think it’s through comments like yours and others on this blog, spread throughout the world, that will help many recalibrate the idea of success, Harula. Hopefully more people will find success in what they feel (joy, peace) and give (kindness, love) to others, instead of what they accomplish materialistically. XO

    • Like you, Andrea, I dislike the middle of the night when those why questions crop into our awakened brains. I’ll go for the early-morning tea and a bit of peace and satisfaction when the light breaks the dawn anytime. 🌅

  17. Such a lovely post. Years ago, I used to get up at 5 a.m. and was at work by 6:30 where I had time to meditate, listen to taps as the AF base began it’s day, and contemplate. Can’t make that hour now. My inner clock has changed.

    • As long as we have time to reflect and meditate, Patricia, I don’t think it matters what time we wake up. Here’s to reflections anytime of the day. XO

      Oh! And your former time in the morning when you could listen to taps! That goes straight into the soul, doesn’t it. 😍

  18. I just found out that something I said to a fellow student in class the other day, made her day. She’s been exclaiming over my comment to the instructor (and the instructor told me). I’ve been beaming ever since. Nice comments matter.

    • I loved reading your comment here, Karen. That’s part of the joy of just being, moment to moment. Kindness to those around us. See what a difference it makes! Then again, your kindness to me over the blogging years we’ve known each other has never gone unnoticed. ❤️️

  19. What a lovely post! You’ve given me food for thought. Tonight when I’m up hours before dawn trying to go back to sleep, that’s what I intend to think about. I just love the idea that success is waking up to a new day every day and living each moment as it was intended to be lived. Thank you. ❤

    • Ah, I see you share my middle of the night insomnia, Amy. Many times at 3 AM I can’t wait for 5 AM to arrive so I can begin the quiet dark part of my morning. But yes, I breathe myself back into sleep, meditating on the success of getting to bed, and then getting up in the morning. 🙃

  20. This is so beautiful, Pam 🙂 I wish I could see what you see in the morning! It sounds breathtaking 🙂 I totally agree that being alive and appreciating each moment IS “success.” There are so many worthy reasons “why” we’re here, but I think probably the most worthy is how each life touches another and trying to be a positive “touch” to others.

  21. Chip Conley (Leadership Author) said “success comes from what you count”. I LOVE what you count, Pam! Thanks for a very inspirational post!

    • Well I love Chip Conley’s quote! thanks so much for sharing it! I’m counting all the people here who think of success as who they are, inside, not what they do in their careers. I’m counting this wonderful. 😀

  22. I have been reading your lovely post and the comments several times. There is so much wisdom in them. Success to me is living in the moment and being thankful for the beauty and kindness around me. Finding the glory in every day, that’s really all that matters. Thank you Pam ❤️

  23. I love your idea of doing a few yoga stretches before getting out of bed in the morning! I’m going to try that. More importantly, I like the reminder to live “in the now.” I have a tendency to spend far too much time looking back and looking forward, rather than simply being present.

  24. I agree. We do need to stay in the moment, though sometimes it is a challenge to do so, to not have our minds rushing off to other places we should be, or other things we should be doing. This moment is all we’ve got, and we need to appreciate it for the gift it is.

  25. The best we can do is accept our past, work with our present and share love with those around us, Pamela. ❤
    I am sure my list shifted several times for what I used to consider "my success." I hope I still am around and kicking in 30 years, which means I have another third of a lifetime to go. . . It makes me sigh with relief! 🙂

  26. A lovely post and meaningful this time of the year. Not everyone can say they have enjoyed success, especially the poor and the downtrodden. We here, that read and comment on your blog have most likely considered ourselves successful- in one way or another.

    For me success is being a nice person. Helpful, kind and generous with time to really enjoy life despite many heartaches and setbacks. Money is not what matters, it is about what I have contributed to the world. That is success.

    • I think there are a lot more people who have no money who are much more “successful” than those who have lots. I suppose that’s easy for us to say, when we’re so fortunate to have heat in our furnaces and food on our table. Success is sharing with others too – the world needs a lot more of that kind of success, for sure.

  27. It matters that I get to raise my children until they are school age, at home. To balance myself as much as I can and think conscientiously as often as I can. To remember every day is a small step to the next, so don’t try to leap forward. Definitely don’t think too far ahead.

  28. It sounds like our definitions of success are very similar. Perhaps just saying it another way: to know that this precious ticking now-moment is enough, is OK, is divine even amidst sadness and despair and loss and the gnashing of teeth. The other morning a success that made my heart smile between shining lungs was a phone conversation with a blogging friend. (I am not crossing out that reference to shining lungs because this friend advised not to cross out words. I am thinking of sea-to-shining-sea and how wide and possible everything is in this radiant moment of the now which is always, always, always changing!) xoxoxo

  29. I’m still trying to figure out what success is and by whose standard I am using.. Going to school and finishing my degree feels like success. I think I will feel much better when I have my (first) degree diploma in my hand this coming May but not as good as I will feel when I have my second one. That is just a few semesters away. Time will go by one way or the other. I will be 55 with or without my bachelor’s degree. So I think I would like to be that age WITH it
    I am working hard for me (this time) but I admit I always used other’s opinion of myself to determine what success was. Hopefully, I am better at that now! 🙂

  30. I love this simple appreciation of the present moment. After all, it is ALL we have. The past is the past, the future has not happened and there is only the present moment.

    I think success is a feeling of living life to the full….taking opportunities as they come and making the most of them. And yes I like your definition that success is about “starting each new day with success and vigor.”


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