If I knew I was successful, I would not have baked a cake

Woman with Arms in the Air

Gratitude and Grace

It’s been a few weeks since I posted a blog, and I really wanted to write today.  But as sometimes happens, “writer’s block” seems to have set in.  My ideas are sketchy, my thoughts are jumbled and malformed, and the prose will not flow.  I am noticing how easy it would be to stop, get up from my desk — and go bake a cake instead.  As I recall, that idea has a specific history.

During the months I spent studying for my cumulative final exams in graduate school, I  began to realize that when I would become frustrated, tired, bored, or otherwise distracted, I’d go to the kitchen.  I’d snack or get some juice, or even cook or bake a dish for later.  But one day I received the most clarity and the biggest lesson.  I was deeply focused on frosting a chocolate cake I’d just baked when I suddenly heard the thought: “Good, now I’m successful at something today.”

I froze, spatula in mid-air, still dripping the cool icing over the cake platter.  I saw that baking, frosting, and decorating that cake served as a reassuring reminder that even though I had “failed” in one pursuit, I could create another satisfying accomplishment.

I also realized that I’d connected my experience and self-identity of success with doing.  If I were successful in doing something (studying or baking the cake), I felt wonderful, worthy, like a good person.  Otherwise I did not.  And it was the pain of feeling like a failure as a person that had unconsciously propelled me to the kitchen, the place of my easiest and most familiar achievements.

As I recall that day, I remember now that “success” and “failure” are not simply results of action but results of perception.  I exist, therefore I am…a success.  I am successful in feeling air in my lungs.  I am successful in expressing gratitude for a new day.  I am successful in choosing to be a wonderful, worthy, good person.  I do not earn worth through doing; I am worthy because of being.

I invite you to celebrate your successes, “big” and “small”, and to recognize and demonstrate the value and importance of your contribution — not just in what you do, but always in who you are.  Congratulations!  You are a success, as am I.

I am open to hearing your thoughts.

Adele Cox, MA, CMT
Youniversoul Health & Wellness
2305 Ashby Avenue
Berkeley, CA  94705