Conventional Success & Inner Nature
Let me explain something.
I have had a good deal of conventional success.
But it has been seemingly accidental.
I have never been in service to conventional success. Never.
I have been in service to artistry. I have been in service to the raw and wild. I have been in service to the deeper thread — and to the nature within all that is.
I am terrible at pretending. What you see is what you get. I cannot pretend to be into something I am not.
I have never prostrated myself to the institutions of pride or prestige, because I have always known that deep down they are at odds with what I serve.
Yet I also know that deep down I have been let in because (consciously or not) they most want and need what I am serving.
I went to Harvard. Most of the people who graduated with me do not understand what I am doing. I ended up at Harvard quasi-accidentally. I did not work up to it. I flipped a coin the day before applications were due (which I now see is a form of divination) to nonchalantly decide whether or not to submit an application — thinking that there was no chance I’d be admitted anyway — and duplicated the application to my other ‘reach’ school, Yale. I got into both.
I say this extremely neutrally.
A lot of Ivy League people hide where they went to school — but false humility *is* ego. It’s easy for me to share because it’s neutral to me. Having gone to a renowned school doesn’t mean more to me, or about me, than being nourished by the natural treasures of Costa Rica during a sabbatical. The latter actually means tremendously more. My value system is positioned differently.
I have never had any interest in compromising myself.
Being in these institutions — and in most traditionally prestigious places — is actually extremely uncomfortable for me: a sacrifice, not the highlight of my life. I am more at home barefoot in an ecstatic dance or at a waterfall. There, I exhale and cry of relief. I feel like myself and that my inner world is reflected inside my outer world.
Being in conventionally successful settings are the times I most questioned my life path and why I was where I was.
I am a smart cookie. I have high mental capacity.
And I have no interest in using that mental capacity for its own sake.
I serve life force. I don’t like to depart completely from my body or engage in mental acrobatics for long periods of time. I can do it — it’s just not my jam.
But I will tell you a secret. I believe that the fundamental reason that Harvard invited me in and invested in me — and that my business has sustained me for six years, since my early twenties — is not because I fit the profile of success (although I do some of that too) — but *because* of my more unconventional artistry.
That something in them, conscious or not, knows that what I focus on having and cultivating is what they are missing.
I viscerally know something that few know — that you don’t need to compromise yourself for success. (And if you could, it wouldn’t be worth it anyway, so why bother.) Conventional success can more easily be achieved by uniquely being yourself. It’s not hard. It’s the most basic magic there is.
Inside of the laws of cause and effect of reality, your essence is a much more powerful manifestor than any external human standards. And if you are being yourself, any place is simply lucky to have you.
There are many times in my life where I have been called to settings that are uncomfortable to me.
Moving to the US from France as a child. Inhabiting a university setting for four years, being on their schedule, and committing to excelling in coursework. Some aspects of family, community, and social life. Living in New York City, or any urban setting. Being back in the US now.
And I’ve also avoided many places that are uncomfortable for me.
By being self-employed my entire adult life. By taking time off and completing university coursework in three years, studying abroad, learning bodywork, and focusing on classical piano while I was there. By focusing on various forms of art and body throughout my life, and having a nomadic lifestyle.
However: experiencing dissonance between my inner world and outer setting is sometimes a part of my path and purpose. Bridging seemingly opposite worlds (mind and body, conventional success and unique essence, money and magic, business and intuition, language and soma, spirit and Eros) is a part of my path and purpose.
I’m here. I’m here for it.
I will say something edgy about conventional success and prestigious settings.
I don’t need them — they need me.
My inner nature is more valuable to them, than they are to me.
This applies to you, too. Your awakened, erect inner nature is more valuable to those settings that you sacrifice yourself to inhabit — than they are to you.
And what a noble dharma to have.
Don’t let it get inverted.
To those places, I know now to say:
I am here because you need what I have.
I am not here because it is comfortable, or because it nourishes me.
I am nourished elsewhere, by the raw and the wild.
I am nourished by the sources that your pride puts down being as less than you — but that I treasure.
That includes the body. The Western world has a huge superiority complex over the body.
I fill up there, then return here where you need what I carry.
I love you. ❤️