This evening, at a meeting, an older guy shared an experience he'd had earlier in the day. Reading the newspaper (which, as he said, is how you know he's old), he was doing one of the word puzzles – the type where it provides the first few words of a phrase, leaving you to solve for the remaining blank spaces. "There is no elevator to success," the solution began, "you've got to take the steps."
What continues to resonate with me now is that if "success," serenity, or well being are to be had on the top floor, whatever that might be, I recognize that I go looking for the elevator when I'm thinking only about my success, my serenity, or my well being. And for some unknown reason – when I make my life all about me, there's typically little of any of them to actually be had.
Taking the steps to success requires effort, and it's in such spaces where so much of life is to actually be experienced (even though I'm pretty good at convincing myself that what I really want is to never have to put any effort into anything...). That's where success, serenity, and well being begin to be redefined though, and are often done so with an increasing emphasis on the someone who isn't named Me. Not unlike how taking the steps goes a long way in achieving success, working the Twelve Steps is a fine way to challenge that me-voice and begin recognizing that it's only through putting the work in that we begin to understand what "success" even means. There's little gratitude to be found in the elevator.