The Passion of Success

11/22/2013 08:17 am ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014

I was walking down the streets of Athens, when suddenly I saw it, a round gold coin in the middle of the street.

"This must be luck," I thought at first, "and also a sign."

It was difficult to see much as it was raining hard, and yet I had seen the coin, or the coin had seen me. I was completely drenched through by the time I picked it up, but I did not care. Rain collected in my shoes as I just stood there on the pavement looking around, standing still, totally immersed in the moment and unaware of anything other than the sheer pleasure of being, the pleasure of seeing, of feeling rain soak through my skin, and of feeling the coin dip into my flesh as I held tightly onto it.

I opened my palm and looked down at the coin. Strange as it was, all I could see in my mind's eye were the beautiful Greek seas and gentle mountains, the faces of people looking out of whitewashed homes, peaceful and ready to open their hearts to strangers who came to visit. I was transported into a medley of sights and sounds, the strains of music and tastes flooded my senses. Inspired by the wonder I looked around me and became one with the city.

The Parthenon stretched up against the sky. There were people who felt happy and others sad, but the city swirled in motion and I recognized something that I had been missing, the surrender to fate... to the past and present and future all wrapped up in the destiny of humankind.

There are critical moments that are faced in a slumping economy but the people have seen worse. Arete Greek, word for virtue and courage has always been the motto of the Ancient World. I dwelt on the word, savoring its taste in my mouth, conjuring mental pictures that softened my heart. Perhaps it is only during critical moments that the true meaning of success can be recalled.

Is success really measured by a car, a house or job?

The rain began to slow until it stopped completely. I still stood immersed in memories of walking down Ermou street, chestnuts roasting on the side-walk, street vendors selling wares and the smell of Greek coffee, wafting over. People walking on through their journey in life, separate and yet together in one beating heart.

I emptied the rainwater out of my shoes and hurried down the street to a friend's house. Patty laughed when she saw me, and gave me a big towel to dry my hair, and a new set of clothes. Driven by passion in heart, together we walked up the steep hill to the Parthenon. I closed my eyes, traveling back in time to when the philosophers stood in the market place, discussing beauty and the differences between good and evil. I imagined the light of Goddess Athena and the Angel Niki sweeping across the land; I thought of Crete and the nine kilometer beach I had stood on just a few weeks back, enchanted with the beauty of the island and the warm sun on my face. I whispered softly.

"Success is what I become, when things are difficult. Success is standing tall and proud, connecting with each and every god and goddess within me and making every effort to come into balance, offering service to the world, and life as a process and not an event!"

I looked across the horizon and saw a rainbow covering Athens; I opened my clenched hand and allowed the sun to dance on the coin that had found me with a message from the heart.