There is a quote out there attributed to Woody Allen. 99% of success, he is believed to have said, is just showing up.

I agree, but I think I have a different take on it.

It’s January. We’re supposed to be starting anew, right? Except it’s the dead of winter (in the northern hemisphere). And winter is for incubating and hibernating and building reserves, even in perpetually sunny, drought-ridden California. It’s not meant for new beginnings, traditions aside.

By the end of January, the sun has moved from Capricorn into Aquarius. Capricorn starts and initiates, but Aquarius sustains. It’s a fixed sign, so it builds. It commits to an idea ( it’s an air sign) and sees it through.

Commitment requires presence, even when we’d rather be somewhere else. Even when we’re exhausted.

So what can we do in the deep of winter, when the trees are bare and nights long? We can show up, no matter our circumstances, to the lives we are living, to continue to grow and evolve, soaking in the beauty that surrounds us. We can revel in what’s incubating.

The most important part of showing up, after all, is being present, fully present with ourselves and others. Because truly, how many of us are sleepwalking, running ragged and exhausted circles in our head, disconnected from the world around us?

I mean, what does it matter if we’re there, if we’re not really there?

Here’s the dirty little secret: success – and the manifestation of our wishes – is far more available to us in the present than in some future fantasy. Because the truth is that everything begins with the lens through which we perceive it. The deepest commitment we can make to ourselves is to be awake.

I’ve been miserable, stressed, and disconnected on luxury beach vacations and I’ve felt pure bliss and expansion in a motel in the middle of a Podunk town. The sole difference was the internal state I was in. Because on any given day, believe me, I’d likely declare I’d rather be standing on a white sand beach, watching the sun set vibrant shades of lavender and tangerine than be pretty much anywhere else.

When we are open to what is, when we re-ground in our commitments to ourselves, magic happens. Possibilities arise. We encounter people and circumstances with fresh eyes, seeing things in a whole new light. We begin to fill up from the inside out.

And isn’t that what success is all about, really? Fulfillment? Isn’t that what we’re after? And doesn’t that come, first and foremost, from commitment to self, to anchoring in our awareness, in growing and expanding? Everything else, it seems to me, is just gravy.

Artwork by Michelle Favin of Whys LA for Poppy & Seed.  Connect with her @whyslosangeles.

Danielle is available for one-on-one spiritual advising and astrological counseling. To learn more visit her website at or email her at

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