I love inspirational books. I am a total sucker for quotes of the day (see Day 58 if you don’t believe me), insights by Gandhi, and reflections from Emerson. I have been choked up from sayings uttered by anyone from Oprah to Simon Cowell (and as you all know, forget about TV commercials…hand over the Kleenex!). Okay, Simon might be a stretch, but you get my point. I love to be inspired. And words…INspire me.
A few words I read today were particularly inspiring, but in an unexpected way. Today, eloquently written in Matthew and Terces Engelhart’s book, Sacred Commerce, I gained profound insight, and Unexpected Health…in failure.
The Engelhart’s, owners and inspiration behind Cafe Gratitude (which is delicious and I highly recommend) talk about failure a lot in this business practice book (which I also HIGHLY recommend). They state that failure is essential; if we never failed, then we are playing the game of life too safe, which keeps us ‘stuck’ in our comfort zone, inhibited from transformation…and ultimately, expansion, and of course, health. But our society is taught that failure is a ‘bad’ thing; that if you fail at something (a relationship, a job, a risk), you are less whole. Not true…and realizing that EVERY experience we have is supportive of our growth and change is healthy.
Failure is deeply embedded in our life’s landscape at pivotal times. We can fail our driver’s test…bummer if you are 16. We can fail to get into a specific college; we can fail a college class; we can fail to get what we think is our ‘dream’ job, our ‘dream’ spouse, or our white-picket fenced house with 2.5 kids. As we age, we can develop failing health; a memory that fails us; and failure to have bladder control. The ‘failure’ list goes on and on throughout our life cycle. But what would happen if we thought of these moments of ‘failure’ as an opportunity for transformation? I wonder how different we would feel about ourselves if we knew that for every seemingly ‘failure,’ a greater transformation is taking place?
On Tuesday nights, I have been attending a forgiveness class. Each week, we talk about how forgiveness can shift our mindset…or not, if we choose not to forgive. I know for myself that I have held on to more guilt than I would like in areas where I feel like I have ‘failed.’ But as I begin to expand my understanding of failure–that it is necessary and oh yeah, NOT a bad thing, then I can take it easy on myself and others, and move forward. So the next time you call yourself a failure or a loser, remember that to fail at something simply means that you are playing a high-risk game of transformation…and the winner of that kind of game will always be you. -Until tomorrow, Jaime
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