Risk failing at something beautifully, wholly, and truthfully rather then never having attempted such feats at all.
That’s been my little mantra for the last few months.
Most of us expend so much energy scared to just TRY that we never even know the feeling of “accomplished failure”. And that feeling can be full of light and hope and freedom. I’d rather have a list of attempts than of “never tried’s”.
And I’ve also realized that perhaps, if we just stopped boxing in our “to do’s” and “wants”, and “hopes” with so many boundaries that we’d perceive success much more intuitively and that it would feel more authentic.
- Lose 20 lbs in 1 year
- Run a marathon by Spring
- Start own editing business
- Travel to all 50 states
- Get engaged by 2012
- Lost weight/get healthier/feel stronger/breathe deeper
- Start a business
- Allow for love
Voila! It wouldn’t matter on what timeframe we achieved those, the open-endedness of such lists allows for breathing room, allow for Life, allows for hibernation and periods of intense bursts of energy and will power.
Because of who I KNOW I am, my lists have been mostly open ended for the majority of my adult life:
- Graduate with a degree (took about 8 years)
- Transition to vegetarianism (took 6 years from first wish)
- Run a mile (besides the awful, forced miles in P.E. class, finally did on my own accord at age 25)
- Catch someone else’s baby (took 1 year from first wish)
- Quit my corporate job (took 2 years from first wish)
- Learn to snowboard (took 2 years from first wish)
- Marry Jason (took 6 years from first wish)
- Have kids (took 8 years from first wish – but only 6 months to “try”)
- Travel to Italy (took 6 years from first wish)
Recently, I decided that dang it, I was gonna attempt to practice yoga at some point each and every day. Just a nice, light stretching for my body and expansion of the mind.
So, on an afternoon when both of my girls are miraculously napping, I grab the heavy window curtains and slide them across the tension wires to reveal a spot of sunlight on my bedroom floor. I roll out my purple mat smack dab in the middle of the rectangular sun spot. Finding a comfy pair of paint-mottled yoga pants, I slip them up and over my child-bearing hips with a deep breath. Enjoying Pandora as my musical backdrop, I ease down onto the mat in a sitting pose with palms up.
I gaze easily at the scene outside my window: breaches of the palo verdes bouncing in the breeze, wild lavender bushes – never pruned – bowing. I am almost unsure whether the blueness above is sky or sea. I sense the brief season of Autumn is upon is. The sun toasts my skin.
With a deep inhale, I decide I owe it to myself to welcome and cultivate stillness of mind and body. I’m going to simply hope for some nice minutes of deep relaxation and if yoga poses come after that, then BONUS! Three breaths into it, I hear stirring in the room where the girls are napping.
Instead of rolling my eyes, I let my lips form a smile.
A non-emotive “Of course”, is all I allow myself to whisper.
My mind calms and messages about the magic of the universe being to swirl. I do not understand them nor attempt to. I allow my neck to fall and stretch, muscles being pulled like a rubber band.
My eyes remain closed as I hear Indigo traipse into the room. My breathing deepens.
I open my eyes to meet Indigo’s oceanic gaze as she sits on the mat and smiles.
My body casually drops into child’s pose and Indigo climbs on my back.
The door to the other bedroom squeaks open again and in moments Kaia joins us.
The energy is the room is raised notches above peaceful and thus my practice ends about five minutes after it began.
That, two months ago, was my last attempt. I’ve failed to incorporate the daily yoga practice and yet that one attempt left me feeling like I jumped in wholly and truthfully and failed in the most beautiful way.
It felt liberating to open the door and let a gaggle of expectations fly on out.
I believe that there will be so many other feats that I will delve into with success. Who knows, maybe today I’ll try again.
But if I must fail, I hope it feels as truly, deeply delicious as that afternoon.
What have you failed beautifully at?
What have you dangled your fingers or toes or heart in front of, but never immersed yourself in for fear of failure?
What do your wish-lists look like?