Monday, December 15, 2008

Mundane Experinces and a Sermon on Failure...

New experiences at work this week:

1. Breaking out in hives from my beltline to my neck; from the edge of my sleeves around to my shoulder blades. Itching! This is something I have never experienced before. I don't have any allergies; rarely get sick. So when I took off my shirt last night (after itching all day, but being too busy to investigate), I found myself covered with hives. Turns out I was wearing a t-shirt of Jonis' and she had used a new detergent when she last washed it. Glad she didn't use it (Oxyclean) on my underwear!

And who says granola, good-for-the-earth detergent isn't hypoallergenic?

2. A dead battery in my car. This was a relief, as I thought it was something a bit more serious...

3. Snow at the Homestead! I didn't get to enjoy this, but Joni told me this morning that they were having a "Snow Day". Two inches of snow and the school was closed. I hear they are making snow men (a new experience for the girls).

Pretty mundane stuff. Yet isn't this the stuff that we should most treasure? The itches, small disasters and surprises of climate which should dazzle us?

I've come to a point in my life where I enjoy my mistakes and failures as much as I enjoy my successes. Enjoy failure? Is that something we should do?

I think so.

Don't we learn as much from our disappointments, rejections and failures as from anything we experience? So, if that is the case, why not actually enjoy the experience? The more we attach our ego to things, the less we are able to stand back and laugh at ourselves.

And in times of failure, what we really need is a good laugh! It ain't the end of the world to fail!

But some failures are really, really bad. True. If I fail at something as a Nurse, and my mistake causes a death...that is not something to be enjoyed. That experience isn't something I'm writing about. Those sorts of mistakes are truly awful.

I'm talking about the failures which humble us: Not getting the job interview; Not being selected for a job; Getting a rejection from a magazine; A snub from a friend; a divorce; some negative experience that we feel is unfair and certainly not deserved!

In short, not getting something we are really, really attached to.

It is the Disasters of Ego that I write about. The things that keep us humble. Human. Grounded.

The less Ego I have for my own accomplishments (or lack of), the more I can enjoy the accomplishments of friends and family.

And the reverse is also true--the more I truly understand the therapeutics of failure...the more compassion and wisdom I can share with those I work with.

Failure isn't the enemy; Ego is.

Failure can be my friend.


Katherine Darrow said...

I like to think of those moments you describe as "lessons" or maybe "experiments." Whether or not we learn the lesson determines success vs. failure.
If we do not learn the lesson, we often get a repeat.
Or, at least that's what I've found.

Allan Stellar said...

Could be.

But I have started to reject the notion of all negative events in a person's life as being "lessons". Seems to me this attitude brings on a notion of "blaming the victim". Some in the New Age Set (Louise Hay, Caroline Myss) would even go so far as to say a person brings negativity on themselves. We manifest it. Dangerous territory.

Some of us are just plain old unlucky. God is cruel to both the Just and the Unjust.

What you call "experience" may be a better term, as it doesn't ascribe blame to the victim as much.

Just a thought...thanks for the feedback...