Tag Archives: mistakes

Just Being Me

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I was feeling disappointed
for not handling a difficult situation
with more grace and skill…
Then a friend reminded me
This is a tough situation,
you’re not supposed to be graceful.
It’s messy…And that’s okay!
I exhaled,
thankful for friends who remind me
that it’s okay to be human.
It’s okay to show up as myself.
It’s okay to make mistakes,
and even better to learn from them.
I breathe again,
renewing my commitment to relax
into this process
of just being me.

In Praise of Mistakes

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Our mistakes
are our greatest teachers–
so why are we so afraid of making them?
I praise the teacher
who can encourage the making of mistakes,
who can applaud the one who risks and falls,
and who is there to help the pupil to rise,
offering listening ears and open eyes
as reflections are made
on the lessons learned.
This world doesn’t need any more noise.
It needs no more opinions
or advice…
But the expansive space of listening,
the receptive tender heart
that opens even more–
yes this holds the potential
to help and to heal
the hidden wounds that we incurred
when the lines were blurred
and we were told
we needed to be perfect.
And the outstretched hand,
the strength of helping another up,
silently holding what needs to be held,
yes, there is mystery and magic here
as we give ourselves the space
to see the story we absorbed
and embodied
the story we believed was true–
perfection was the aim, the goal.
But let us tell this story no more.
It is time for another story here–
the story of glorious mistakes
and bravely looking foolish,
of risking the pain of vulnerability
to awaken the great
inexhaustible fount of creativity
that one day will save us all.

I Fixed It

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This is how I know
that I have progressed
on this path of
unconditional
self-love:

I made a mistake.
And instead of
feeling ashamed,
irritated,
frustrated,
disappointed,
annoyed,
impatient–
(I could keep going
but you get the picture)
this is what happened:

I took a deep breath,
and I fixed it.

Move On

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So you’ve made a mistake…
don’t beat yourself up about it!
There is a way of learning
from your own choices
and moving forward with your
newfound knowledge
that supports your growth
and gives you the courage
to discover greater expressions
of yourself.
Self-deprecation
takes energy
that could be dedicated
to sharing your joy, your peace.
Deep breaths,
acknowledge the mistake,
do what you can to rectify it,
and move on.

Permission to Make Mistakes

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I thought I could do it.
I sat there, and tried to sew that zipper
into a skirt I’m making.
But it didn’t work,
and I was tired,
and I had to rip all the seams out.
I felt myself growing frustrated.
It was late.
I knew it was time to stop.

The part of me that likes
to criticize and to belittle
any creative endeavors I attempt
was having a grand old time
saying, “I told you so,”
as I put the project away
for tomorrow.

But there’s another part of me.
And this part said,
“Go on and rest. You can finish this tomorrow.”
And it reassured me.
It said, “You are learning! Your mistakes are your teachers.”

I like listening to this part.
I can relax, and enjoy the process
instead of becoming fixated on the result
and dissatisfied when it doesn’t arrive quickly.

You have permission
to not be perfect.
You have permission
to take your time.
You have permission 
to make mistakes.
And this life will give you ample opportunities
to try, try again.

So capitalize on this chance to learn
and spend your whole life learning,
and you will find that life is never dull.
Every time you fall
Your wings grow stronger.

One day you will fly…

Tote #4

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Reversible tote. On the left you see the exterior, on the right, the lining.

Reversible tote. On the left you see the exterior, on the right, the lining.

Yay! I finished my son’s tote tonight in record time. I’m getting really good at these things, and having so much fun making them. I might mention that I was plunging ahead at warp speed, trying to get it all done before dinner, proud of myself that I was remembering each step and being efficient–but then I realized I had forgotten the pocket, and had to stitch it in with more difficulty than if I had gotten the steps in the right order. Then, on the last step, I realized I hadn’t top-stitched the handles, so again, did this with more difficulty, because they were already attached to the bag.

Oh well. I named my other totes, so I’ll dub this one my “Think Before You Leap” tote. My son is not yet two and won’t care that the pocket isn’t perfectly symmetrical. It bothers me less than it would’ve one year ago. One year ago I was terrified to make sewing mistakes. Today, I’m allowing myself to learn from them and move on. Progress!

After the kids were settled in bed this evening, I was sewing away, making the final push to get the tote done, and I was struck at how calm, relaxed, and happy I was feeling. It’s so gosh darned fun to sit at the sewing machine with a project that I’m excited to work on, a project that is helping me to learn and progress with new skills. And then I had this thought that everybody should do something creative every day, something that is a unique expression of themselves. Whether it’s a few words in a journal, or strumming a guitar, or arranging some flowers, knitting a few rows of a scarf, doodling with crayons, whittling something out of wood–if everyone could tap into their creativity on a daily basis, what a wonderful world it would be.

I’m way into the idea of leading by example. After spending a good deal of my life being hardheaded and taking forever to realize that people really don’t want to be told what to do, it has finally sunk in that “being the change” I wish to see in the world is far more effective than anything else to effect positive change in the world around me.

So beginning with myself, tapping into my creativity every day, enjoying the creative process, living an inspired life, maybe the people around me will feel motivated to tap into their creativity. I really hope so, because what a gift it is to find things (even small things!) that bring us joy and then to do them. 

Time to meditate. To breathe, settle into stillness, and remember who I am beyond my body and my mind. Time to become absorbed in the unity of all there is, the inner space, the true self, the infinite ocean of consciousness. Time to bring my mind to focus, so that I may experience the presence beyond the thoughts. Time to try to stay awake for thirty minutes.

Oh beautiful beautiful life, thank you.

Tote

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Not quite finished, but still looking good!

Not quite finished, but still looking good!

I bought a sewing machine for myself one year ago this month. I was intimidated by it at first; it took me some time to take the thing out of the box and start playing around with it.  The perfectionist in me is always really afraid I’ll make some kind of horrendous, irreparable mistake, and then the whole world will fall apart. It speaks to me with this whining voice of fear and says, “You better not, you might mess up!” But I was determined to learn how to sew, intrigued by all the beautiful crafts I’ve seen people make with their machines, so I ignored the perfectionist’s fearful admonishments, opened the user manual, and got down to teaching myself the basics.

Little by little, I managed to get the machine to wind some bobbin thread. I learned how to thread the machine, change stitches according to different needs, replace the needle, how to backstitch, turn corners, change the presser foot, troubleshoot, and many more little techniques I never knew went into sewing.  One year later, I’ve made a couple of quilts, 3 fleece blankets, 70 flaxseed and lavender eye pillows (many of them with names embroidered on them), and three pairs of pajama pants. I even put pockets in the pair of pants I made for my husband, after he tried them on and told me he needed a pocket for his chapstick…

The perfectionist dovetails nicely with the inner critic, whom I discuss in this post, and who as you know likes to tell me repeatedly, and in no uncertain terms, “Don’t even bother.” If I listened to those two, I would never attempt anything creative. Luckily, sometimes I manage to listen to the kid in me who wants to play again, who wants to dabble in this or that, to spend time doing things with my hands, making things. I’m so glad I listen to the voice that wants to make things, because making things is fun.

These days I’m working on tote bags. The picture above shows the third one, and it’s about halfway done.  This one is for my daughter. She saw the rainbow fabric at the store sometime last summer, and I couldn’t resist getting her some, because rainbows. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but you don’t need to have an idea of what you’re going to make in order to get pretty fabric, you just need to be able to appreciate the beauty of it, its colors, the texture, that’s enough.

I’ve really been enjoying making these reversible totes, and I’ve learned a lot in the process. The first tote I’ve nicknamed my “measure twice, cut once” tote, because I screwed up on my measurements and had to dig out additional fabric to make the thing work. The second tote should be called my “patience is a virtue” tote, because dang did I ever have to get out the seam ripper multiple times because I hurried through the pocket stage and sewed them in wrong. I just wanted to get the thing done, got distracted, and paid for it by having to backtrack.

Wouldn’t you know every time I make a mistake–even a teeny tiny, little, itty bitty mistake–the perfectionist whines, and the critic lets loose with a cry of victory. This noise can be really distracting when I’m trying to get beyond the frustration I’m feeling and just fix the freakin’ mistake already. I honestly think one of the reasons I began sewing in the first place is so that I could see how making mistakes is not such a big deal after all. Somewhere deep down, I’m terribly afraid that the world will realize that I’m not perfect. It took me a while to get to that point, and it might take a while to train myself to be comfortable with the inevitable imperfection. It might be quite a long journey before I can embrace the humanness in me–the messy, up and down, success and failure, fun and not fun humanness in me.  But I know there’s hope. Even in the face of my worst mistakes, when it looks like the perfectionist and critic might win and send me back into a black hole of no creativity, all out shut-down, giving up, hopeless, lonely place, something inevitably calls me back and whispers, “You can try again.”

I’m so glad I have yoga. So glad I’ve been exploring the idea of transcending duality. It sheds some light on this process of reclaiming my creative self. I get to observe my thoughts jumping all over the place, and remember that the witness self within is unchanging in the midst of this infinitely changing universe. I can feel the anger and irritation arising, and realize that I have a choice, that I don’t have to be the victim of my own reactivity. I don’t have to remain in the prison of my conditioned thinking. I can create something different, now, today. I can witness the sunset, and appreciate it, knowing that its beauty is temporary, but the self who knows how to appreciate is limitless.

So maybe I’ll call this third tote my “self-realization” tote.