Practicing Failure

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My Subconscious is Getting Me Down

One son describes his younger brother:  “He’s stopped playing music because he’s afraid to fail.”

I knew that. He never finishes a song. His frustrated band mate complains that his  amazing music never leaves the room.  It’s never good enough, never done and he won’t perform it. He trashes what seems irrelevant after a tussle and seems bored by the process. He drives me nuts: probably because he’s just like me.

I tell him that most art could be perceived as failure but we have to finish it out and we have to go on to the next thing.  I tell him it doesn’t matter if it’s crap. Everyone produces crap. It takes a lot of crap making to make something you like. Who am I kidding? It’s like my yoga dharma. It’s mostly directed at me.

Some of us perceived before grade school that life was overwhelming and that we might not measure up to the job. Our consciousness is a blank page as we enter the world. What do we know of the world’s rules or ourselves in that?  We first take in messages from a hypnotic state.  We unwittingly form a program.  Much of it is not by design but there it remains.

 Some of it has to be erased.

 I’m working on erasing mine. It’s not enough to write crap and toss it in the trash. There’s no courage in that. The failure comes from putting my name on it; to look judgment in the eye and say, who gives a shit.

 I’ve got to help my kid get past this and I don’t know quite how to do that myself. But I’m going to be an example, even if he doesn’t care or doesn’t see it.  I’m going to start writing again. I’m going to paint again too. I’m going to practice being alright with failure.

It’s liable to be a real dung heap.



Filed under new age enlightenment, social commentary, yoga, yoga and blogging, yoga wisdom

10 responses to “Practicing Failure

  1. come paint with me!!!

    • Leave it to my dear friend to have a ready solution. How odd that this was at the ready. In truth, I know that the surest way to avoid the boogey men detractor section of the subconscious is to hold consciousness. When you are in an active state of consciousness you hold the space for fearlessness but every time you lose the focus at all, the subconscious steps in. We can’t avoid it for great lengths of time. To hold consciousness longer and longer is a yogi’s feat that I haven’t worked at as hard as I might. I think it’s why Forrest loves video games. xoxox

  2. To give a shit, or not to give a shit – that is the question. One of ’em anyway.
    You can sub the subconsciousness only just so long. It will out! There’s all that nameless, wordless shit down there and it is pressurized. The pressure builds and it breaks through. The mind tries to put it into words but you can only get just so close with that. Sometimes out comes a poem or a painting, and sometimes for no reason you give the finger to the mailman. Failure?!! Hah!!! I laugh!!! Throw that shit over the side and get back to work.

    • Sound advice my friend. Perhaps my greatest challenge is consuming the volumes of mail and information crossing this screen everyday. The distractions seem relevant so I try to absorb them but I know I will retain only a small enough percent and just enough to dull my senses. To proceed I am going to have to suck it up and destroy 500 unread but glanced at offerings of information in my mailbox and begin again. I am doing that this weekend but I know I will have to read at least a third of them and then what? More will come. But there may be one thing that sparks my imagination, that gives me a serviceable thought. Can I afford to miss that?The more distracted I am, the more room the subconscious has to wreak havoc. To stay in a state of yoga and stay aware of the quick clippity clop of the world as it’s evolving every minute is the task at hand. So, I’m practicing the yoga despite failing at that. Some will say that in the doing there is no failure and they are right. But for me, when I leave state of yoga and find myself as lost as ever, I know I have failed to live right. And I’m a yoga teacher so that doesn’t seem acceptable. I’ll die trying to get it right.

  3. Well, even saints die thinking they should have done better. So, there’s that. Yeah, you might miss an idea in the email H, but that’s okay. You might miss a better idea in your own head that couldn’t get your attention because you were tied up with the email. This is the problem when the conscientious mind steps into an existential win/lose point of view – there can never be full satisfaction. It can’t be done because the possibilities are limitless. Ergo, one must fail. You know what would be some good yoga this weekend? Hit the delete button. Give your old man a kiss for nothin. Take a walk and buy yourself an ice cream. Smile at some little kids. Look up into that great big sky and see your own mind. Be good to yourself. Isn’t that what you tell your beautiful students? I know it is.

    • Yes, be good to yourself is what I tell them. It’s easy to give that to folks. And you gave it to me and I am taking it for now and I will forget. But tonight there is a party. There is often a party. And I am finishing an online tutorial and heading for the lake soon after. I will surely be eating the chocolate cookies I am baking for my friends. So there is all that. There is always that. I give myself huge leeway to do what I want but the resulting quality of life often suffers.

      Yesterday I watched the geese form a V on the lake. They merged into a single file turning onto the shore. Then they lined up at the shore, all facing the lake like sentinals. There were about 50 of them. I’d never seen anything like that. Don’t think I wasn’t rolling in glory. I was. I might have sat down to write or paint but instead I shut down. I’m working on that. That is what I’m working on. All is well. But to really believe that……………………………to feel that, to feel that everything is as it should be…. to not notice gravity..hmmmph

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