Failure or Fuel for Growth: Seeing The Forest Through The Trees

While I was walking at the park near where I live, I stopped to meditate on the scene in front of me.  The spot I was staring at still had a lot of trees that had fallen or broken during Hurricane Sandy.  Workers had cleared the paths but left large limbs and trunks just wherever they fell.  So nature would take care of them, in the places where you are not encouraged to walk.

I thought about these trees for a while.  Some of them had grown tall before the storm had taken them down.  Many had probably been quite majestic.  Yet for one reason or another, they could not withstand the wind, maybe their roots were too weak or another tree fell on top of them.  At first glance, it appears like such a tragedy…such waste.  The funny thing is though Nature never wastes anything.

fallen tree1

These fallen trees are still alive with potential.  They are now home to various wildlife, who will shelter in them, until they are too decayed to provide a home anymore.  Moment by moment, the earth is reclaiming her precious leafy babies as fuel to grow new more glorious descendants of themselves

That’s when it struck me that in nature, there is no such thing as failure.  Everything gets recycled to rise again.  It got me thinking about my own failures in life.  Maybe my mistakes could provide fuel for future growth too.  As a human, it can be hard to face up to the embarrassing defeats we have had.   Forget a few fallen trees; at times my life has looked like a fuckin’ California wildfire whipped through it… At least, I tried though.  While sometimes, it may not seem like much.  In reality, it’s everything because you can’t get anywhere if you never make an attempt.  Making mistakes is how you learn what not to do again.  (Of course, sometimes you make them more than once before you learn that lesson…. but that’s a WHOLE other blog post…)  Thomas Edison probably understood this better than anyone. He has been quoted as having said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Why are we so afraid of failing anyway?  Is it really so important to get everything right all the time?  I mean really, think of all the times you failed… chances are that no one died; no great fury was released on the world… maybe it was sad or a little embarrassing (maybe very sad and very embarrassing) but that was probably about it, right?  We sometimes crave approval and acceptance so much that we are afraid to fail.  It seems like someone must be keeping score.  Who wants to come up short or be criticized?  Not me.  I totally get it but as Aristotle said, “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

Love and Blessings to all,

Cynthia

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