Sometimes, even with the best of intentions and hard work, your life doesn’t go the way you had hoped or planned or dreamed.
Your heart is broken. You cry with disappointment. There’s a raw, shaky feeling in the gut. An old feeling of dread comes to visit, a familiar sense of cosmic abandonment.
“I screwed up.”
In the midst of your pain, you are tempted to turn against the world, or yourself. Blame someone. Attack someone. Seek revenge, retribution. Or attack yourself, with addictive behaviour. Quick, numb the pain. Drink something, eat something, buy something, try not to feel something.
You label yourself as ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ or ‘broken’. You call yourself a ‘failure’, a 'waste of space’, words you learned when you were young. And then your mind spins off into the future. Not only a day of failure, today, but years of failure to come. A lifetime of failure, ending in death.
You’ve abandoned the present moment and been pulled into a dualistic narrative of past and future, success and failure, right and wrong, good and bad.
But the words are not the thing. So here’s an invitation. Slow down. Get curious. Invite open, curious attention to drop into the present moment. Can you allow yourself to become fascinated with the actual feeling of failure? How do you know this is failure? Where in the body do you feel it? Come back to the shaky, raw feeling, the visceral hurt that’s alive right now. Come back to the nausea, the heaviness, the pressure, the sinking feeling in the belly. Just for a moment, don’t run away or numb yourself from these movements. Get curious about the sensations here. Give them space; let them dance, move. Don’t distract yourself from these precious part of you. They simply long for loving attention right now.
You are leaving the heavy storyline of 'me and my failure’. You are showing up for life; connecting with yourself at a moment when you need your own tenderness more than ever.
And out of the rubble of shattered expectations, a new and different life may grow. You may be shaky, broken open; your heart may feel tender and raw; your certainties may have crumbled to dust, but you are alive, and willing to feel what needs to be felt. And your greatest failure may turn out to be your greatest beginning, the time when you learned more about yourself than ever, the scene of the movie where you discovered humility, courage, and radical self-love.
Stay close; you cannot fail.