I’m not a big fan of baseball … I admit. It was only because I was speaking at a business event for artists that I learned that the Chicago Cubs baseball team was on the verge of breaking one of the longest losing streaks in history. And that in typical Hollywood movie fashion, it was a last minute, out of the clutches of another loss, series of events, that an astounding victory was born. One that was 108 years in the making!
It was ironic that as I was speaking to a room full of artists and entrepreneurs in a gloried, historic hall in Southern California; encouraging them to embrace their failures as often as they could, (fresh off one of my own) that on the other side of the country in another revered, old building was an example of how remaining focused on a heart-felt vision, despite setbacks, was creating history.
The Burn of Failing
The simple truth of creating lasting and evolutionary change, is that things are not always going to appear to be successful. There will be times when things seem to go terribly wrong, when we are disappointed by expectations that are not met and grieved by circumstances, situations or outcomes that do not go as we hoped. Or when we are, through no fault of our own, disenchanted by actions that we felt spiritually or intuitively guided to take, that do not even begin to measure up to what we felt would be the result.
I know this from a life time as an entrepreneur – and was reminded of it again recently at an art show that I did in Las Vegas, where over $50,000 of my original artwork was damaged in the drive to the event.
I had an opportunity on the drive home, after the show, to sit deep in the anger and fury of what happened in Vegas – and there was a lot of emotion around having 2 years of work, injured so unceremoniously. I didn’t pretend to be all spiritual about it – I was pissed. Hard core. Disappointment, frustration, anger … especially at myself, burned hot inside me as I viewed all the work I had done, and the show itself as a massive failure.
These disappointments burn our hearts like a hot flame – and if it happens enough times, we develop a thick callous of self-protection that paralyzes us. The feelings and emotions that rise up out of these situations are often so overwhelming that we develop an attitude that it is just safer not to try, because to fail again, would be too much to endure.
May The Force Be With You
Life is always trying to emerge and evolve through us. The Life force itself uses us as a conduit through which it grows and expands, breaks new ground and expresses new potentials – and there is nowhere that this Life force does not exist.
So, if that is the truth, which I believe it is … ‘then there must be an evolutionary purpose behind failure’.
That was the epiphany I had as I drove back from Vegas. And as I sat in the inner fire of disappointment, a clearer picture of what failure really is and how it serves us began to emerge.
What if there were a way to USE failure and learn to not be afraid of it, so that when were called to making even small steps forward to embrace our highest Visions and dreams for the future, we could do it with a sense of grace, despite how it may or may not turn out?
There is a way and it far simpler than you might think.
The emotions we have around failure are intricate, multi-faceted and often very deep and they form their own unique tapestry of energy within each of us. When the flames of failure are high, these emotions rise to the surface like trapped gas being released from a gold mine. Alchemically and Spiritually speaking, these emotions are the inner lead of our consciousness, that need to be released in order for us to become Spiritual Gold.
The crystalizing understanding that completely altered my perception of my failure in Vegas and every failure I had had before and the emotions that surrounded them … was this …
Our Emotions are NOT an indicator of what is TRUE. Our Emotions are an indicator of what we BELIEVE.
Two Guys and The Ocean
There are two men standing at the edge of the Ocean. One is giddy with excitement, glowing with anticipation, vibrating with the sheer joy of being alive as he prepares to enter the water. He is a surfer.
The other is paralyzed with terror, incapacitated by dread and tortured with the vision of complete annihilation as he tries to figure out how to stay dry. This man cannot swim.
The Ocean is the Ocean. It is a body of water that simply is. It is not good, nor evil. It is not life affirming or life negating … it is just the Ocean.
But to each of the men on the shore, it represents Life or Death. It represents success or failure. Their beliefs are revealed through and by their emotions.
The reality IS that the surfer will probably have a great time and consider his day in the water a huge success. And the non-swimmer if he went in, would have a rough time of it – maybe even drown, which of course would be deemed ‘a failure.’
So the revelation here is, the emotions come to the surface through the situation, and reveal our beliefs about ourselves and about Life. It is not the SITUATION or the FAILURE that CAUSES them … the situation or failure REVEALS them.
Life reveals them, so we can heal them.
Finding the Truth in the Fails
So if you are hesitating to do something because you are afraid of failing, I invite you to ask yourself, ‘What would I make it mean about me, if I were to fail at this? Or what would other people say about me, if I were to fail?’
Or, if you are right smack dab in the middle of a big ‘failure’, ask yourself the same question, ’What am I making this mean about me? About life?’
You may come up with things like, ‘I’m just not good enough. I’ll never get this right. I suck. I’m un-loveable. The Universe doesn’t want me to succeed. Mom/Dad/Teachers were right. Etc.’
If you sit with it long enough, the beliefs that are driving the emotions will reveal themselves to you. But you must have the courage to sit in that fire long enough to discover them.
Once you do discover them, the simple question you ask then is, ‘Is this even true?’ If it is causing you to feel anything other than peace – then it is not the truth. And that is how you know.
Then it is up to you to decide to continue to carry the belief that your fire of failure has brought to the surface, or to make an empowered choice of Mastery and choose to let it go. You don’t need to replace it with a new belief – Life will take care of that as it flows in to fill the vacuum with its natural state of expansion, abundance and creative success.
From this new level of awareness, a deeper grace and courage begins to emerge and failure no longer becomes something you incessantly try to avoid. Instead you look to it as an ally in your evolution, constantly and continuously supporting you in becoming the greatest version of yourself.
What the Future Holds
Did the Chicago Cubs, go all Spiritual in their approach to this historic victory? Maybe. Maybe not. But they certainly didn’t let over 100 years of ‘failure’ stop them from reaching this pinnacle of sporting success.
Will I ever have another disappointment like I did in Vegas? I can’t honestly say for sure, but I know I won’t have to endure the emotional discomfort that I did this time. Not because things won’t go ‘wrong’ in the future, but because, if they do, I have used this profound experience to continue to refine my inner framework and clarify what I will and won’t believe about myself and about Life. If you take the same approach to the past or current failures you have experienced, so too will you alter your capacity for expanded growth, greater courage and more dedicated commitment to your goals.
And so, now I have a new more empowered energetic structure on which to move ahead. And so at least this time … What happened in Vegas … stays in Vegas. You can check out some of my award winning artwork here.
Live your dreams.