“We are mistaken in thinking that if we’re just good enough, we can avoid pain and heart break. A broken heart is not failure. It’s just the other side of joy.”
David Whyte, June 2014
I’ve spent most of my life trying not to make mistakes. Don’t say the wrong thing. Get the right answer on the test. Please the boss, please the customer, please everyone.
I’ve made mistakes of course, but they’ve always brought a shameful pain much worse than the consequences of the mistake itself.
I’ve avoided heart break, but at the cost of keeping my heart separate from some pretty good men.
I’ve made a decent life, but, by playing it safe, it looks better on paper than it feels.
Why have I not taken the greater risks? It’s a bit of fear of the consequences of experimentation — lost money, time, relationships, fingers, whatever.
Perhaps more importantly, though, it’s the fear of what the failed experiment would say about me as a person.
Making a mistake doesn’t make me a less worthy human being… But it sure feels like it.
As I think about my career, life, relationships – even this blog – I’m looking for places to risk my heart. Bigger creative risks, bolder ideas, deeper vulnerability, more honesty. It’s terrifying. But I’m more terrified of my safe, joy-free life.
Where are you afraid of failing?
“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”Louise ErdrichThe Painted Drum
Photo taken by me, with an iPhone, somewhere over Nebraska on July 1, 2014.