Mistakes as an invention afford us a larger opening
Make mistakes. If you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living… Make glorious, amazing mistakes—mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life… Make your mistakes.*
When we set out to do or be something and we’re thwarted or something “goes wrong,” there’s a disparity between what happened and what the possibility was. But instead of sorting out whatever happened, we often relate to it as some shortcoming, some deficiency about ourselves. Our identity, (who we consider ourselves to be), jumps to front and center. Refrains like “What’s wrong with me?” “What’s wrong with it?” “What’s wrong with ‘them’?” are the litanies we hear in our heads. When we operate on top of disempowering assessments, our ability to be gets diminished—it’s the “failing to be” that takes us off course, not that “it failed.”
If we can consider that what we see as failures (given they live in language) are a making up, an invention, a declaration of something missing, (not necessarily followed by a “therefore” or a “because,” but just existing as themselves) instead of a “failure of being,” what’s there is the possibility of “inventing being.” Breakdowns, mistakes, failures as an invention, a saying, a making up, afford us a larger opening—power and freedom have room to emerge.
*Adapted from Neil Gaiman, My New Year Wish
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