"What we have here is a failure to communicate"

Posted by on 07.02.08 | 4 Comments
Filed Under Uncategorized

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

I had intended to start this blog by blaming life for my getting behind in my posts. You know how it goes: begin with an “I have just been too busy to do this…” kind of thing, then perhaps a ….”sorry about that” and perhaps even a coda in which I announce my renewed dedication to keep up. But then something very strange happened, perhaps it was grace, or maybe just some glimmer of basic honesty broke through to my consciousness, but the result was the same and it led me to admit that the whole thing going on in my head was a load of tarsine excrement. Contrary to the lie I had been telling myself over the past couple of weeks, Life did not keep me from posting for the last couple of months. No one from the Department of Homeland Security whisked me away to Gitmo. I didn’t forget how to type or use the internet, nor did I receive any death threats if I did log on to the VT and post something. On the contrary, things are exactly as they have been since I arrived in Spokane, busier than I like to be, but so what? Nor do I recall making a solemn promise to Beth that I would agree to hate myself – or at least feel guilty – if I didn’t come up with some number of blogs within some predetermined amount of time. The truth is that I kept myself from posting, and I am not “behind” because it is impossible to be “behind” in something like this. So I decided to drop what I was going to write about and instead offer this small post on failure.

I am not going to say failure is valuable because we learn so much more from it. That is true, sometimes, but I don’t care about that just now. When I am in the midst of failure I often find that to be very small comfort, and am usually irritated when people remind me of it. Rather, what I have discovered in the last ten minutes is that failure is mostly self imposed, the result either of inventing expectations that cannot, or are not met, or accepting the expectations of others and then not meeting them.

I can, for example, play a game of chess and define success as winning or drawing and failure as losing. That sounds like common sense, after all and most people who play chess would agree with that. But that definition makes sense only if the goal is to win the game. What if the goal is simply to play a game with a friend, or an enemy for that matter? What if the goal is to sit quietly and meditatively for a long period of time concentrating on what amounts to a series of postional abstractions, free from the world that has driven you to enjoy such a strange thing? Those are perfectly valid reasons to play chess, and neither of them has anything to do with the outcome of the game. To return to the immediate moment, I came to see myself as a failure at blogging on the VT because I invented expectations that I didn’t meet. Hence the need to feel bad about it for a moment. My goal was to post twice a month – at least – and I didn’t do that, so I FAILED. Had my goal been to post whenever I was struck by something I really wanted to share I would now be a great success.

Even in the market place, the world of jobs and finances and competing, this holds true. If the goal is to get and keep a particular job, then losing that job is a failure. But if the goal is to experience, to discover, to try new things, then getting canned might well be a crucial ingredient to success. Now to be sure, there are bills to pay, and often we invest a lot of our emotional and psychic energy into some particular kind of work from which we gain lots of satisfaction and for which we get paid money. This experience inevitably leads us all to form goals that include keeping the job, advancing, and so forth. Those are perfectly good things. But what I note from my newfound point of great and mystic insight, is that those are still our goals, and no matter how much we tell ourselves that those are the right goals, or how much others tell us that those are the right goals, we still have to embrace and internalize them before they can create the nexus within which we can fail. We can’t fail in the market place until the moment when we agree to a set of expectations. Mostly I accept expectations rather unconsciously; I don’t even know I have done it. It is that unconscious acceptance that makes those expectations feel so right, so absolute, so universal. After all, since I have no real idea that I made them up, or accepted what others have made up, it seems that they must come from some real, valid important place. Most of the time I simply don’t notice that it aint necessarily so.

Certainly the nature of human existence is such that nearly all of us will adopt certain goals in certain situations. Divorce seems almost always to feel like a failure at least for a while; children addicted to drugs even more often feels like a failure, first to the parents and then, when awareness dawns, on the addict. Anyone could come up with a huge list of those sorts of things. These things are sad, often horribly heart rendingly sad, and some of the things we could list in this vein really do shake us to our cores. But they are not failures unless we have set up our own spiritual framework to create that possibility by defining what success looks like in advance.

None of this means to me that we shouldn’t have expectations of ourselves, or that expectations are by themselves bad or wrong. If we are going to live together we do need some expectations, some of which are imposed from without and some of which are developed internally. As a result I am going to experience the feeling of failure from time to time. But what I now understand is that this feeling of failure is not some sort of punishment sent to me from outside myself that affects me within my own soul, but rather it is self induced, the product of how I set up my own life. I can learn from it, or not, that is up to me, but for my soul’s health I need to accept responsibility for what I have done to me, and begin to learn to critique my own expectations, so as to create a life in which I am actually aware of what I am doing, and am more creative about what success and failure really mean. To do anything else would be, well, a failure. Wouldn’t it?

]]>

timeline

4 Comments

have your say

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. Subscribe to these comments.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

:

: