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Reader comment on Elizabeth Lesser's passage ...

Don't Go Back to Sleep


On Oct 28, 2014 david doane wrote:

 Pema Chodron said, "Fail, fail more, fail better."  She emphasized that failure is part of living, and failure presents new possibilities.  The challenge is to stay awake to the new possibilities, be open and learn.  The Buddha said fall down 7 times, get up 8.  The alternative is to stay down, wallow in failure, close up and shut down.  To paraphrase poet laureate Louise Gluck, it's when our life is shattered that we see it for the first time.  I have often found it very difficult to stay awake when I fail, especially when I am very attached to that at which I am failing.  I failed in attaining my first career goal.  I had wanted that career since a child, put in three years in college working toward it, and even though I came to feel constricted by it, I tried to make myself stay with it until my unhappiness became so great that I quit.  For several days after "failing," I anguished over my decision, walked around in a conflicted blur most of which I don't even remember because I was in such a state of confusion and turmoil.  After three days of being in that quasi-psychotic state, I awoke, resurrected in awareness that I had made the right decision.  I didn't know what I was going to do but was ready to move on.  As I think of it now, the "broken" period for me began with probably 9 months of growing discontent (my "pregnancy" period) followed by 3 days of labor pains, followed by painful birth of myself into a new life.  I think we stay awake when life is changing immensely by reminding ourselves that unknown options and possibilities are and will be emerging.  I think the practice of having survived and grown from small failures helps.  I think having adequate support, not getting caught by the system when broken, and good fortune also help a great deal.



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