“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
― Maya Angelou
Hey sis, can you believe that we are already nearing the end of the first month of the year?1/12 – already?
A hostel in Amsterdam
As I write this, I am at a hostel in Amsterdam. A hostel I had to return to around midnight when I discovered that I had been waiting in the cold to catch a bus at the wrong bus-stop. I was supposed to be back home in Copenhagen by now but instead, here we are; same outfit running on day three, spirits calm with slight annoyance. T, however, has arrived safely back in Brazil which was good news to hear that at least one of our trips went as planned but also bittersweet since we are now officially “distanced” again. During all this, as my emotions raced, I tried to remind myself of what I can be in control of and what I desperately needed to let go of. Yes, I had plans for today but life took a different turn and so, I must adapt.
To be honest, there has been a lot of adapting lately; from travel plans to life plans, to career/life work to approaches to life in general. Sometimes we are forced to adapt because of uncontrollable circumstances and other times because of simply failing or experiencing a redirection of something we had hoped to work out one way.
Failure is something I constantly need to readjust my “friendship” with. It isn´t always easy because as a type-A person and as a Taurus, I just really prefer some predictability and things to mostly work out the way I had planned it out in my head to the T! (Yes, this makes for a glorious life as you can imagine #whysis?).
Thankfully for me and most of us – life is a patient teacher, always making sure that I never become too estranged with failure in all its “interesting” forms. Because really, it too is a great teacher by itself. Sure, I have enjoyed and grown a lot from my successes but my failures, oh boy! Big and small, they have played a remarkable part in shaping the person I have become and continue to fail my way towards haha. It is truly when things don´t go as planned that you learn not only about yourself and life but also about those around you. Failure invites vulnerability, flexibility and like last night, it reminds us of the people around us that make our lives. While I was in a numb panic about missing my bus, fingers, and toes frozen, on the last battery bar of my phone, I called my mom. In true dramatization, the reception was really bad, people around me were very loud, we couldn´t hear each other and I now had less than an hour to figure out a plan before I had to leave a closing airport.
Not all is shitty
Long story short, I decided that sleep was what I needed the most at that moment. After finally explaining the issue to my mom, she pulled together her resources and extended my already dwindling funds so that I had some financial space to plan my next steps back home. I crawled back to the hostel, snuck into my shared room and felt gratitude for a warm bed and a safe place to close my eyes. The annoyance and disappointment from earlier slowly settled into a new realm of acceptance. I also remembered how I had had so many other successful and more complicated travels that just went smooth as veggie butter – I appreciated that.
Things not going to plan had actually reminded me of other times when things had gone to plan and I was grateful for all those times too.
I also decided to be aware of my thoughts – to be mindful of the fact that I was tired and worn out from a day of waiting to take a bus that I ended up missing. I was missing T and feeling overwhelmed by all the things ahead of us to fix and prepare for. It was easy for me to go off into a negative tangent of thoughts and despair but I realized how exhausting and taxing that would be on my already expended energy resources. So, instead – I meditated right there and then – in a crowded train with baggage all over me that I was tired of carrying around at this point, under the chatty umbrella of Italian men having the ball of their lives -I decided to find peace- to just watch my thoughts, to find the still space between and to reaffirm myself.
“Things are working out for my greater good”
“I have all I need to create the outcome I want”
” I am safe, loved and cared for”
“This is just a moment, it too shall pass”
” I give myself permission to just be”
It can be quite easy to just go on an exclusive boat ride of neverending misery with extra past misery and future fears included. To sail away until we get to the fountain of “woe is me” and where we can indulge in a deluxe pity party for one. Orrrr, we can catch ourselves and decide that we have already been down that stream enough times to know that nothing good comes from that trip, as tempting and seducing as it might be (at least not today). We can take the steering wheel and direct it towards our holistic greater good.
Practicing safe sailing
Embracing the situation and accepting it for its “suckyness” while not adding more drama to it was the best way that I could sail forward towards something that generally felt much better. Failure is important because it makes us better at navigating our emotions when life does not go as planned. It helps us mature into skilled sailors of life. An appropriate time to add the following quote; “A Smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”
Yet it all depends on where you choose to “sail” when you are met with challenges, annoyance and setbacks, that decides what kind of sailor you are practicing to become.
“So what is the truth about failure,” Oprah asks; well, failure is the other side of the coin of success and a life lived ( lived well or ill is a choice). The coin’s value goes hand in hand. However, we decide how we spend it – what it makes of us and what relationship we should have with it.
May we learn to make failure an unexpected but welcomed friend. A friend with whom we get to ask “what can I learn or see from this” instead of “why is this happening to me” – May we never pass up the chance to face our challenges with enthusiasm to practice what we have been learning in our times of smooth sailing. May life find you willing to bloom, in the sunshine and in shitty storms: P.s #useitasmanure
P.s while this might just refer to a small incidence of missing a 12-hour bus trip – lessons can be applied to other larger and smaller inconveniences or visits from our good friend Failure. Keep learning, nurturing, growing and mastering your approach to life.
with love, light and courage to fail