Yesterday, as I flew down a mountain on my bike, I thought to myself of all the physical risks we take as human beings. Physically speaking, the risks we face are high, every single day. The risks associated with just living, just leaving the house, venturing out into the world. Driving in a car, crossing the road, walking down a staircase, riding a bicycle, performing manual labor…Lord help us if you put a cell phone in our hands and we try to do any of the aforementioned. Truly, there’s so much room for error and so many opportunities for injury. But that’s a pessimistic way to look at life. I’m not here to be pessimistic (y’all know me). I’m here to simply draw our attention to the obvious, the statistical facts. Life can be very, very dangerous. I mean, no one gets out alive…
Har har. What I’m getting at is gratitude, as I almost always am. Awareness, gratitude, consciousness. The risks are high but yet we do it. We get out of bed, we drive on the road, we face fear and danger in the face every single day. We have done and continue to do our part; we’ve been trained in jobs, taught how to drive, to look both ways when crossing the street, to exercise common sense, pay attention to where we’re stepping, so on and so forth.
Most of us manage the physical risks of everyday life without a hiccup. Blessed. Gratitude. Acknowledge this.
But what about emotional risks? Mental, spiritual, holistic risks of the heart? Creating a business, falling in love, moving, starting a project? Those are some scary ventures. A lot scarier than descending a staircase or using a crosswalk, however dangerous those activities can turn in an instant. Emotional risks are scar-y. Mainly because we make decisions that either lead us into or away from them. Decisions of the mind, of the heart, of the soul. We have fear and doubt pulling puppet strings in the dark, dreary corners of our rational mind and, despite their back row seat, they somehow amplify their concerns so that they echo prominently throughout the brain, banging into the backs of our eyeballs and making us feel dizzy with worry. We question our intuition. We tiptoe away from the ledge. We doubt ourselves. We imagine ourselves failing…but you want to know the truth?
There is no success without failure.
They are intertwined, like two bodies; feminine and masculine, limbs wound and tangled, faces pressed together. There simply is not one without the other.
We fail to see this in ourselves, our own lives, so often because we focus on one or the other. We create a duality that doesn’t exist. Success in one corner. Failure in the other. So often we choose to see only one, the other shadowed entirely, as though nonexistent. Successes and failures, both seen and unseen, support and create one another inherently. Irrevocably.
Failure and success operate in a yin and yang balance. Anything in your life that has ever been successful was built, in some way, on an associated failure. I promise. Somewhere, whether you were cognizant of it or not, there was a perceived “failure” that led you to that present moment of success. Same goes for the opposite, though it’s a confusing concept to embrace. Anytime there’s been failure, there has been success. How, you ask?
Because anytime we fail it means we have tried. We have attempted. We have shunted fear, yet again, and given it a shot. That is a successful venture in and of itself, even if our efforts don’t go according to our vision. Success is what landed us in the position to even make an effort in the first place.
So you see, success and failure, they’re one. They’re Siva and Shakti. Light and darkness. Ida and Pingala. They need to be, as counterintuitive as this seems, in balance. Because they are one by nature, so to have an imbalance is like leaning the body all the way to the right, tipping at the waist, and expecting to walk around lopsided forever without getting a horrible neck ache and becoming muscularly deformed.
Keeping success and failure in balance is essential and is what makes for what most people would actually define as success itself. Remember, these words were defined by human beings…people, just like you and I, put meaning to words. Placed letters together in succession and awarded them a certain weight. That being said, any word, any definition, is really up to interpretation. Who says we have to see “failure” as doom just because a dictionary says so? Why can’t failure be the Divine intervention that led us down a different path, the path we were supposed to take and very nearly missed?
That’s what I believe failure means. I believe perceived “failures” are actually the Universe taking me by the hand and leading me exactly where I’m meant to go. Perceived “successes” are merely a reflection of my having intuitively listened, having gracefully let go of what wasn’t meant for me, and having moved gently in the direction of my dreams.