Another old writing I’ll post as I capture and parse my journey.

***

It was 11pm. I was waiting on some samples to make their way up to my treetop lab with the viewing window, overlooking the sea of machinery below. Runs and belts and quart bottles bobbing over rollers. It was just me on second shift now. My trainer, a college student in chemistry, barely younger than myself, had moved back to day shift. The job wasn't complicated compared to last one - running a cold store of millions of compounds to prepare for scientific testing in product development. There was a solid plan for moving up management here, they had said in the interview. “Yes, sounds great.”

What is it about a campfire that fixes our stare?

As we sit in front of something so dangerous, deadly even.

The lodgepole pine requires the heat of fire to melt the resin of its pinecone, releasing the seeds.

The very thing that destroys is required for rebirth. Life’s paradox.

A Thousand Words

What does this picture say?

It says I didn’t give up all those years. It says I wanted to, I almost did, I tried, but I’m still here.

It says I still keep trying despite weekly pain spikes and daily flares and the host of what goes with just a half hour kayak trip.

Gone the ways of the appendix and pinkie toe, the failure muscle is a defunct mass of sinew. There's just no need for it. The muscles we do need - Resilience. Response. Self-grace. Self-compassion. Other-grace. Other-Compassion. They get stronger with practice. Build those muscles, add them to the circuit. That practice comes every time we catch ourselves in the moment, in real time and reframe through recognizing ourselves living the human condition, like everyone else. Our humanness. That we all enjoy. And sometimes don't enjoy. 

I tell my children there is no failure, it's all just data points. Information. Information where we gain insight about ourselves, about others, about whatever-it-was we're working on or trying out or going through. Information that can be applied and used to inform further action and decision. You can graph that shit. Our posture towards failure can make failure a tripping point or a data point. Francis Bacon was right, "Knowledge is power." 

Think for a moment about your definition of failure. What types of situations cause your inner critic to go wild? "I'm such a failure, I'll never change, I knew this would happen, why did I even try, I'm so stupid, I can't believe I did that, no one else would have done that, seriously no one else." What is your posture towards failure? Are you afraid to fail? To be seen failing? What does failure say about who you are? 

Onions and Elephants

People, like Ogres, are like onions. We have layers; sometimes we stink.

For me, layers are discovered in repetition. That takes time. My unbounded inner world that springs poetic leaks relies on the frayed threads from the worn bindings of overuse.