To find faith in failure. It’s a funny concept.

To dream, dare, dive in, dive bomb down, sink, sob, shake it off, start all over.

Bless our deluded minds thinking that reality should do what we want!

Perpetual growth is a lie.

Economically. Energetically. Emotionally- all things must rise and fall.

Life has its circles and cycles.


Failure takes us to straight the heart. To the here and now. To the rain that is falling today. to feel the feelings.

It is a holy thing. A humbling thing. A thing that we get to hold each other in.

A getting-present- to-our shared-human-ness/mess inducing thing; (and lord knows this planet could do with more humanity...)


Failure forces us to stop, to sigh. To let reality really settle into us.

To surrender and find the softness that comes when we sink in to what is.

Alzheimer’s; cancer; homelessness on or city streets; arts, health and social services funding cuts; disease, death…. so much it seems that we can’t solve…

then there’s all the personal and professional plans that went slightly skeewiff: the things we should’ve got... the way it should’ve gone but didn’t...

We get to wrestle with reality.

We get to realise that we’re not the boss of life.

That these wild cards will wend their way in.


Yes- for sure- there’s all the semantics stuff, we can always reframe it and call it by another name: valiant efforts; the true nature of things; daring to dream, the beauty of braving being bold and showing up to step forward; of being gently rocked by reality; of winning some and loosing some. etc. etc. etc…..



Maybe like the Eskimo’s and their 100 types of snow we need more nuances;

to distinguish these things that can feel like failure- all of which are just part of the hundred thousand hues of human existence.


Maybe we need different words for when someone makes a dumbass decision you can’t do anything about, versus the felt sense of futile and fragile inevitably that many months of tending to someone with terminal illness will likely lead us to…. And for the whole heap of other nuances in between.


In the end perhaps the nomenclature counts for nothing- all recognise our need to build resilience, to follow our own feet forwards and find a good way through- ideally with more than modicum of good grace….


As creative creatures we must come to find a good way through this peculiar paradox. To acknowledge the new lines that can come in with this shape-shifting sense of self. the chance to explore, re-evaluate, get excited about how else it could shape up…


To be open to the fact that actually failure may just take us to the place that that supposed success should’ve done: to appreciate what we have. To be present to what matters most. To let those whom what to be there for us on our more difficult days lend hand and help us out. To learn to lean in a little. To be loved in our less than perfectness.


To get that risk is intimately related to our willingness to really go for it; and that in this perfectly imperfect universe- we won’t always get what we want.


And yet we shall still stand up, shake ourselves down and keep going and growing in a good way- towards whatever it was that we wanted.

And yes, sometimes it seems sensible we should pause before starting over.


Less of the perpetual striving forwards… more of the deep listening to what wants to happen next. To get to be crystal clear our motivation behind things.


To relax, rethink; streamline, simplify, strip down. get clear on what matters most.


To make art of it, to hear each others hearts, to learn to live in them more.


To be with the marvellous miraculous mystery of it all.


But perhaps this is the peculiar paradox: perhaps when we don’t get what we think we wanted then get to go back to perfecting our passion in our own way- rather than being seduced into external definitions as to what success should look like.


Instead we get to live with increased integrity, exploration and unfolding…


We get to trust more in life’s own deeply peculiar process….


Copyright Tess Howell 2017