Permission to Fail

What if we grew up in a world where we were told it was alright to fail? Oh the possibilities and life lessons that would arise. We would be a society of adventurers and optimists never worrying about what others thought or being embarrassed.

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I ventured to Lynn’s Baptiste class at noon today. Sorry I cut off your face, Lynn, but I want to get the message out that this is a class to attend. After working all morning, I wanted movement, and Lynn’s class was just what I needed.

The messages that flow from yoga can be life-changing if we let them in. Today in tree pose, Lynn basically gave us permission to fail. She wanted us to flow, rise, and bend enough in this pose so that we fell over. This threw me off a bit, and at first I had a hard time getting into the pose. But then I reached down to form my foundation and lifted up stretching my tree toward the ceiling. It felt good, so I reached back further and then a little more, surprised by how far back I was able to go. I kept reaching. Then I fell over.

I went back into it, but kept couldn’t get my balance. It didn’t feel like failure, because Lynn was there. She said it was alright to fall over. It happens to everyone, but what happens internally is what gets us. We become self-conscious, angry with ourselves, and often don’t try again. Who wants to embarrass themselves in front of everyone else by falling?

But as Lynn said, what would happen if you laughed and went back into it? What would happen if instead of putting yourself down, you showed compassion for you? If my friend fell over, I wouldn’t call her a yogi fail, I would encourage her to try again. So why is it so hard for us to do that for ourselves?

I’m glad I ‘failed’ today, because I went deeper into the pose than I ever do. That was the purpose. Through that failure, I found success. I found compassion for me.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid to fail?

What would happen if you tried something and did fail? How would you show yourself compassion? Think about a time when someone you loved failed, write down what you did or said to them.

What have you learned from your failures?

I learned today that laughter is the best way to get me back into a pose. Don’t take myself so seriously and go with the flow. After all, we are like the oak tree. We may bend, but we won’t break.

Finding Purpose–Your Core Character

The third part in our Finding Purpose series is developing your core. I am referring to your character core, who you are as a person, or who you perceive yourself to be.

As with our bodies, the trunk of a tree is the core to its strength and ability to bounce back when the storms of life try to knock it over.

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Photo by Alysia Thomas

To work on your core, answer these questions:

  1. How do you describe yourself?
  2. How do people describe you?
  3. Is there a difference?
  4. Why do you think that is?
  5. Write those words on the trunk of the oak tree you have already begun. If you want to start from the beginning of this process, visit my previous posts, You are Awesome! and then Root Values.

Remember not all of your characteristics will be positive. Maybe there are some you want to work on, especially if they are characteristics others have described you with. As someone in my last workshop said, “I am stubborn or at least my kids say I am.”

Being stubborn may be seen as negative, but it can also be a positive. If some words cause a reaction, journal about why you are seen that way, and whether you want to change or nurture it.

Keep going! This is important and you have to do the work to find the purpose!

Great journaling and let me know how it goes!

What Will You Bring to the World

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An acorn has everything in it to create an enormous, life-giving oak tree. The oak tree shades, provides air and food, and is a source of beauty and strength. Just as the acorn has everything it needs to grow and give to our world, so do you.

Last night in the first session of my adult journal writing workshop, we did an exercise where we wrote down our positive characteristics, what made us special, and what we valued. The answers were unique and eye opening.

One of my words was joyful. I wrote joyful because when I feel joy, I have hope that the world is a beautiful and kind place, despite sadness and uncertainty we have in our world. It’s wonderful that I feel joy, but how can I bring joy into the world, and why should I?

I have always told my children that no matter what you do, what job you grow up to have, make sure it brings good into the world and makes a difference. I believe that part of our mission on this earth is to grow as souls as well as people and to collectively improve it. There is no better way to improve our world by bringing the positive energy that we all have inside of us to others.

I bring joy to others through my words. Maybe my books and stories are purely entertaining or maybe they touch a person just the right way on a day that they are suffering.

I bring joy to others through laughter. I want to have fun while I’m here, so bringing people together to share laughs and raise spirits is very important to me.

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I bring joy by letting my light shine and sharing my truth of who I am as a person. This is something that has been hard for me to learn to do, but as I see how I can bring hope to families battling cancer or parents who have lost a child, I feel called to share my light with them.

I bring joy through teaching. My workshop last night was full of energy and happiness (even if there was some uncertainty!) That’s all right, because despite the fact that people weren’t sure about this thing called journaling, they took a class and had fun!

Write down only positive characteristics about you. What makes you special? What is one word your best friend would use to describe you? Take one of these words and write down how you will bring this into the world and what difference it will make to others. I don’t know is not an answer. You have a light in you that is begging to come out! Let is shine and share it.

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