Sunday, October 25, 2015

Is Failure Recycleable?

    I am joining Kate Motaung and others who are writing every day in October. My intention is to record my reactions and feelings about Brené Brown's newest book, "Rising Strong". You can find the other posts I have written here.  

" Regret is a tough but fair teacher. To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn, no amends to make, and no opportunity to be braver with your life."

  Yesterday was my birthday. The sun came out after hours of clouds. The pumpkin patch was gloriously decked out in orange and green. My sons and daughter, with grandchildren, showed up at the farm to mill around with hundreds of other people enjoying the hallowed, harvest fun. I felt success. Success is easy to compost. You think back at the plan making, the fighting of traffic through the city on the way to the country, the joy at recognizing your loved ones once you arrive, and the regret at having to depart. All those memories integrate easily in the compost of life. 

  But, failure is a plastic in the mix. Failure keeps rising up in the heap and refuses to integrate. It takes a zillion years to break apart and become just part of the bin of life. The memories are like gravel in your shoes. Walking over the story hurts again and again. Why are these sensory memories so much more compelling than the memories of success? 
    Chapter Nine, "Composting Failure" is a really good read. I'll spend another few posts there but leave you today with two of Brené's strategies of handling failure.

" Talk to yourself in the same way we'd talk to someone we love.
    Yes, you made a mistake. You're human.
      You don't have to do it like anyone else.
     Fixing it and making amends will help. Self-loathing will not.

Reach out to someone we trust
   A person who has earned the right to hear our story and who has the
   capacity to respond with empathy."

    Writing 31 days about one subject has made October go more slowly. That's crazy, isn't it. But, it has. Everyday I read, think, and write about this important book and the clarity it offers me. Sometimes the posts seem heavy and filled with unresolved issues but there is a sense of hope that my life can rise more strongly out of adversity and into the light.


  1. I like the analogy of composting success and failure being more like a plastic- that illustrates it really well. Look forward to hearing more from this chapter. I'm glad you had a good birthday and enjoyed your day with family.

  2. Thank-you, Carly. There are only 6 more days of writing ahead of us.

  3. Happy Birthday! It looks like you had a fun day! I always wondered about people who claimed to have no regrets in life, as if every choice they made was okay. I choose not to anguish over regrets, rather learn from them. I appreciate your efforts this month and have enjoyed reading your blog, and your responding to mine. Thanks.

  4. Oh Gabriele, I'm so pleased you had a lovely birthday! Another wonderful post; these issues don't have real solutions, I suspect, as we're always walking across shifting sands. Love the 'stones in the shoes' analogy. Found your question about why traumatic memories are held for longer/are more real than our success stories very compelling. I've been reading quite a bit about post-traumatic growth recently which has opened up some of the same questions for me. (Which reminds me, I still haven't sent you the links: so sorry...I didn't have one full morning at my desk last week....will send shortly...). Helen xx

    1. Yes, resolutions to the barriers of wholeheartedness are not easy resolve. Looking forward to those links.

    2. Gabriele, just off for my run and will send them once back!! Helen


What do you think?