So Was it a “Mistake” or an “Experience?”

Today I heard the quote, “Experience is the name we give our mistakes.” It led me to reflect on all of my “mistakes,” of which there are plenty. I wondered if I could actually just chalk them up to experiences instead of what I’d felt were mistakes. And, the answer is: I’m not sure, and leaning towards ‘no.’

I mean, I can’t get those days, months, weeks or years back that I spent with someone I regret. Nor can I undo something tragic, that I think was a mistake, but I chose to do it.

I did it. It was my doing. So, was it an experience or a mistake?

That is the question.

This leads me to believe that if you CHOOSE to do something, it might, in fact, be a mistake, not an experience. Do you agree? An experience, to me, is something that happened to you or you were a part of. Like, you went on a trip to Cancun in college with a random group of kids on something called Sunsplash Tours–that’s an “experience.” (okay, full disclosure, I did that, and it might have been a mistake. Just saying.) Or, an experience could be getting stuck in an elevator. That’s a tough “experience,” but it’s not a mistake. It happened to you.

I think this quote was created so that we can exonerate ourselves and not feel shame or guilt for making a bad choice. It’s a pass, an out. I don’t like it. If you consider this wrongdoing a mistake, you are less apt to repeat it. Whereas you often can repeat an experience, and some are good and some are bad. Mistakes, to me, are not something we think of as good.

I spend an inordinate amount of time on wishing I could undo mistakes. Like, if I hadn’t done this then I’d be…always somehow in a better place in life. #wasteoftime (click here if you want to find a way to welcome unwelcome feelings).

We can’t undo our mistakes. We can someday call them experiences, I guess, but the best thing we can do is LEARN FROM THEM!

The other thing we can do is keep making them. I think if you are too afraid to make a mistake, then you will always stay in the safe zone and on the sidelines. You may never make a discovery, personal or professional. I believe in jumping in, full force, and then just spending inordinate amounts of time hating yourself later if it doesn’t work out.

Ha! I mean, that’s kind of what I do. That’s rotten advice. Sorry.


This is good advice though:

And a person who has only experiences, and not mistakes, is not real.

Pet that unicorn for me.

The Universe IS a Thing: How do I Know? (Read to End)

I’ve become sort of obsessed with the idea of a universe, and the notion that there is some invisible hand guiding us towards where we are meant to be. I recently listened to a podcast in which a woman was struggling with fertility, and she lay very still one day, crying, and she asked the universe to send her a sign, any sign, that she was on the right path in her life. It didn’t happen immediately, but later that day, she was sitting at her desk and saw a flock of wild turkeys. They were all over her lawn. She took a moment to notice and looked up what the wild turkey is a symbol of, and guess what? It’s a symbol of fertility! She knew, in that instance, the universe responded to her plea, and she was on the right path.

Okay, for you skeptics, stop laughing, and, no, I have not lost it! I decided, though, I would just try this for myself. I stood very still on my walk after hearing the podcast, and I closed my eyes. My head was tilted up towards the sky, and I said, “Universe, please send me a sign I’m on the right path.” I said this quietly, in a whisper, so a passersby would not think I was a complete freak.

And, you know what happened?

I got a sign! (Well, I think…).

Oh, hello.

When I got home from that walk, I was in my backyard, and I saw something in the baby pool. It was a cricket! And it was drowning. I reached into the water, held the cricket, and let it go. It was safe. I then looked up what the cricket is a symbol of:

“If the cricket crosses your path, it is a symbol of good luck and fortune, so you don’t have to worry for your future. You have worked hard and now it is time to make all your dreams come true. The cricket as your spirit animal will protect you and it will bring joy into your life.”

The cricket is a sign of exceptional luck! I was reassured that I was on the right path. The only issue, and tell me what you think: does it mean something that it was drowning? So, then, I had to look this up, and it said:

“Because of the water, drowning depicts fear of being overwhelmed by difficult emotions or anxieties,”

So, yeah, I think the cricket was reassuring me and mitigating any worries I have about my life in its present state, which is a little unsettling at this time that I’m not working, other than focusing on my writing.

I suggest you, too, try this exercise. Keep your heart and eyes open for the rest of the day to take notice. Let me know what you find in the comments!

P.S. THIS IS CRAZY: I finished writing that sentence, and I saw something coming towards me on my dining room table. And, get this: it’s a ladybug! On my table. Oh my God. It’s on my computer now! I am freaking out. Here is the photo:

Let me see what that means.

What Do Ladybugs Symbolize?

Whether you meet the ladybug in reality or in a dream, it is generally considered a symbol of good luck and happiness.

  • The main meanings of the ladybug are:
  • Good fortune
  • Innocence
  • True love
  • Importance of lightness
  • Changes, even metamorphosis
  • Divine intervention
  • Going beyond illusion
  • A happy resolution to a hassle
  • The miraculous at play in the everyday life
  • The importance of staying alert to avoid pitfalls
  • The need to know yourself well to make the right life choices

WOW! Okay, go try this, guys. Oh, and I guess I’m lucky! Stay tuned!

That was weird! There is a universe…

Welcoming Unwelcome Feelings

Sometimes I wake up in this awful shame cycle and think, “I’d be better off if I just locked myself in a basement.” Does that happen to you? Like, you do something or say something and realize you are really not fit for society? Initially, I woke up today feeling that angst and did everything I could to recalibrate and combat that feeling, like go on my new elliptical machine for 45 minutes while watching reality TV, walking my dogs, and now writing. But, I think, as the poet Rumi suggested, maybe I should just welcome this feeling and sit with it, because it may bring me guidance.

Do you ever feel like this?

In his poem The Guest House, Rumi uses uses the image of a guest house as a metaphor that each day is an opportunity to experience something new in our lives, even if it’s unexpected, and each feeling should be welcomed, no matter how unpleasant. We must welcome these “guests,” or feelings of happiness and joy as well as shame and depression. In treating these visitors with equal respect and courage, no matter how unwelcome the feelings are, we can learn from them, and perhaps use them to navigate moving forward.

Okay, so I am sitting here now, welcoming these feelings…and eating pretzels #truth. That is one thing I feel gross about: I ate like 9,000 carbs yesterday, including hot pretzel nuggets with cheese and, that’s not all, it was followed by a bowl of pasta. That’s so not on the diet. However, I did run 7 miles, so maybe that’s allowed! Don’t runners maul pasta before a race? Okay, so I did it afterwards, with a glass of wine…maybe not a tip in Women’s Fitness magazine.

I also can over-share. I do this like every day. I mean, I guess being a blogger, you need to share yourself. If I didn’t write anything personal, it would not resonate with readers. I so envy those who wear their cards close to the vest: the keen listeners and observers who probably never leave a party and think, “Wait, WHY did I say that?!”

So, on the flip side, here I am criticizing myself AGAIN, adding to the shame cycle, which I should in fact be instead welcoming. What can I learn from that? I guess to shut my yapper? Become a different person? I like myself though! I just wish I could be myself, but alone in the basement. I care too much about what others think.

Who are your “house guests” today? Please leave a comment. Oh, and if you don’t know the poem, here it is:

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

Committing to a Good Day

Do you ever wonder when your to-do list will end? Will you ever get it all done? I have come to the conclusion that I will not. The dishwasher will always be full. Is that a metaphor for my glass is half-full and not half-empty? I sure hope so.

woman in gray sweater drinking coffee
My glass is half-full! This isn’t me, but I mean, maybe in my head.

There are so many things I need to get done in this house: paint the back, repair the basement sliding doors, get new floors, re-carpet the entire pee-stained rug in my daughter’s room. Okay, let’s be honest. I need to just get a match, light it, and start over here.

BUT! That is not the point! The point is I will NEVER get all of this done. My house will always need something! There will always be more I could do! Oh, and did I mention I have to go to Coinstar? With the amount of change we have collected, I will be able to  quell the nation’s coin shortage crisis while simultaneously buying $300 worth of groceries! Win-win! (Oh, right. I also need to go to the market).

IMG_2764
One of our coin jars.

Okay, so the point I’m trying to make is this– let’s go easy on ourselves. Let’s let ourselves off the hook, especially right now. These are not great times, and we need to be gentle to ourselves and our to-do lists. In fact, maybe we should burn those and just put one thing on the to-do list: Have a good day.

Right? Let’s just have a good day. Simple as that! Commit to the day that you will not berate yourself for ANYTHING. Commit to not committing. Wait, now I sound like a 28-year-old man who doesn’t want to get engaged.

Let’s be kind to ourselves today! I hope it’s a good one.

have a great day text beside white ceramic mug with coffee

 

Be a Good Friend–To Yourself

Today, I almost sat on a wolf spider that camouflaged into my couch. It was grey, and my couch is grey. I put him in a glass, covered with a piece of paper, and took him outside. He hopped away.

IMG_2727
Wolf Spider.

Then, I went to get water, and there was a spider that was next to my water bubbler. He was eating some sort of moth he caught, probably from when I had the screen door open last night. I thought to move him, and then I thought, “No, maybe I will keep him, or her, as he’s enjoying his time here, and he’s keeping the insects at bay.”

You may be wondering why I don’t just get an exterminator!

IMG_2721
Here is the one next to my bubbler

But, I have realized, that I kind of love spiders. I used to be grossed out about them. I was freaked out and would vacuum them up, or squish them. Now, I realize most of them won’t do any harm, and they’re sort of sad and victims, because they can’t see well.

I sort of feel like a spider today, and that I can’t see well.

I can’t see myself. 

Sometimes, I can’t see my own self-worth. I talk down to myself, am punitive, and I wish I was different. I look at other women and think, “Wow, I should be more like her. I would look so much better if I just had that Dolce and Gabbana belt or the blown out hair with spiral curls.” Or I think, “If I was just ten pounds skinnier, and I had some Botox.” Or, “I wish I made more money” or “I wish I had a boat.”

These are things I can’t fix. Well, at least not today. What I can fix is my relationship with myself.  

Then I think about all the amazing  gifts I have, and the people in my life, and how I can’t believe I talk to myself this way!  I think how we must be kind to ourselves, as we are our own best friends.

Our internal voice is the one we hear the most. I read this blog post today by Dr. Eric Perry, and it resonated- not only with me, but with many others.

Be gentle with yourself, at least for today. xx

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