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Mistakes and life

This morning, I was speaking to a young girl about a supposed mistake she made.  I still don't know whether or not what she did was a mistake, but in the end, it does not matter.  I absentmindedly responded by saying, "good or bad, did you learn anything?  What we take away from what happens in life is all that matters."

I paused after pressing send.

My whole morning, the many interactions I had, the many people I spoke to, all of them were connected for a brief moment and in that instant I knew I had said something important.  So I set aside a note in my phone to write about it.  

Our mistakes, our failures, our pains-- all of them are like the fires of a blacksmith's forge.  The more real the mistake, the more powerful the fire that is put to us.  Some events are like an open candle flame, others a burning forge, and few as hot as the inner belly of a star.  It is a combination of how hot the flames our life puts us in and our skill as blacksmiths and artists of the self that determines whether this heat forges a katana, turns us into a diamond, immolates and illuminates our body and spirit, or simply destroys us.  

So next time you have a bad day or make a bad call, ask yourself: what did I learn?  How will this shape me?  Will it slump me over like a melting statue?  Will it fold my blade into a sharper form?  Will it give me a great story that will spur a laugh with a friend?  Will it light a candle so that I can find my way in the darkness? 

Remember the words of Rumi: 
Fear and hurt are lassoes pulling you through a door.  Lord, lord, you say, weeping.  And green herbs sprout from where those tears fall.

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