Recently, it feels like no matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to erase the ominous “f” word, spelled out across my interior blackboard in capital letters: F A I L U R E.

My insomniac “fail”  rumination was interrupted at dawn when a photograph flew over my e-transom, jolting me out of my gloom, making me laugh out loud. On an anonymously-painted pueblo wall in San Juan la Laguna, a remote village on the shores of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala, a joyous, barefoot weaver works at her backstrap loom, colorful cotton threads exploding from her heddle in writhing patterns, myths, and stories so dense and powerful they even block the sun casting a dark shadow on the ground below.

Hey! I thought. Wake up!

It’s time to retire the “f” word. Time to hang that dark shroud at the back of the cloakroom. Why wear failure’s coat when you can create a bright new one from the threads of your old failures, with which you can strut proudly into your life?

In “Last Night,” Spanish poet Antonio Machado also chides himself about failure, showing it to be an illusion and breaking its somber spell while dreaming and discovering a spiritual fire within his heart:

          Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt––marvellous error!––
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

          Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt––marvellous error!––
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

          Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt––marvellous error!––
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

          Last night, as I slept,
I dreamt––marvellous error!––
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.


Fail Better blue

Susan Dworski

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One thought on “Wake Up: Weave Wonder Out of Failure

  1. Thanks for sharing these inspirations! This column brings joy to my life!

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