Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Value in mistakes

I'm beginning to understand how closely the act of living resembles the creative process, and how clearly principles in one can apply to the other. 

Take mistakes, for example: we all make them.  But instead of flagellating ourselves for doing so, can we not see them as opportunities to shift direction -- even as messages our internal wisdom may be sending, to say we might be on the wrong path?

I'm not talking about repeat mistakes, or lapses/relapses into addictive behaviors.  As one of our refrigerator magnets says, "Make new mistakes!"  But read these words from Shaun McNiff's Trust the Process, and see if you don't agree mistakes can have value even beyond the world of art:

"The discipline of art requires constant experimentation, wherein errors are harbingers of original ideas because they introduce new directions for expression.  The mistake is outside the intended course of action, and may present something we never saw before, something unexpected or contradictory, an accident that can be put to use.

Mistakes break the continuities of intention with slips and distortions...Deviations often generate distinctive qualities. They move us forward and into unexplored terrain... The mistake is a message that calls for attention... If you view your life as an ongoing invention, mistakes shed their onerous nature.  The only serious deficit involves the inability to respond... Often we need to break down tired patterns before we can create new ones."

So if there's something you've been kicking yourself for -- look again.  And as my husband is fond of saying, "What did you learn from this?"  There might just be a wonderful new opportunity hiding in that mistake...

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

This looks like a Whirling Dervish, I like!