This morning I began my work day, as usual, by doing a little work on a painting. It's an artwork I've particularly struggled with in parts and I was determined this morning to make it work.
Only for the first time in a very long time, I completely stuffed up my painting ...
I was using my craft knife to try to delicately remove some of the collage work I'd previously added, when the knife went straight through the canvas, rendering it unusable. And I know this is going to sound strange, but after two long weeks of working on this puppy, I felt a giant sense of relief. Why?
I could finally let go of the struggle.
Whenever I run my workshops, I always tell my participants "Don't be afraid to take risks, It's impossible to stuff up! Just be playful and let it unfold in it's own time. It doesn't matter how long it takes. Trust it will work out for you."
And yet, here I found myself this morning, with a completely effed up canvas. But instead of feeling down on myself, it felt bloody wonderful!
This morning's failure helped me accept something important:
To be alive means, I am going to fail. It's something I face in every moment by being a risk-taker in my life and my artworks.
And although it may seem like you've met a dead end ... it never really is.
It's purely an opportunity to brush yourself off and turn in a new direction.
So you know what I did? I got out my scissors, and I kept cutting that canvas right up. I sliced and I cut until I'd pulled out some beautiful moments, which I taped onto my wall, right in front where I paint, to see every day.
And I wrote somethng special:
I'm willing to Risk Failing
Or in bird-terms:
I'm willing to Risk Falling
Because when you're a beautiful bird and up you're flying high, the higher you go, the longer the fall. But on the same hand - the better the view and deeper you know your own landscape.
So from now on, my workshopees will be learning something new from me:
In the joy of creating freely, you will risk yourself failing.
And when you do fail - which we all do - you will have the chance to dust yourself off and have the courage to step somewhere new and not give up on yourself.
That cut up old canvas turned failure to freedom for me.
And I don't know about you, but taking that risk was a small price to pay for new insight.
I hope this inspires others to be willing to fail and to dust yourself off when you fall flat on your face. Because trust me, the view from the ground makes the sky seem more beautiful.