Ry Cooder is considered to be one of the greatest bluesmen of all time. Yet, on more than one occasion, with a sold out concert and multiple encores, he asked promoters to refund the audience their money because he felt, “I could have been better.”
I have a painter friend whose art sells for $10,000 a painting. She routinely paints over pieces that are for sale in her gallery. It could have been better, she says.
I’ve gotten standing ovations for speaking gigs. “Meh, I give myself a B. Coulda been better.”
Here’s the confession: I always feel like I’m failing. And succeeding. And failing. And succeeding. And failing.
I’m not masochistic. My glass is not ‘half full’, it is oceanic. I feel sturdy and ripe. But The Subtle & Abiding Sense of Failure Thing…. it’s as steady as the green of my eyes.
If you’re committed to the sacred strive, The Subtle & Abiding Sense of Failure Thing will always be along for the ride.
… In your speech, your craft, your work. Pleasing your lover, planting your garden, dispensing your accumulated knowledge. You can make masterpieces. Daily. You can please some people, get a raise, fire up your kundalini, you can hit it out of the park and sleep like a satiated baby that night. And then in she glides, to sit in the chair in the corner of your room: The Subtle & Abiding Sense of Failure Thing.
She’s an angel, I tell you. An angel.
You are not insecure, neurotic, defective, obsessive, or unappreciative.
(Well, maybe you are, but not because you experience The Subtle & Abiding Sense of Failure Angel.)
Coexisting with The Subtle & Abiding Sense of Failure Angel is part of making art.
She is as reliable as your creative impulses.
She comes bearing invitations. To more.
The Subtle & Abiding Sense of Failure Angel is able to enter because you left your heart open.
Leave it open.
You have to.
To make more stuff.
To make it better, so that we evolve and bring one another along for the ride.
Where demons get to be angels if you look at them the right way.