The Art of … mistakes.

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes. Gandhi

If you have never made a mistake, then my friend, this blog entry is not for you. For the rest of us I invite you to see your mistakes in a different way.

My children were quite addicted to PBS television in the mornings when they were young. One of our favorite shows (as it taught them something and also had adult jokes) was Magic School Bus. I loved Miss Frizzle! She was intelligent, snarky and confident. It was a beautiful thing!

Miss Frizzle was full of energy and wisdom, however my favorite quote from her was, “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”

It seems Miss Frizzle could have very well been sending that message not just to the under ten crowd, but to each of us. Maybe it’s time to see mistakes a little differently.

I will confess to you that I never ever wanted to make ANY mistakes. (who does?) I thought it diminished me, I felt like it made me less intelligent, less honorable, and well, go ahead and choose a few more negative opinions to go along with that. I put a great deal of pressure on myself to be perfect. (like that worked!)

The only thing I accomplished was refusing to learn from the mistakes I made because I wouldn’t take ownership of them. Guess what happens? You get to make them again! Again and again until you learn from them. ugh!

Probably one of the most profound things I have discovered is when I refuse to make mistakes, when I walk so carefully that I try not to stray off the pristine path and get messy, I do not fully live. Life is messy, very messy sometimes- mistakes are all part of that. when I keep myself insulated from getting messy, I also prevent opportunity.

One of the things I love about digital photography is that there are endless opportunities to get that perfect shot. If the photo is horrible, I delete it, yet I am able to take literally thousands of shots in order to get “the one”. There is no guilt involved, no stress. I simply hit DELETE on my photo “mistakes”. Why on earth can’t we approach life that way?

Here are a few thoughts-

First- let go of the guilt.
Guilt is preventing you from really living. What does it serve any way? Why do we attach guilt with everything as humans. I am in NO way telling you not to be responsible for your actions, only to see your mistake for what it is, not pile on a bunch of negativity with a side of suffering. Remember a sense of humor doesn’t hurt, approach life openly and understand that this is a journey not a single performance.

Secondly- GET MESSY-
Go ahead- I dare you- live 110%. Get messy, try new things, do not let previous mistakes prevent you from discovering new life. Mistakes = opportunity! Should I never take another photograph because I took quite a few bad ones? HECK NO! That should make me want to take even more photographs… in search for “the one”! So, do it, get excited, try new things, experience more not less.

Third- don’t give up.
Obviously, I am not going to wake up tomorrow and decide I should apply for a job at Kodak as an engineer. I am proud to say that I am very happy having an artist brain and skill set. I am not going to “change colors” and instantly have a completely different skill set. Thinking that is possible would pretty much just set me up for failure. However, I do know the talents I am blessed with. That said- I confess to you now that I have made countless mistakes as an artist. I have explored a myriad of ways to be successful with my art. By that admission, I am certain you have figured out that MANY mistakes have been made in the process.

Today, I come to you feeling successful in my mistakes. Create Art 4 Good is the marriage of those mistakes and a collection of who I am. I am thrilled to be on this part of the journey. If the mistakes of the past brought me here then I am successful! I truly believe in this project like none other I have ever ventured in. Determination to find “the right place” for me, brought me here.

Don’t give up!

Mistakes are an opportunity. If you allow yourself to see them in this way, they will become seeds of growth instead of pangs of shame. The art of the mistake includes attitude, ambition and action….

It’s a new day- I invite you to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!
In peace
Susan

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About Susan

I am a human, just like everyone else. My roles in life, mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, friend…artist, advocate of arts and humans has brought me to this place. I support the arts, my fellow artists, while supporting my community, and supporting those in need