I was told, once, by a teacher that we practice so that our body won’t get in the way of what our soul wants to express.
I believe this saying in mostly the same way I believe you can’t compare apples to oranges. I understand what it’s trying to say with my intellect, but not so much with my heart. It sort of makes sense, if you think about it.
But some days, I have a great need to Create. Some days, I see visions of the things I might make, if only my body were skilled enough, and then I understand my teacher with my heart and my head. On these days, days like today, I often avoid trying to Create, because I strongly suspect that I will fail.
But what’s a little failure? If I try, and fail, I will have learned something, and next time I will do better. Each time I fail, I knock down one more barrier, my path is a little easier next time. Maybe, by the time I’m old, I will have knocked down enough to have a clear path. If I don’t try, at the end of my life, the forest of obstacles will still be there.
If I don’t try, I won’t fail, but I will also never succeed. I would like to see the visions I have come to life. I want to see them dance through the sun, and to share them with my loved ones. I want you to see what I see when I put my hand on the lovely vintage lace, or when I lose myself in my studio for days.
A few times, I’ve come close. I have made one dress that was so nearly perfect to my vision that it made me want to cry with pride. I have made another dress that was perfect to my vision, because I started by falling in love with the pattern for it. Years ago, I painted what I saw, and it was good enough that I could admit it.
Now, after years and years of practice, my creations are closer and closer to my vision. I’m learning skills and techniques and they’re becoming part of me; no longer things I need to think about, they are simply things my hands do for me when it’s appropriate. The most important thing I’ve learned, though, is how to fail well.
I give it my all. I use the beautiful fabric, I waste the nice leather, the good tools. I ruin the vintage lace. It’s heartbreaking, but if I do not try, I cannot succeed, and I’m not trying if I’m using second rate supplies or running on no sleep. I have learned to fail with all my heart, and to smile when I’m done, and love the creation for its flaws and for what I learned. These days, I often also love it because it is beautiful, if not exactly what I had in mind.
We all fail. Repeatedly. Horribly. Fail joyfully, knowing that you gave it everything you have, because anything less will never ever create what you wanted anyway. Fail spectacularly, gleefully, messily. Create with a vengeance. If you keep at it, and get lucky, your body will learn to get out of your soul’s way.