Learning from our MistakesBy Patricia A'dagata
June 07, 2008
Opening to compassion for our mistakes.
As part of my studies into native spirituality I am taught a number of wheels and keys. Wheels are circles, everything is taught in a circle because it has no beginning and no end. This helps one to move from the linear thinking of "if this is this then that" and into an understanding of how everything impacts everything else. It also teaches us that everything is fluid, in constant motion.
Keys are the concepts, the ideas and thoughts. I would like to share a basic wheel with each of you. That wheel is called "The Wheel of Mistakes". What I am sharing is a very basic understanding that I have of this wheel. As with all of the wheels that we are taught there are levels and levels of knowledge that grow the more I learn. So, draw a circle on a piece of paper. At the bottom, which would be considered the south of the wheel, write "Willingness to make mistakes". Basically this equates to step one of Inner Bonding. It is accepting 100% responsibility for our growth and knowing that mistakes will happen. It is a reminder that we are human and that mistakes are our greatest teachers.
On the top (north) of the circle write, "the willingess to learn from our mistakes." This equates to step two of Inner Bonding. This is where the loving adult opens their eyes with compassion and begins to explore what happened. The Loving Adult asks, "how did I give you away, how did I allow someone to violate your boundaries, etc." The Loving Adult accepts responsibility for her/his actions and makes an effort to learn to do it differently next time.
On the left side of your circle (west) write, "learning from the mistakes of others." This isn't to invite pain onto others. Instead, it speaks to community such as this. It is where others post of their challenges (on the membership Discussion Boards) and how they gracefully or not so gracefully walked through them. It is where the Loving Adult within us can ask, "what do I take away as a learning for my healing and growth from this person's willingness to share." It is the gift of the "one to the many and the many to the one."
On the right side of your circle (east) write, " learning from the mistakes of your teachers." This is why I so often post of my own experiences as I travel through this process. As a facilitator of the process I see myself as a teacher. So I offer my mistakes and how I journeyed throught them as an opportunity for others to learn.
Finally, in the center write, "learning without making mistakes." That which sits in the center is what drives the movement around the circle as well as speaks of our deepest desire at the soul's level. So what drives us to be in any direction on this circle is the desire to get to a place where we no longer have to make mistakes to learn.
Inner Bonding is a powerful process that allows us to experience more and more opportunities of learning through love and joy rather than mistakes and pain. It is a process that places us in the center of our circle so that we can "see" the opportunities presented by mistakes whether they be our own or others. It invites us to look with the eyes of compassion even in those moments that we choose to act from our woundedness. Next time you make a mistake, open the compassionate eyes of the Loving Adult and simply ask, "what can I learn?" For in reality there are no mistakes - just moments of growth opportunities.
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Today, notice what you do when pain comes up - especially the pain of loneliness and heartache when someone is being unloving with you. Do you get irritated, angry or judgmental? Do you resist or withdraw? Do you people-please and give yourself up? Do you numb out with food or other substances, or with activities such as TV? Notice the ways you might be avoiding your feelings rather than compassionately attending to them.
By Dr. Margaret Paul