Not long ago I had the honor of teaching at a skill swap. It was a lovely, peace-filled day full of happy, smiling people intermingling, learning a thing or two and sharing both bread and a dance step. I taught a class on hand sewing a tee shirt…and I failed at it. Really…not one student had enough time to pick up a needle let alone stitch a stitch. Not only did I misjudge the time it would take to cut out our patterns and fabric, but I also did not plan for an outdoor venue. The wind would not let our patterns and tissue paper rest, not for one moment. And I didn’t ask for enough tables. Ugh.
When my class was over, my heart sunk with dismay and that harsh, little internal voice whispered, “See, you’re not good enough. Who do you think you are? What gives you the right to reach for this dream?”. Then the most lovely thing happened, my wise woman spoke firmly and said, “what this was, was a learning experience, nothing more. You are enough. You have what you need, right now. “.
As testament to the work I’ve put in this past year or so, I didn’t sink into shame, but took my lessons and had a really wonderful day. I’ve spent much of my life fearing that if I wasn’t amazing, impressive even, that I would not be loved. I didn’t know this about myself until recently. Finding myself underwater, after the birth of my son, brought this painfully to the surface. I had never before felt depression, I had never felt so needy, and along with it came this torrential pain that no one would love me like this. To be clear, I have several lovely humans in my life that love me just as I am, impressive or not, but the stories/beliefs that live in the shadows have such power. It took hitting the bottom of that hole for me to really look at what was there and ask myself why. I spent the last year or so, gently reading, meditating and doing the work that was mine to do. (Also, that’s when the baby started sleeping through the night…so that helped.)
And honestly, I sensed that I didn’t have enough time for this class from the get go. My intuition was quietly speaking for weeks…but I’ve yet to consistently listen to her. I can’t say how many times I’ve had this small feeling that something wasn’t quite right and yet I forge ahead. This is my lesson in this exact moment of my life…courage to follow my intuition and recognize it when it speaks.
But still, I had a great time in my class. I loved engaging with the folks and I loved sharing my passion for handwork and for garment sewing. I loved working with each person to fit the pattern to their unique measurements and talking about why that was important and how I found it so empowering.
And you know…several folks came to me throughout that day and told me how much they enjoyed the class and I even received a lovely e-mail saying how inspired this student was and thanking me. I’m struck by the thought that when we follow our passion and come from openness and service, it all works out…failing or not. Let’s give it another go, shall we?