I’ve been reading The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. He is a poet and a teacher. His book shares simple truths and life lessons. The entry for September 23 titled Repetition is not failure really resonated with me.
It begins with:
“There is no expected pace for inner learning. What we need to learn comes when we need it, no matter how old or young, no matter how many times we have to start over, no matter how many times we have to learn the same lesson.”
How true is that! Finding and having patience is the best tool for learning. I set goals about what I want to change in my life; different goals throughout the years such as better control over my emotions, a greater sense of calm, or effectively communicating. These inner learnings all take time and usually “aha” moments come when I least expect them. I think I’m making great progress, but then inevitably some sort of trigger happens. Life lessons become cyclical. Learning from them moves on an upward trajectory, plateaus for a while, hits a trigger and maybe reverts back a little, but from the trigger the cycle restarts.
The entry continues with four specific examples of inner learning:
“We fall down as many times as we need to, to learn how to fall and get up.”
“We fall in love as many times as we need to, to learn how to hold and be held.”
“We misunderstand the many voices of truth as many times as we need to, to truly hear the choir of diversity that surrounds us.”
“We suffer our pain as often as is necessary for us to learn how to break and how to heal.”
It starts with the general idea of falling down and then highlights love, truth and pain. My life has included literally physically falling down and metaphorically falling down. I’ve hit low points that often surround love, truth or pain. I remember first loving on my own, selfish terms. I heard other people’s truth, but often reacted with judgement. I’ve had pain enter my life unexpectedly, challenging my status quo.
Patience and repetition in the end have helped me learn to grow from life lessons. As I’ve experienced life and relationships with others, I’ve learned to love myself and others unconditionally. My truth is my truth and it can cause bias, but every person has their own truth. One of the great lessons in life is to learn to respect everyone’s truth and not judge it as right or wrong. With pain, the lesson is to learn that pain is part of life. Pain will come, but more importantly it will pass.
The passage ends with:
“No one really likes this, of course, but we deal with our dislike in the same way, again and again, until we learn what we need to know about the humility of acceptance.”
This passage is about the essence of life. We will have highs and lows, but it’s about approaching our life with curiosity. As long as we’re always open to learning from our experiences we will not succumb to the lows, but grow from them.