Monday, March 14, 2016

Heavy hearts and a philopophy of failure

We had a sad weekend with one of our cats walking on to the spirit world.  For Runa this is quite easy.  She is very sad and then she is done.  She was able to appreciate that our cat was with the ancestors and was still with us as we are all one in the circle.  Sophie did not take same view.  She was pretty inconsolable and we can't say the name of the cat without crying.  It was a hard weekend as it was very unexpected with such a young cat.  We will do a special circle for her, but it was too much to consider this weekend.  Maybe it was too soon, but I gave into Runa and we got another young cat.  Her name is Zippy and she is going to be a good match once the dog stops going insane outside her room.

This loss and Sophie's response brought another loss forward for Joel.  That is the loss of who we thought Sophie would be.  Sometimes we forget or overlook her challenges day to day and sometimes her extra needs come forward very clearly.  The loss of anything makes her extremely anxious, so the loss of someone she loves is so hard for her to process.  As I mentioned before, she says that she does not believe in the circle which makes it hard to comfort her sometimes.  She isn't sure what she believes right now. 

Personally I have been thinking about failure.  I recently finished "The Vault of Dreamers" by Caragh M. O'Brien.  In the book, the students are given an assignment to fail.  They can do anything they want and use any resources they need, but the outcome has to be failure.  This vignette got me thinking about how we usually characterize failure and how you might usefully navigate between the saccharine quotations about "failure is just a step on the path to greatness" and a realistic and useful philosophy of failure.  I pitched the idea to my manger and I am now doing some research in this area for the next few days.  We spend quite a lot of time focused on risk management and mitigation strategies, but less so on what comes after the worst has happened.  What do you think about failure?

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