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PAUSE – 13.01 – Handling Goofs & Gaffes With Grace & Gusto

Ethan's 'Bird & Toast'

Reflection: We’re now a full week into 2013. Chances are good that you’ve already goofed up on something; or if not yet, soon will. That’s not a prediction of doom, but simply a statement of probability.

We all mess up. It’s a given. We stumble over a new year’s resolution. We miss an appointment or renege on a promise. The question is: what do we do when we err?

While painting together over the holidays, my 5 year old grandson, Ethan, treated me to a live life-lesson on handling ‘mistakes’. You’ll find his masterpiece posted with this message. Take a peak now. It will help make sense of the story.

Here’s what happened. Ethan set out to paint a small glass perfume bottle that sparkled on the window ledge in the studio. It did not go well.

He sat back and evaluated, noting that his image did not look at all like the bottle. However, he could see the possibility of a bird, so he added feathers and legs to make it so.

Once there was a bird in the picture, he added a tree trunk and branches, green leaves, red berries, a nest and eggs. Contemplating his pic so far, he remembered that squirrels like trees. So he set about adding a squirrel to the picture. It did not go well.

Once again, he sat back and took stock. What to do with a shapeless brown splotch? Inspiration arose. He would turn it into a slice of toast, as he knew from experience that birds like crumbs. He was sure it would all work out. And so it did!

I was amazed at his flexibility of mind and his ability to adapt to changing circumstances. No recriminations. No self-loathing about lack of skill. No tossing in the tools, giving up, or stomping away! Instead, he steadily focused on two questions. How now? And, what next?


Action: Ethan’s approach was a perfect example of a stress reducing practice referred to as Accept & Adapt.

When life goes sideways, Accept the truth of the circumstances in which you now find yourself. Don’t just plow straight ahead ignoring the new facts.

Having Accepted what’s happened, choose a way to Adapt. Make the necessary adjustments to respond to the new reality.

May we all be so loosely attached to our expectations that we stay open to other possibilities.

Happy New Year to you all!


Quotes Of The Week: There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen

When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful. – Billie Mobayed


Resource Of The Week: Enjoy this short and lively video, Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg. It’s a brilliant expression of the insight that mistakes can be a springboard to something even more amazing. I was tickled by the fact that it’s billed as suitable for ages 3 and up – all the way up!


Readers Write: In response to the last e-zine message of 2012 that focused on Gratitude, Pause reader LA writes: “Thanks so much for the year’s worth of great reading. I so appreciate your message this week on gratitude. Over the past few weeks I have been grateful to be able to wrap my arms around my two small children who are safe and healthy, while my heart aches for the parents in Newtown, Connecticut, who have suffered such an unbearable loss. Be grateful for every day and every moment you have with your loved ones.

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Artwork, Life Balance, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines

No Responses to “PAUSE – 13.01 – Handling Goofs & Gaffes With Grace & Gusto”

  1. Ruth Goudreau

    We can learn so much from the “babes” in our life. Good for Ethan!

  2. Pat Katz

    We sure can, Ruth! I’m always watching for the lessons.

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