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  • catherine stemper

Clearing the Path

I posted a quote on my Pinterest page today about how sometimes a great storm clears the path. It made me think about the great storms in my life and how I fared. Success in staying afloat or failure and sinking to the depths? Both have value. The value of failure is underestimated by most of us. Failure is feared and shamed. The value in failure is it brings learning, usually, eventually. Repeated failure, and bad luck is demoralizing, crushing, paralyzing. How do we rise from failure?


Begin with forgiveness, everyone makes mistakes, everyone. Everyone deserves forgiveness, everyone. Forgive yourself, grieve the loss, but know that there will be the next step of moving on. Aim for that next step, even if you cannot see it yet. I got through my darkest days (years) just by knowing it was not going to last forever. Everything changes. Even if I could not see what was going to change or how the misery would end, I knew it would. As Joni Mitchell sings "Everything comes and goes, pleasure moves on too early and trouble leaves too slow".


I am blessed with a positive disposition. No, I am not. I work on it all the time. I get angry, judgmental, mean. Usually when I am tired, hungry, or late, I fail at being good. I try to have the humility to apologize, but sometimes the moment is lost. I take my lesson to heart, and do better next time. I am not young but I am still learning and practicing and failing. Experience has taught me that when I succeed in kindness, understanding, and patience, life is happier, easier, and satisfying. When I fail, I get a new perspective on myself and others.


Sometimes luck is just bad, and there is no one to blame. Bad luck is the worst. It happens to all of us. I also believe good luck happens to all of us. Is it in equal measure? I doubt it, but I think the trick with luck is preparedness and vulnerability. Oprah Winfrey explained good luck as preparedness and opportunity coming together. I think bad luck is just random. We are all vulnerable. The storm clears the path.


Bad luck changes everything. Nothing is like it was. Our plans are ruined. My business model changed within a few weeks. I am lucky because I was already moving towards online retail, and this cleared my path to elevate my online business front. Preparedness meets opportunity? Seems like it. It still hurts. I miss my face to face interactions with other artists/vendors at shows and my customers. I am grateful, however, that I am fine for the moment. Who knows what will happen next? Will I be ready? It won't last, either.





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