I recently watched a great movie: Queen of Katwe. The protagonist is a young woman raised in a Ugandan slum with few prospects for a bright future apart from her passionate and newly discovered adeptness for Chess. At a memorable stage we find her utterly defeated and ready to give up after a blindsiding loss at a promising Chess Tournament. She entered with great confidence, and fled with her ego crushed, ready to lay to rest her dreams of a better life.
Her coach shared his own personal story of defeat – of being alone with life’s odds stacked against him. He then encourages her that even though she can’t see a way through, to never give up but instead…
“Reset the pieces and play again.” You can always play again.
This, I thought, is exactly what I’m doing.
I’m clearing the field, resetting the pieces and starting again.
This pilgrimage is many things. It’s scary as hell. It’s liberating. It’s challenging my attachments, as well as indulging the parts of me that sometimes want to just drop everything and disappear.
Why am I doing this? Why have I closed my humblingly successful business, rehomed my dearest companion, Taco,
…and prepared to set out with virtually no plan and nothing more than a backpack and limited savings?
I don’t know. I only know that I must. I feel my life depends on it.
I cannot continue to live this life as is. My soul aches for more. Aches for discovery and richness of experience. 2014 was the Year of Devastating Loss. 2015 was the Year of Survival. 2016 perhaps the Year of Unfettering. 2017? We shall see.
I have no delusions of this being easy and painless. I fully anticipate being confronted with my unhealed wounds, my blind spots, my ignorances and vulnerabilities. And as happens when you are striped bare of your comforts and perceived security, I know that I will also have a chance to see my strengths revealed as they rise up to meet my challenges. I know that my path will cross with many others who will inspire and teach me, who will reveal themselves to me and reveal me to me. Those whose shared destiny will be unlocked after we’ve both said ‘yes’. Beyond that I cannot predict the path. All I know is that I must go. I must let go. I must trust.
I have worked hard to develop my heart, my hands, and my head. They serve me and others well, but I will admit I am embarrassed at times with how much I still have to learn, how foolish and ignorant I sometimes catch myself being.
I want to do good. I want to be good. But sometimes I mess up and don’t do things well. I lack skill. I lack wisdom. Those who know me well know that I tend to be quite hard on myself. Part of my work is to remember that it’s ok for me to not always get it right – for me to try and “fail”. That’s what life is: imperfect, impermanent, trial and error, actions and their consequence. An experiment. Many, many experiments in fact. We pick an approach, go for it, see what happens, and (hopefully) learn from it.
We can always reset the pieces and try again.