Sunday, December 2, 2007

In praise of mistakes

There was a time in my life when I was fascinated enough by Aikido to visit a couple of dojos and watch them do their stuff. I was impressed by the beauty, grace, and daring of the movements, but it didn't take long for me to face the truth that I didn't want to throw myself around like that, or get flipped around by partners.

During that period, I also read a few books about that Japanese martial art, including The Intuitive Body by Wendy Palmer. In a chapter called, "Practice," she retells the story of a Chinese man who climbs a mountain to ask a hermit sage about the meaning of life:

What is the most important aspect of one's life?


How do you get experience?

Good judgment.

How do you get good judgment?

Bad judgment.

This week, may we all have the good judgment to seek learning and experience in the things we want to do more than anything else in the world. And may we then be fortunate enough to make some mistakes that will help us become better at those things we want to do. I can almost guarantee that if I do the former, the latter is sure to follow. :)


Nancy P said...

11 p.m.
See you in the morning.
Somebody start the espresso machine, please, and pop the croissants into the toaster-oven. There's butter and jam in the fridge.

Rick Bylina said...

It's 4:07 a.m. I think I'm having my bad experience...bad dreams keeping me awake...verbs chasing adverbs...nouns being swalled by boa constricting adjectives. I've got job interviews on my mind, leafs in the yard, and a blood test in six hours (nothing serious, just the physical type of thingee). I want to eat roast duck, but my cockateil and parakeets give me weird looks when I think about it. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result, then I guess the mountain top guru must be right. I will not rake my leaves into the mighty wind and go back to bed for another hour.

AndiF said...

And the Monday picture post adds to your commentary -- may we all learn to keep our judgment, good or bad, in perspective.

Good morning all.

Kimberly Frost said...

We are a crazy group of insomniacs today! I am up too since 3:30 am. What's up with that?

Nancy, loved this post.

Family Man said...

Morning Nancy and everyone.

It appears to me good judgment is something I've never had. Although I think some people throw good judgment to the wayside a lot of times. Have you every done something to where you think this isn't going to turn out good, but you go ahead and do it anyway. The little things I figure you can learn from, but sometimes the big things are so life changing you wonder what can or did I learn from this.

I really do think luck, if there is such a thing, plays a big part in whether it's good or bad judgment.

Damn I'm sounding somber today. :) said...

This week, may we all have the good judgment to seek learning and experience in the things we want to do more than anything else in the world.

It's so nice you would say this today, Nancy. Thank you.

Andif, sometimes your photos are too good -- so fcking good that it looks easy. This tree is beautiful. Your way of seeing this tree and then showing it is a little miracle. Stunning and quiet -- wow!

TimothyTang said...

Hi, my name is Timothy Tang and I have just completed the book, "Real answers to The Meaning of Life and finding Happiness".

Many people feel that the interpretation to The Meaning of Life question is too subjective to have any definite objective answer but I have managed to formulate a real and objective answer to the ultimate question of human existence.

I have made a blog that introduces the book. Do check it out. said...

I really do think luck, if there is such a thing, plays a big part in whether it's good or bad judgment.

LOL, FamMan. If there isn't luck then I guess it doesn't play a big part in anything.

But sometimes the big things are so life changing you wonder what can or did I learn from this.

No shit. :-) You know the old saw "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger"? I've never heard this without thinking, "Yeah, but what about the stuff that does? Kill you."

Nancy, can you leave Timothy in place? Please. He so fits in today. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Morning, everyone! What deep thoughts so early...

When I was a ski bum in Aspen, one of my favorite t-shirts said: No Guts, No Glory. It was usually accompanied by two black diamonds, which means "Don't even THINK about skiing here unless you know what the he** you're doing." (Ski runs are marked by a green circle [beginner], a blue square [intermediate], and a black diamond [advanced].)

But it was a good lesson. No risk, no reward. If you don't try, you might not fail, but you'll also never succeed. As long as I learn from my mistakes, they're worth it. And as long as I don't repeat them!

I'm off to fix mistakes, and make more, in the pursuit of learning. And hope that good judgment prevails.

(there's decaf in that machine too, right, Nancy?) said...

Kimberly, Rick. I picture you both sitting in an all-night diner earlier this morning. Or riding a bus through Oklahoma while the moon sets.

Hope your wakefulness was an ok trip and the donuts were fresh.

And if not, remember the subliminal messages of the design of the universe: Round donut. Round cup. said...

When it comes life, Beth, would be nice if someone marked the entry spots to relationships with Blue Circles, Green Squares, and Black Diamonds.... :-)

I think that tree Sonny Bono ran into is Mr. Tang's objective answer to the meaning of the universe. I have also managed to formulate a real and objective answer to the ultimate question of the universe, btw. Answer is: No. Please, No. said...

Tang's website of "Real answers to The Meaning of Life and finding Happiness" includes his 'World's best Vegan Pancakes recipe.'

I KNEW it was donuts, dammit!

P.S. Can I get bacon with that?

Anonymous said...

Boy isn't that the truth, ghost! Relationships. Jobs. Fashion choices. Triple hot fudge sundaes.

(Why do these conversations always end up with food...? Something subliminal going on there.)

I've had my share of black diamonds, thank you. Beth dreams of big green circles...

katiebird said...

I can't just lurk -- I've gotta say that I love the post (thanks, Nancy!)

And I miss chatting here. I'll have more time someday (probably not in December....)

Anonymous said...

We miss you, kb! Just stick your nose in now and then and wave. Good luck getting everything done that you need/want to.

Nancy P said...

Wow, Andi, it's an ant's life.

Hi, everybody. I'll be more specific in a bit, but first I have to tell Ghost before I forget, I heard two ghost stories yesterday!

Yesterday, my neighbor, a sweetie in her fifties, came over to let me know we now have four wild turkeys in the back yard, not just three, and that owls are hooting to each other in the woods in the mornings. Then she told me how it was her father who nurtured her love of animals and plants. And then, out of the blue, she told me that on the night after her beloved father's funeral she was lying in bed and she saw him. Saw him, she said with wide-eyed emphasis, in the room. Her sister later saw him, clear as day, my neighbor said, when she took a walk along a path in some woods.

There was also an odd wind that blew through the funeral right after the 20-gun salute, on an otherwise windless day. said...

Something about the turkeys and owls, Nancy, has me wanting to warn you to keep an eye out for Lords A'Leaping in the next few days. :-)

Ghosts out walking around are my favorite. Especially on a wooded path. That's what I'll be doing.

Given a day to be a ghost after you die, where will you show up?

Anonymous said...

At the big party I want my friends to have after I'm gone, with a keg and lots of chocolate and tequila. That way I can let them know I'm fine, and not to be sad that I'm gone, but to celebrate that they knew me.

It'd be a shame to miss such a great party!

Nancy P said...

Given a day to be a ghost after you die, where will you show up?

Oh, what a great question, though my answer is mundane. I'd show up to my son and mom to let them know all is well. And hope the shock wouldn't kill them. :)

Where would you show up? said...

Where would you show up?

Oh, I had some ideas. But now I'm gointg to Beth's party.

Jen said...

How do you get good judgment?
Bad judgment.

Well, I'm rocketing my way to success!

Andi, that picture sure does "talk tall".

No risk, no reward.

Amen, sister.

Kelly McCullough said...

Andi, cool pic. I see a dragon/ent from the point of view its rider sitting at the base of the neck.

MaryB said...

Hey, good morning from North of the River.

My dad saw grandmother after she died. She appeared at the foot of his bed and said, "I have been conceived." Then she was gone.

I had another friend whose mother called her on the phone (really). The phone range at two in the morning. When she answered her mother's voice said "Rebecca" and then faded away. No one but her mother ever called her that.

I have always had a fear that someone who just died would show up at the foot of my bed. That would scare me silly. But so far no one ever has.

I, however, did hear your dad during his funeral. He was singing "How Great Thou Art" right beside me. It was absolutely wonderful. He had such a joyful singing voice.


Nancy P said...

Well, I'm rocketing my way to success!

Lol, Jen.

Poor rick! Those damn verbs, so jealous of their turf, not wanting adverbs to horn in.

Kimberly, maybe you can take a nap, ala Family Man?

Speaking of whom. . .FM, at least you have the good judgment to blog. :)

Nancy P said...

MaryB! (This is my cousin, MaryB, not Maryb from St. Louis.) I'm not sure I ever heard any of those stories before. Wow. I'm so glad to hear the one about my dad. . .he really did have a wonderful singing voice. Have you told my mom that? She'd love it.

The one about your grandmother suggests reincarnation.

I've heard about phone call ghosts. I think they are reported with some frequency. Is that true, Ghost? (He writes books about real-life ghost reports.)

Family Man said...

OK I've got a question here. Do ghost have a distance constraint. I mean I would like to let family and friends know I'm OK and hit all the parties. But I want to do some traveling and meet ghost I've never met. Speaking of, once you become a ghost if you could meet other ghost, who would you meet? Past world leaders, movie stars or in my case Arnold the pig. Although I don't know if I would be talking to sausage or Arnold.

Thanks for the compliment Nancy, but the blogging is just a manifestation of pure slackdom. If I didn't do this, then I'd be sitting out by the road waving at people, and truly, that 20 yards is just too far to walk. :)

AndiF said...

I'm glad people like that picture because I had to lie on my back and expose my belly to the Pack to get it -- and with 3 dogs ranging from 30 to 80 lbs, I consider this one of the bravest things I can do.

Way to go, Jen -- 'cause bad judgment is the ultimate source material for all great fiction. ;)

FARfetched said...

Must have been a night for not sleeping, or at least not sleeping well. Mrs. Fetched played Doctor Wife and "prescribed" me one of Daughter Dearest's Allegra-D tablets for my sniffles. I knew what would happen, and it did… even though I took the thing in the morning. I woke up around 2:30 and laid awake until at least 3:30, then managed at some point to drop off until around 8. Somehow, I managed to not bring my smellphone with me after taking it off the charger. Mondays Suck.

Andi, was that an example of "wet-belly" photography? That curve at the top is sooo dramatic. "This is which way the wind is blowing."

The not-work is being somewhat intermittent this morning as well. Mondays Suck.

Kelly, I presume there's a third book on the way?

Oh. and there's a new FAR Future post up. FM has already been by. And if you haven't picked up your holiday MP3 yet, scroll down one post.

FARfetched said...


bad judgment is the ultimate source material for all great fiction.

Were that true, people would be mentioning my name alongside Steinbeck!

AndiF said...

Ah, Far, note that I didn't say that bad judgment automatically results great fiction.

(One hopes though that it does lead to whole lot of fun to be traded for one good judgment and two utility judgments to be named at later date.)

Kelly McCullough said...

Far, 3rd's in preprint now and will be out in June, 4th's about half finished and my agent and I are discussing a proposal for a 5th--which will likely be the last in that series at least for the immediate future.

Tea today, but delicate stomach didn't like it. Very sad. Hoping stomach becomes less delicate between now and lunch or I'm going to have to have something gentler than the chorizo and eggs that are currently in the plans.

Bad judgment, I'll just say I've had my share and leave it at that, though I'm sure that any number of people who've known me for longer than about four hours could come up with some examples.

Kimberly Frost said...

Ghost -

hee hee. round donut, round cup. No wonder I love donuts and coffee so much. I was not at an all-night diner. When I used to do a lot of night shifts, on nights that I was off I would meet a writer friend at House of Pies and we'd talk craft and have strawberry rhubarb pie.

Nancy, did you know that if I sent a post to the WRW loop and said "Nancy Pickard has Wild Turkey in her yard," that a certain author might drop in a for a visit? I have seen him drink it. ;)

Visited Kelly's blog. Very interesting post on the Sci Fi writers' association's controversy regarding piracy. Had no idea about it. Thanks for keeping writers in the know.

Wave to everyone. Think nap was a good suggestion.

Nancy P said...

Beth, did I say hi to you? And you, too, Kelly. Hey, far, it's exciting to see a new episode is up.

On ski trails, I was good at obeying signs, but in life? Not so much, lol. "Oh, look, all the signs say this is a Black Diamond High Risk area. Let's go there!"

Nancy P said...

If I didn't do this, then I'd be sitting out by the road waving at people,

Lol, FM! Just incorrigibly sociable, that's us.

That reminds me of something you would never do, however. I'm sick of those School Crossing Guards who wave at everybody. One guard did it around here years ago and got her face in the paper, and now every guard does it. Enough already. It's getting creepy. said...

I'm sick of those School Crossing Guards who wave at everybody.

Nancy, there used to be a guy in KC up toward 31st St & SW Blvd (or Trafficway -- I always confused the two) who would feign throwing baseballs at the windshields of cars to get them to stop at the pedesterian crossing.

He'd do the whole show, too. As major league pitcher. He'd lean in from an erect sideeways stance, facing traffic, holding his imagined ball in glove, shake off a couple signals, nod, lean back... wind up... and throw.

He was great!

Oh, but he wasn't a crossing guard. He'd just run out from behind a tree into the crossing and do his show in the middle of the day.

I think someone finally ran over his ass. Our country doesn't understand art.

Nancy P said...

Ghost, lol! I wish I'd seen that.

Family Man, your question about what ghosts we'd like to meet? I'd ask to meet Jesus and the Buddha and hope somebody shows up.

Family Man said...

LOL Nancy you would never make it down here with the waving. Everybody waves. I wrote up something about car waving a little while back - I’m a waver.

Actually if you look at it, there are so many type of wavers, it's kind of interesting to see the differences.

I've been thinking this morning who I'd like to meet from the past, and I really can't come up with anyone except for great grandparents going back a long way. I would love to see what their everyday lives were like and what kind of people they were. Plus give them a swift kick in the pants for not making me some heir to a fortune. ;)

Anonymous said...

I was introduced to the waving phenomenon when I moved to a small town in WA. Within days, I was lifting two fingers off the steering wheel like a local.

Now I only do it when I'm visiting small towns...but it feels so good to have someone greet you with a wave. As long as it isn't the one-fingered kind...

Must be my southern roots, fam!

Family Man said...

So you're a two finger waver Beth. I'm a four finger hand on steering wheel waver. Well sometimes I do get exuberant and do a full hand wave. :)

Anonymous said...

I guess folks in Washington are more subdued, fam. The two-finger wave has a subtle, reserved quality that I like.

Unless I actually KNOW the person, then I'll swerve, honk, stick my arm out the window and wave frantically. Hoping that I actually DO know the person... :-)

Nancy P said...

I'm a two-fingered waver in the country and driving past highway workers holding signs.

I'd wave at you guys. :)

FARfetched said...

The bikers usually wave at each other. There's a few stuck-ups (usually on Harleys or BMWs) that don't, but they're the exception rather than the rule.

Family Man said...

Beth the two finger wave is too subtle for me. I like people who are really animated and jump up and down. Sort of leaves any question out if they're glad to see you or not.

Nancy I'd wave at everyone here and I'd be jumping up and down. :)

FAR I never knew that about bikers. Especially the Harley and BMW riders.

Conda said...

Great post, Nancy--sometimes my biggest cooking mistakes (Whoops, added too little, forgot an ingredient, added too much)have turned out the best recipes.

Go figure.

Nancy P said...

Hi, Conda. Congrats again on passing your test.

boran2 said...

Late, late, late to the party but I'll add Amen.

Nancy P said...

Late, but always welcome, b2. You have looong days.