Skin of Our Teeth

My mind and heart are still reeling from yesterday’s game against the Redskins. The Saints won it in over time after wallowing in a 10-point deficit until the last minute, forty-two seconds. Our defense was soft as a feather pillow. And the coverage on Colston was ridiculous. They treated him like bomb that was about to explode, which of course he is. We made mistakes, but then the other team made mistakes too. “The Bless You Boys” did not freak out over their own mistakes and just played the game. Throw the ball, catch the ball, carry the ball. Chop wood. Carry water. Brees and his zen mastery kept everyone focused.

Still it was an object lesson for us all. It’ll sound so hokey when you say it out loud, and that’s the problem with wisdom such as this. You can talk about it all you want, but until you receive a vivid, concrete object lesson, conducted in real time with solid bodies moving through space the words don’t sink in. Even then, you may have to receive more than one object lesson before you get it.

The lesson is this: Every failure is an opportunity. If you respond to your own failures by curling around the wound like a hard-back beetle to protect yourself from humiliation, then you create a cascade of reinforcing failures. Defense against failure breeds more failure. The only constructive response to failure is to open to it and treat it as a doorway to a greater sense of your own power. And you have to really really mean it when you do that. You can’t fake it. You have to get your mind right before you can see the words manifested in real time outside your mind. Too many of us mouth the wisdom without deep conviction. It takes a profoundly softened ego—the feminine securely married to the masculine—to release the beetled defense against failure. So when Drew Brees says losing is an opportunity to start a new winning streak, he really really means it. This is not some jibber-jabber he spouts for the reporters. He is a true pilgrim in that sense. His discipline begins between his ears, long before we see it on the field.

Finally, if the New Orleans Saints—historically the most pathetic loser dogs of the NFL, a name synonymous with failure, a broke-back terrible team, consistently a disappointment to those who love them best—if the Saints can pull their collective head out of their metaphorical ass like this, then none of us has any excuse not to do the same.

Wise Emily sent the following message to the Saints:

#677, c. 1863

To be alive — is Power —
Existence — in itself —
Without a further function —
Omnipotence — Enough —

To be alive — and Will!
‘Tis able as a God —
The Maker — of Ourselves — be what —
Such being Finitude!

There is more to say on this anon.

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