Gilberts’s Icarus: Reframing Failure

Failing and Flying

by Jack Gilbert

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It’s the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph. Continue reading

Defining Success Part 2: Spiraling up

 

I could have fallen into a pit of bitterness and negativity with no chance of spiraling up, if I hadn’t joined in parallel to my business activities, a group coaching circle (it was not called coaching then), with a workshop called : Recover Your Creative Energy. This circle helped me make the fateful and salutary decision of closing down the business, I’d been putting off for the last 2 years.

My tribulations, during that time, were worthy of a picaro character or was it a personable but ultimately dead Icarus? Only penultimate Icarus: Just in time before complete burnout. Unfortunately, I revisited the lesson of overextending myself to near burnout twice more afterwards, until I find inner guidance and some subsequent measure of inner peace (See Icarus Lessons, in preparation). And that’s how I came to teach what I needed to learn, by becoming a coach. Continue reading