With Everything Incorporated

By Cheyenne Burroughs
Mar 18th, 2014

Before I left for Colombia I was working on a painting that I really loved. In the midst of trying to squeeze in a few more hours before my flight, I was working on one of the last parts of it only to entirely fuck it up. I drew way outside the lines of my original Sharpie outline and being that this was a painting with which I planned for the natural brown cardboard to be the background, there was no fixing what I had done.

While abroad, I’d sometimes ponder about my unfortunate mistake. I knew that upon my return, I’d be returning to my painting, sitting there on the lonely easel waiting for my company. I wasn’t sure what to do. The idea of giving up entirely had offered some peace. Part of me was still totally pissed. Part of me wished I was a better painter. Part of me thought I should just dump painting all together, that it was a waste of time.

Towards the end of my trip however, I had made a DECISION. I had decided that the painting was salvageable and I knew that I loved it too much to not find a WAY.

All throughout my travels and continuously in the wild adventures of life, I have been learning many things.

One big lesson is that many things are rarely ever perfect, including ourselves. Perfection can mean a certain ideal or standard that one strives for, such as becoming the best version of yourself. But when perfection takes on a negative role, in which you feel guilty for not being “Perfect” or when things don’t work out “Perfectly,” we suffer.

When a situation like this arises, we forget something absolutely Essential not only about who we are, but the ways in which our lives function.

Everything in life is a result of an accumulation of events. Just as we are products of Evolution, a very long process over an extended period of time, evolution is what has allowed the modern human to have certain mental and physical capabilities. Similarly, who we are in life is due to all of the events that we experience and how we view the world is how we have reacted to, and perceived past life events. We are a collection if you will, a scrap book of many scenarios. When something “negative” happens, we tend to view it as such and label it as being unfortunate and wonder why things can’t just be “perfect.” But what we fail to recognize is that mistakes, as well as “failure, can be [our] best friend.” Mistakes challenge us to look at things differently. They offer a different perspective. Sure, at times it is an uncomfortable perspective because it breaks us of our certainty that everything is well and therefore, predictable. Rather than looking at mistakes as unfortunate events, we can simply learn to label them differently, as Challenges. By doing so we can remind ourselves that in the grand scheme of things, everything is incorporated. By learning to incorporate our mistakes into our lives and adjusting the way we view them, we can find ways to learn and gain insight from them.

“Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.”  Jean-Paul Sartre

It has often been said that the biggest mistakes are the ones we fail to learn from.

So ask yourself:

What happened here?

How did I go wrong?

How can I be better in the future?

And how can I remedy this situation NOW?

Just as with a work of art, we must learn to incorporate our mistakes into the masterpieces of our lives.



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