I’m in recovery. I’m recovering from a shamed-based, product-oriented, industrial-growth model society. I’m also recovering from a year of discovery.


About a year and a half ago, I started my journey with EcoFaith Recovery. As I write this blog, it is finally coming to a close. The finale is much less dramatic and exciting than I expected it to be. You see, I thought at this point I’d be well on my way to implementing a business plan for a caf© I had envisioned. It would have been this tangible product, a marker of a successful internship. I discovered the caf© isn’t my journey; instead I’m in a place where I’m digging deeper, learning and taking different risks than I had expected.


For the last five months of my internship I struggled with this idea of failure. Although I knew I had gained more than I could have imagined, from the outside looking in, it didn’t feel like I had anything to show for it. I felt people would think I had squandered this opportunity. But today, I’m letting go of that or at least I’m trying to.



Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

The courage to change the things I can

and the wisdom to know the difference.


I could not change my experience of this internship even if I wanted to but what I can change is my perspective of success and failure. Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Animation and author of Creativity, Inc. writes about failure as an opportunity of growth. He says we must move beyond acknowledging mistakes as a necessary evil and recognize that failure brings both pain and growth. We must instead think of the cost of failure as an investment in the future.


Robyn asked my to dream wildly, to be bold and courageous. Her enthusiasm toward my dreams was inspiring so I jumped at the chance. When we take these opportunities more often than not we fall short of our goal and I did. However, we have to pick ourselves up again and move forward. I could, and I tried, to shove this failure and embarrassment under the rug (or into the chocolate more likely), but ultimately these feelings did not disappear. The spark, the bold and courageous desire hadn’t died. I had to take the cost of this pain and use it in order to continue on to the next step.


So, I’m in recovery. I speak to myself with compassion and love in those moments when pain and shame rear their ugly heads. I pick myself up and carry those mistakes along with me to the next bold and courageous thing I seek. This is a choice I have to make daily.


Failure, disappointment, and change are things we all experience. Yet the sorrow or struggles we face with this failure aren’t allowed space in our society. Join me on Saturday, May 31st, 2014 at my Table Talk: Discerning Between Failure and Opportunity: An Intern’s Year of Discovery, as we create space for our mistakes. Hear more of my story and share your experiences of finding hope in the face of failure.

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Learn more about the upcoming Table Talk Tess will lead and register to attend here.

Read more about Tess and other EcoFaith Recovery Interns here.


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Discerning Between Failure and Opportunity (by EcoFaith Intern Tess Waechter of Leaven Community)
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