After the mistake

how do you recover

On Father's Day, I was carving a clown nose out of red cedar.

I have a problem. I have made two mistakes.

The nose fits perfectly without a string. I’ve hollowed it out so well that it just sits there on the end of my nose. It feels great. It also has a really nice nostril starting to see the light of day.

It’s a great nostril - angular, flaring and bold.

Here's the problem:

The nose needs to have a top and a bottom.

When I put it on in the way it fits my nose perfectly, the nostril is in the wrong place.

It is at the top of the nose.

When I turn it around to have it look great?

It falls off my nose.

Function or fashion?

What do I choose?

What would you do?

I can’t keep both things I like.

That’s my mistake.

As a result of this, I have to make a choice.

I have to make a choice between a perfectly fitting clown nose and a beautifully carved nostril.

Cedar is very unforgiving. It flakes and cracks and peels. Fixing this nose is not without its risks.

Time to choose.

My mistake is asking me: pick one. Make a choice. How will you follow this mistake?

I got turned around.

The nose fit perfectly. Then I carved the nostril. I’ve exploited an opportunity that I likely should not have. Or perhaps, it really wasn’t there to begin with. Or? One of these choices - snug fit or perfect nostril, they aren’t going to take me anywhere.

What would happen if I just kept going, just kept digging away.

I could attempt to hollow out the inside differently with the hopes that I could duplicate the fit. This likely wouldn’t work. The nose isn’t going to get any more snug by making the inside bigger. Also? Cedar is unforgiving.

If I keep the fit, I essentially need to slide my knife down the bridge of the nose and cut off what is becoming a perfect nostril. If I cut it, it’s done. There’s not enough cedar to cut a perfect nostril the other way around. I’m in a pickle.

What would you do? How do you do it?

What mistake would you throw away?

What mistake would you decide to follow?

Every decision is tense. There is a tension between different choices, different directions.

Once we make a decision, that tension is resolved. Me? I cut out the nostril. I’m still hacking away at the nose.

The decision led to concrete action - a blade removed some material. The concrete action led to relief and some satisfaction.

The wood is cut.

A decision has been made.

There is no going back.

One Derful Thing

It’s raining as I write this.

If it’s raining when you read this?

That’s serendipitous.


A great opportunity.

Go outside.

Let the rain fall on your face, on your skin.

Notice the sensation of the water on your face.

Notice the sensation of your face on the water.

Where do you end?

Where does the water begin?


If it’s not raining where you are and you have access to clean running water, do this in the shower.

Or at a waterfall.

Notice: Where do you end?

Where does the water begin?