This world is becoming filled with people who have each been taught to be experts in a laser-beam-narrow field, never venturing into places where they might look stupid – away from the mud and grime of inexperience and uncertainty, they are rice-paper-heroes, able to take themselves just a little bit too seriously. Their legacy is fear of failure and it’s becoming an epidemic, especially in families.

A parent who is ‘unerringly successful’ (or should we say, ‘eerily successful?’) poses a great obstacle to their child ever acquiring the ability to be liberated from fear of failure – it doesn’t inspire the child at all to be constantly exposed to a parent who is popular, powerful, always interesting and always winning. If you’re a magnificent pianist they badly need to see your first faltering attempts at water skiing or something else you are hopeless at but would like to try anyway – and make sure you do it in front of them where they can hear the derision of the spectators and feel the glory of you risking being laughed at by your own family. And by the way, when they do laugh, laugh with them.

If you have children, you won’t escape anyway, in fact, they’ll take offense at you if you’re not already letting this music happen. Out of sheer frustration with your fierce efforts at always being successful, they’ll sabotage you just for the fun of it. It’s one of the first assignments they have when they arrive from heaven, where they’ve been carefully skilled in the arts of ego baiting. So take your medicine and let the love games begin: don’t go and sulk. Marianne Williamson says, ‘as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same: liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.’

Down Time