The Angel Tugging at Your Sleeve

David Price
4 min readJun 1
From Joa Lila

…When we examine our blood streams under a microscope, we see that there’s one hell of a fight going on. All sorts of microorganisms are chewing each other up. And if we got overly fascinated with our view of our own blood streams in the microscope, we should start taking sides. Which would be fatal. Because the health of our organism depends on the continuance of this battle. What is in other words conflict at one level of magnification, is harmony at a higher level. Could it possibly be, therefore, that we, with all of our problems, conflicts, neuroses, sicknesses, political outrages, wars, tortures, and everything that goes on in human life, are a state of conflict which can be seen in a larger perspective as a situation of harmony?

~Alan Watts


In the real hero’s journey, the dragon slays YOU. Much to your surprise, you couldn’t make that marriage work. Much to your surprise, you turned forty with no kids, no house, and no prospects. Much to your surprise, the world didn’t want the gifts you proudly offered it.

If you are foolish, this is where you will abort the journey and start another, and another, abusing your heart over and over for the brief illusion of winning.

But if you are wise, you will let yourself be shattered, and return to the village, humbled, but with a newfound sense that you don’t have to identify with the part of you that needs to win, needs to be recognized, needs to know. This is where your transcendent life begins…

Every defeat is just an angel, tugging at your sleeve, telling you that you don’t have to keep banging your head against the wall.

— Paul Weinfield


Our defeats make us who we are more than our successes. Unless we have been destroyed and put back together we’re shallow and naïve. We form an idea of our invulnerability and superiority that invites disaster, maybe more than once, because we learn slowly. We need to repeat the lesson and learn where our core strengths are, where our real roots are.

Success in the hothouse of education doesn’t prepare us for life. Getting good grades actually gives us a false sense of ourselves as winners at the game of life. Life, though, is a much more serious game…

David Price

I write about creativity, loving, language learning and psycho/spirituality. I’m a longtime painter and reader.