My friends call some of my consistent and repeated sayings, “Gailisms.” My family does too! One of my favorites is: I meant to do it that way, or I meant to do it that way, or [louder] I MEANT to do it that way!
I picked up this expression when I took belly dancing for awhile from the marvelous June Seavey. She is a wonderful dancer and teacher, putting me at ease at once by saying that oriental dance is for every body and every body type. She’s the leader of a troupe or two and performs exentensively. And she’s a very kind teacher telling me once that “your hips just want to have fun.”
I am not a graceful person. While I like to think I’m not clumsy, the fact of the matter is that I trip, walk slow, and generally look dorky in motion. I don’t care, I love to dance. My hips do want to have fun!
One session, June did a dance performance for us in full, beautiful costume. It was wonderful. Then she started demonstrating some of the pitfalls of live performance and how she recovered from it. “Oh I dropped my veil,” and she gracefully danced and picked it up, “And I meant to do it that way!” And so on through several mistakes!
I have found this very useful in public speaking and in facilitating pagan ritual. I have stumbled over words, knocked over a chalice spilling water, lost my place in a wedding ceremony, forgotten essential ritual items, the candles won’t light and so forth. In order to keep the flow of energy going as well as the flow of attention and intention, it’s important not to dwell on these as mistakes but as a bump that you go over and continue on. Above all else, it’s important not to stop the ‘action’ and dwell on the error or waste time fixing what can’t be mended. Thus, the coping mechanism [and comfort] is: I meant to do it that way!
It is, of course, important to learn from your mistakes and do better the next time. It is not useful to dwell on the errors and castigate yourself. There’s no point in self flagellation and self-loathing, other than to make yourself feel bad. You pick yourself up, clean up and either start over or move on. If you need to apologize, you say so. Otherwise, just act like you meant to do it that way.
May your day be full of self blessing and whatever happens, you meant to do it that way!