I am a perfectionist. This is apparent in (though not limited to) my efforts to create a blog. Admittedly, it took me two weeks after I drafted my first post to proofread a 3-minute long entry, to decide the font and color scheme of my web page, AND to decide if I really wanted to use the word “poop” in the premiering post. Not sure what the ROE (Return on Effort) calculates to be, especially when all decisions landed me right back to my initial thoughts. The lesson here: Think less, trust gut more.
As I seek wisdom through experience in nature, the beautiful bounty of imperfection is evident every time I step foot outdoors; quite simply recognizing no leaf, rock, tree, cloud, snowflake, or dandelion is the same as another; trees grow jagged; leaves fall; rocks crumble. Every element of nature is uniform in its non-uniformity; every element balanced in its perceived imbalance. This is what is so fascinating about Mother Nature, and this is what feeds my bottomless desire to be with her.
I especially have a thing for clouds. When we look up to the sky, every fluffy, turbulent, dense, dark, white, feathery, lucid cloud sits so stunningly, floating in mid-air. Not one cloud is the same, yet all are beautiful and come together to complete the sky landscape in a picture-perfect moment. Every single time. On top of that, each unique cloud has its own story to tell. A fluffy cloud indicates no rain; feathery clouds suggest a change in weather is to come; dark clouds tell us a storm is just around the corner. The beauty of this is that we listen with intent to every single type of cloud, with the same openness and we respond accordingly, treating each with respect and dignity.
Mother Nature maintains an environment and reputation whereby everything has its place in a go with the flow process. There is no question, no hesitation. Mother Nature has no concept of perfection, yet everything happens so perfectly. A bit ironic, I suppose. How come it is difficult for us to translate this back to our relationship with one another AND ourselves as human beings?
I spoke of fear in my last post, and really, perfectionism is a form of fear; a fear of not being accepted or appreciated; a fear of failure and not being good enough. We are brought up in a society that tells us we must follow a certain path to become successful and if we fall astray then there is something wrong with us. We are supposed to be like the fluffy white clouds, not the turbulent dark clouds. We are brought up in a society that tells us what color skin, body type, hair color, and clothing will get us to that picture-perfect look. But with a blink of the eye, what you were told is “perfection” last week will subjectively change, just when you thought you were getting closer- to that state of perfection.
Do we strive for perfection to attain the life we want or the life we are told we should desire? In the journey towards perfection is there room for happiness? Is perfection a focus of our energy on what we think of ourselves, or what others think of us? Is perfection even attainable? Or are we setting ourselves up for failure at the get-go? What does the idea of perfection provide to us? On a path to perfection, are we headed towards discovering our true selves or steering ourselves down a path of greater illusion? Wait, who defines what perfection is, anyways? [There was a time I warned you I ask a lot of questions. Now you can see I was not joking.]
Questions aside, what I do know, and have no question about is, we are a collective whole; not because we all think perfectly, feel perfectly, sound perfectly, and see perfectly. We are not a collective whole because we are uniform in physical and mental state. We are a collective whole because we complement one another in our own unique ways, with our own imperfections. We are molded by our experiences to bring value-add insight, strengths, and abilities. We are molded by our experiences to commune with others and work as a team to overcome weaknesses and challenges. If there were such thing as achieving perfection, I have a sense that life would get pretty boring and even worse the value of community would diminish. We would lose interest in listening and therefore we would lost interest in understanding. We would not have the opportunity to grow, adapt and learn. In a state of perfection, life would become stagnant.
It is time we throw away the notion of perfection and embrace its opposite: self-acceptance. Easier said than done, I understand, so I will encourage you to unplug, turn off your senses to society and take a lesson from Mother Nature’s book.
Take a Deep Breath.
Open Your Senses and Your Heart.
Look Up To the Sky.
Look Into the Forest.
Watch the Ocean Waves.
Feel the Jagged Rocks.
Embrace Mother Nature’s Imperfections.
Embrace Your Imperfections.
Smile As You Become Aware… You and Nature are ONE.
You Are Imperfectly Perfect.