We all know that reaching perfection is nearly as impossible as trying to exist on the earth without taking a breath, yet undaunted by such a reality, we press on toward it anyway. LIving among others like us makes this quest even more intense and personal. I don’t know if it’s possible to really live in the western world and NOT strive for perfection to some extent.
I’m a perfectionist extraordinaire. I want a perfect lawn, a perfect entry way to my house, a perfect living room, kitchen…you get the idea. I read self-help books like they are manuals to perfection and do my best to employ their advice, until I find the advice “not for me” and I allow myself to move on. I’m not very good at thinking it is okay to move on if I’ve only skimmed a concept. I must delve to the depths of it and try to master it. It has been a good quality to have at times, deadly at others. In over my head as an EBD teacher in Minnesota, not only was perfection unattainable, survival was. I didn’t quit until my body made it very clear that I had no choice. That’s me. Never give up, especially if others are watching. If I’m living in any kind of arena where others are assessing the situation, it is vital that I continue pressing on. It’s so extreme sometimes that it’s as if I’m in a concentration camp and don’t have the freedom to practice good self care or let go of a project when it becomes too much. My body has paid a real cost for this bent of mine. In the quest for recovery from whatever it is I’m recovering from, I find that there is no shortage of healers and those who have found a way to profit from my imperfection. I’ve bought endless books and taken countless formulas of vitamins and pharmaceuticals in the quest to heal from my many falls along the way. I ache to return to the state of mankind in the Garden of Eden. I want to live without error but I simply cannot.
So how do I move forward? How do I heal and find balance. My life has been lived in circles of events beginning with visions that are so real and empowering that I dive in head first every time and all too often without an awareness of the depth of the water. If it’s too shallow I break something and if it’s too deep, I nearly drown. My quest to get “it” right has cost me so much that I’ve lived in emotional wheel chair unable to make it on my own. That making it on my own thing is a huge problem for a woman with a heart for equality. Crashing and burning has cost me so much over these 52 years. This last round nearly cost me my life. How do I move forward with so many voices offering suggestions? How do I give them a fair hearing when I’m so overwhelmed? Why do I have to feel guilty if I say no? Why do I feel guilty if I say no? There is no shortage of passion in the pursuit to heal. Sometimes this cacophony of voices simply paralyzes me. I don’t want to be immobile because I do want to heal. At times I just want to scream out and say, “Leave me alone”. BUT the pill in that is that I don’t want to be alone…even left alone. I always wonder, “Could this be the thing to take care of what ails me?”
Perhaps what I need most is to stand up and say, “I have what I need to heal already within me. I have been given a mind that is able to seek and find its way. A heart that is eager to be reborn. Sometimes, the most healing thing is simply when another human is just with me, with me without advice…just present and trusting me to find my way. When friends like Tom and Mari in Nebraska open their home for their friend…me. They just enjoy being with me. Their presence, their acceptance, their empathy and their joy in my being with them gave me space to deal with what was taking place inside of me. They don’t have a litmus test for friendship with me. I don’t have to reach a standard of perfection to sit at their table and enjoy a meal with them. I can be angry, I can be sad, and I can be exceedingly happy with these friends. In other words, the imperfection of it all is very healing. It is very grounding and safe. Isn’t that quite lovely?
One thought on “Imperfection and the Healing Journey”
Jane, That was beautifully written and I strongly identify with all you have shared. Thanks for putting into words, what even today, I am struggling with wanting everything to be perfect. The illusion is that when I get to that place I can rest. Enjoy being with people that allow me to be just as I am is a treasure. I appreciate your courage to write your thoughts and feelings…it has been healing for me. Daily choosing to rest and be present with whatever the day brings is my practice. A lot of the time I feel like I am only just scraching the surface with being ok with really not knowing how my day/life will play out. I waste alot of energy trying to figure things out…but saying that more than any time in my life do I sense my Creator’s good pleasure and Presence with me, through the highs and the lows, it is what gives me peace and hope. As well as friends like yourself who are open and honest about their own journeys. We are not alone.