This year has been a landmark year in my life.
As I see it coming to an end, I am filled with many mixed emotions.
Some ecstatic, some sad…but overall extremely GRATEFUL!
The first forty years of my life were spent in the pursuit of perfection. I honestly believed that I had the ability to obtain my own PERFECTION.
The HARDER I tried to create the perfect life…the more UN-perfect it became.
I was fighting against nature, against God, against myself.
Then wondering why life always felt like a fight.
That is what I want to talk about today…Letting go of the fight for perfection.
This year life has revealed a premise to me that nearly every one of us carries:
“We must always be improving, forever trying to make ourselves better, thinner, more spiritual; in a word, perfect.”
For many of us, becoming perfect… or at least our own version of perfect, is our primary motivating concern.
Hidden under this pressure is a belief that says, “Unless I can improve and make myself better, bordering on perfect, I will continue to live outside the circle of welcome and approval.”
How sad and untrue this belief is.
Why do so many of us cling to it like a life line?
This anxiety haunts many of us.
We spend a lifetime trying to get it right.
I was obsessed with growth and progress. Constantly trying to muscle my way into acceptability. Constantly trying to figure out why I was single, or in debt, or any number of UN-Perfect attributes in my life..
This left very little room for those parts of me that did not fit the image I was determined to show the world. The weak, needy, inadequate, fearful and sorrowful parts were often abandoned, discarded and left in the shadows.
Without them, however, I was missing out on something essential to my personality.
These un-perfect pieces are a big part of who I really am.
The whole me.
Not just the manufactured Melanie, but the one that I was created to be.
I am a beautiful mess, and this year I have learned to appreciate that.
The parts of my personality that I was trying to change were the very parts of me that had the ability to bring me down into the territory of my soul where brooding emotions, deep longing, an insatiable desire for beauty, and startling images from my Dreamtime could serve as a reminder that I am a creature of the earth.
I am both a daughter of God, with the potential for perfection, and a creature of the Earth…capable of feeling the lower emotions as well.
Without our descent into the parts of our psyche that we try so hard to remove, we remain caught in a one-dimensional life, lacking the richness and textures that are found in this life.
Our deepest work shouldn’t be about improvement or making ourselves better.
Our work should rather be to cultivate a vital relationship with life; to open our arms wide and become permeable to the rhythms and wildness that surrounds us and arises within us.
This act of self-compassion makes us a circle of inclusion. By welcoming all of who we are, the strengths and wounds, the beauty and sorrows, we step into a wider appreciation of life and a greater capacity for participation:
We come more fully alive.
Once I finally understood this truth, I was finally able to enjoy my life EXACTLY as it was…flaws and all.
That is when the miracles started to happen in my life.
That is what has made the year 2013, a landmark year for me.
In Feb, I was told that I needed to make some major changes in my health, or suffer the consequences.
That information from the Doctor led to a series of events that has changed the whole CANVAS of my life.
I will end this year completely different. In mind, body and soul.
And for that I can only thank God.
As I look back on this year, I am filled with wonder and awe at all of the ways I can clearly see his hand at work in my life.
But before he could make those changes that I had been praying for.
I had to lay down my sword, and surrender to life.
I had to accept life on its terms.
I had to realize that life has its own set of plans and rules.
And that those plans and rules are for my benefit, not my punishment!
In a word, when I stopped fighting myself, my life, and God…
They stopped fighting me!
God created us to be happy.
He loves to give us blessings.
But… God cannot, and will not, give us the things that we have no capacity to appreciate or understand; to do so would bring us more misery than we could handle.
He is God, he knows our limits, even when we ourselves do not.
We didn’t come here to be perfect.
The realization of this fact changed EVERYTHING in my life!
Perfectionism is oppressive, stifling our every breath.
We came to encounter the entire wild tapestry of life.
And for me, to attempt to re-created them with my paintbrush.
The great stories of all cultures tell us we are actually beings of soul digging in the soil, turning over stones looking for a taste of the sacred.
And they are there every day;
Little morsels of the divine arriving in the touch of a friend.
The blazing maples of autumn.
The crisp whiteness of winter.
Times of shared vulnerability.
And those delicious times celebrating the gifts we receive in our daily lives.
Life is rambunctious and difficult.
Rather than spend our lifetime trying to get it right, our souls want to feel the entire range of life that we are designed to know.
By welcoming the holiness that dwells in the depths, we can finally and fully step into the widest arc of life and feel ourselves entering the beauty that can be felt in our imperfection.
Catching a glimpse of the multi-faceted beauty that makes us who we are…
A Beautiful Mess!
It is my prayer that my life can serve as an example to anyone who is struggling with insecurities.
I would simply tell you to RELAX…and learn to see the perfection in the imperfection of your life.
Lay down your sword, and surrender…trust God!