"Progress, not perfection." ~ Al Anonymous
When I wrote this it was a perfect summer morning in St. Louis. I realized at the time this might be as good as it gets on a day in early July. And that was OK. I'll take perfect when I can get it. Perfect doesn't come for a visit very often and certainly not a result of something I do or say.
Perfect, most often, is a gift from Mother Nature, God, the Great Creator, the Universe, or a joint effort of many - a perfect sunset, a perfect morning, a perfect evening out with friends. Perfect comes reluctantly and only to those who have the eyes to see it when it appears. Perfect is definitely not man-made. [There has never been a 27 strike out truly "perfect game" in Major League Baseball.] Perfect in Nature is the Great Creator's acknowledgement of her love for us in sunsets, rainbows and fall colors. Even the perfection required for a moon landing, a rendezvous with an asteroid or a space flight to Pluto is born of the laws of physics, a God gift we've only been able to "see," or glimpse, in the last few centuries.
The Perfect that we so often strive to achieve is what got us here in the first place. It does not allow for bumps in our road, detours along our journey, hedgerows or wide ravines impeding our progress.The pursuit of perfection provokes us to ignore and fix, control and enable, feign bliss and feel despair. These are the dichotomies of being parents of addicted children before we take those first few imperfect steps in our recovery. We've all been there. Throughout our many attempts at perfection we never realize how close to perfection we really are as human beings. This perfection we are closest to is not one that compares us to societal norms or mandates. This is the perfection of what we can be as individuals, our closest pass to our best self actualization, our truest selves.
We are, by being human, by being our truest selves, perfect enough.
When we stumble, it is most often over our own two feet. Once we abandon the bygone notions of perfection, if we can simply let go of our need to be perfect and allow ourselves the freedom to experience the journey of being the best we can possibly be, it is then that beautiful vistas appear before us on our recovery journeys. The pathway levels, the rivers seem less treacherous. Taken one challenge at a time obstacles once thought insurmountable become manageable. We decide those awful events we once thought were sure to happen will no longer hold us back.
We've become nimble expression of our truest selves. We become free, unencumbered by our own former unreasonable thinking. We approach with anticipation the wholeness and ideal of what the Universe offers us, and what it sees in us even if we cannot.
The beauty of it all is that we never attain that thing called perfection. We realize perfection is is the ultimate arrogance that has kept us from growing, from progressing. Instead, now, we are constantly journeying, traveling along our recovery paths, exploring, learning, and yes, failing.
We'll see glimpses of perfection in ourselves. We may even approach the "ideal." We know we've grown when we can laugh at ourselves for the conceit, then move on.
It's certainly a load off! It is freeing letting go of the "P" word. Imagine what we may find along the way.
"Mistakes are the portals of discovery" ~ James Joyce