VARIATION ON A THEME BY RILKE
by Denise Levertov
A certain day became a presence to me;
there it was, confronting me - a sky, air, light:
a being. And before it started to descend
from the height of noon, it leaned over
and struck my shoulder as if with
the flat of a sword, granting me
honor and a task. The day's blow
rang out, metallic - or it was I, a bell awakened,
and what I heard was my whole self
saying and singing what it knew: I can.
I think we try so hard to be perfect, we miss life.
Let's stop the pendulum swing of self critique and judgement. Allow our souls to find center, to come to rest. To neither push nor desist but just hold space for awhile. And in that sacred space embrace our permission to be. To luck into, to try, to change our minds, to give it a shot, maybe fail... Perhaps gently settle into ordinary happiness.
Daily human emotional and mental ebb and flows are not the antithesis to life success. Perfectionism is.
In the pursuit of "perfect" lies the negation of all that is not. Perfectionism is an eraser we drag across the life we are living and have lived. Crossing out what may have been our best efforts, our bravest moments. Scars of boot-strapped, gut-wrenching, all-out-there struggle. All those unwanted, unsettling gifts of deepest courage. When we devalue even our smallest efforts, be they honestly sufficient or perhaps barely forward motion, we also devalue the grand essence of human nature - which is to strive.
Humans are not born perfect, they are born to evolve. To seek to understand, to take action, to plan, to expand, to be joyful. Life is not a target. There is no bulls-eye that says, Bingo! Got it. Life is about process. About being vividly, messily, actively present in our own skin. Accepting that however or wherever we may be today, just getting by or progressing along the spectrum of our goals... Well, good enough. This is today. Dame Judi Dench made the point spectacularly - unveiling a wrist tattoo to commemorate her 81st birthday. Carpe Diem.
Don't waste a single second on pointless judgement or wasteful regret. Put down that edit pencil. Stet. Let today be a day of presence.