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I was going to be the perfect wife.
When I married, I was armed with scriptures that told me how to be the perfect wife. All I had to do was submit to my husband (Colossians 3:18), keep my mouth shut in church (1 Corinthians 3:18), spin wool and plant a vineyard (Proverbs 31:16, 19).
But I failed. I got sick of submitting, disagreed with church doctrines, and never found time to spin even one ball of wool or plant that vineyard.
I was going to be a perfect mother. I read the latest child psychology experts, and planned to be filled with endless love and boundless energy in my daily dealings with my five little blessings from God.
But I failed. I got tired, annoyed and grumpy.
In his poem, ‘The Habit of Perfection’, the Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins recommends I do the following to be the perfect person: listen to silence; don’t speak; keep my eyes closed; stop eating; breathe incense; walk only on golden streets; and take a vow of poverty.
Guess what? I failed to meet his Catholic level of perfection.
Now I’m trying to be a perfect human being, eternally connected to universal consciousness.
But I fail.
If I’m going to live the rest of my life with some degree of peace, it’s time to forget the “perfect” bit.
Mindfulness, Perfection and Failure
I’ve finally figured out the relationship between perfection and failure.
I experience a sense of failure when I force my — or someone else’s — version of perfection onto the moment I’m experiencing.
But what if I drop all that? What if I accept that this moment is perfect just as it is? Then what happens?
Or, better yet, what if I just drop the idea of perfection altogether?
This moment just is. It’s neither perfect nor imperfect.
Forgetting perfection, and accepting what is, opens a door between me and this moment. It connects me intimately with it. I am in the moment, able to see or sense what’s really happening.
Of course, having an intimate connection with this moment may result in me doing or saying something that will initiate change. In other words, after fully accepting it, I may take what Eckhart Tolle refers to in his book, The Power of Now, as positive action. Whereas introducing negativity into the moment by fighting or blocking it because I don’t think it’s perfect, will get me nowhere.
It’s time for me to start accepting what is and stop striving after perfection.
Accept that I’ll never plant a vineyard. Accept I’m tired. Accept there are no golden streets to walk upon around here. Accept I’ve temporarily forgotten I’m connected to universal consciousness.
Accept what is.
Paradoxically, not striving after perfection and accepting what is, reveals the perfection that already is in this moment.
With love, Marlane
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