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Patience and Perfection

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Patience and Perfection

Patience. Patience. Patience.

I’m trying to learn it. I’m sitting here, waiting for what’s next: spring, warmth, sunshine, planting seeds, harvesting greens, evening trips to the greenhouse, wearing slip-on shoes, walking the dog, feeling the earth come alive.

Not yet. It was -11 this morning. Wait…. Wait…. Wait….

But waiting is a good thing (really!)

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Sometimes waiting forces us to listen. In this time, we can learn to understand. We can learn to accept.

This whole process I’ve been working through (and blogging about) has been exactly that—learning to accept.

As a teenager, I spent some time in a treatment facility. Everyday we would start the day with a portion of the Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

But, now I have learned that was only the beginning. There is more to the prayer. Maybe the administrators at the facility assumed suicidal teenagers wouldn’t care about the rest of it. Maybe I didn’t care about the rest of it. Maybe I didn’t listen. Maybe I don’t remember.

Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

If I had, perhaps learning to live one day at a time wouldn’t have felt so much like a foreign concept. But, when everything falls apart, the moment we have is all we have. During the grieving process I learned that in day-to-day living there is no room for compulsive behaviors. No room for people pleasing. No room for perfection.

 

I am guilty of being a perfectionist. For those of you who may have witnessed my perfectionism at play, let me just apologize and say, “If you thought I was a perfectionist, you should have heard the voice in my head.” In my mind, I was never good enough. That kind of obsessive chronic self-criticism leaves little room for the appreciation of each beautiful moment. Something had to give.

As I struggled to learn the idea of living in the moment, the realization hit me that everything in this world is finite. With the exception of energy. After all, energy cannot be created or destroyed. Only transferred. We are infinite beings experiencing the finite. No wonder it is so difficult and confusing to be a human!

But that too, I feel like I’ve learned how to be human. I’m not perfect. There’s no sense in trying to act like someone expects me to be. I’ve accepted my faults. I’m disorganized and cluttered. I try to take charge sometimes. I don’t do well in the mornings. I get a little shy sometimes. I’m clumsy. I’m needy sometimes. I forget to brush my teeth before bed. I curse. I’m easily distracted if I’m multitasking. I think too much. There’s more, I’m sure. (But you don’t have to tell me.)

The point is, that accepting myself has resulted in a new understanding of others– people who can be completely different than me, but have the same feelings. They have feelings of happiness, love, pain, grief, anger, sadness, fear, disgust, guilt, and surprise.

The more people I meet and connect with, the more I see I am not alone. Many others are trying to juggle responsibility and self-interest. Many others are in the middle of life transitions such as relocating, getting married, having children, new jobs, and so on. And others still are adjusting to loss in their life—loss of a home, a loved one, or their own health. I have found the ability to empathize to understand what it is like to be grateful for each day, to be happy to make it through day-by-day.

It really does change the definition of a term we so often strive for— success.

My successes for the day:

  • Waking up.
  • Feeding myself, the animals, and the kids.
  • Having the brilliant idea to wear my cute hat rather than losing time by doing my hair.
  • Getting the kids to school and daycare.
  • Making it to work.
  • Working while at work.
  • Connecting with an a local artist in such a way that I was deeply compelled to give her a hug when we said our good-byes.
  • Leaving work.
  • Getting my children home.
  • Paying attention to my body and taking time to rest.
  • Reflecting on all that was swimming in my head.
  • Writing this blog entry and sharing it with other humans. (Since few other beings can read!)

Please enjoy your day and all the more to come. 

 

 

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About Rachel

Rachel is an independent artist and writer who thrives on sharing her deep appreciation for the natural world. She has taught college courses in wildlife identification, ethnobotany, environmental science, natural resource management, and cultural studies. She offers professional services to help organizations build and sustain projects in community development, sustainable agriculture, and environmental education. She writes a blog about her experiences becoming an entrepreneur at pagesofparadigm.com. She lives in North Dakota with her two boys, husband, dogs, cat, chickens, and ducks. She enjoys gardening, cooking, drawing, writing, hunting, hiking, and snowshoeing.

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