...a way of seeing beyond inner and outer.

Monday, May 2, 2011

It's all perfect.

      A habit I nurture is the asking for and then noticing the moments of sweetness that fill my life. That's why, when I have participated in this meme in the past, I've used a series of those moments, listed very neatly, detailing the amusing or lush or happy things that happen to me through my week.  I'm able to do that because I make a point of jotting them in a small notebook.
      Last week's list was very short.  I could list all the events that made last week one I won't miss, or the few things that did make it into my notebook and expound on them but the truth is, I had stopped noticing all the other good stuff that was going on while the unpleasantness held me in rapt attention.  That realization was my perfect moment and suspect I'm not the only person that gets stuck in the mental mire of missing the point from time to time.
   By Saturday, I'd had enough and with terrific effort and focused intent I began to decide over and over to look for "good". I started by greatly lowering the bar from "perfect" to "not horrible" because "not horrible" is much easier to see and there's something to be said for low hanging fruit.  Saturday was a struggle, but I kept swinging.  I also drank two tequilas, thought a lot about breaking into the valium I keep on hand for flying, whined a lot, got angry at my husband for not seeing how bad last week was, got mad at my husband for not seeing I didn't want him to tell people how horrible last week was, and had two or three misery cookies,  cookies used to alleviate misery rather than to celebrate the existence of butter and sugar in good proportion.  They don't work.  In fact, not much did.  Not a rousing success, was Saturday.
    Then Sunday happened.  I'm not sure what caused the shift, and it wasn't even a dramatic shift, but I accepted a few mistakes I'd made with people I loved. I said I was sorry.  I got over myself a little bit. I fixed all the problems left to me by my own need to be liked and decided it wasn't my business to be liked and never would be. It's my business to be loving..  It's my business to see around the smoke and mirrors of my own head to what lies beneath the fears we show each other. It's my business to search my own soul for all my unchecked fears so that they don't motivate me to lash out at other people.  I decided to be still and watch the universe (other people ) unfold for a while rather than trying to bend it (them) to my paper crane will and last, but not least, I decided it was my business to plan a party, bringing me much closer to "perfect" than to "not horrible".


  1. Your last paragraph is exquisite. The re-orienting, not on perfect vs not-horrible but on Self vs world, is illuminating to me.

    "it wasn't my business to be liked and never would be. It's my business to be loving." I love this, too.

    I've been stuck in the low-hanging fruit picking, too. This post will stay with me the next time I find myself there.

  2. Lori,
    The bottom line is, we need each other. That's why we're all here, to help each other learn, for each other. I'm glad these little word groupings gave you something and feel very lucky for having been given that privilege. xo Tracy

  3. I feel good today, and your post just made me feel better...No life is not perfect, i am perfect, my soul feels perfect. I know I will falter, I know I will fall at times..but I also know that I will stand up, like I always have...dust myself and move ahead....

  4. C,
    You very much deserve a day like this one. How did the date go?

  5. I love this. My weeks have been very imperfect of late, and as my friend says, sometimes we simply need to shift our weight to see things differently. Taking inventory internally can change everything. Thank you for the reminder (which, oddly enough, was more or less what my yoga teacher said tonight, too).

  6. Justine,
    Obviously I haven't been having as much fun as I'd like to lately, but some days it's trough, other days its crest and until we get all the lessons there are to get, I'm pretty sure we're just going to have to do some bobbing.

  7. I love that you made a conscious effort to change the way you were seeing things. It ended up being a perfect moment indeed.

  8. The Saturday and Sunday methods are almost always in constant competition with each other inside my head and in my body too. Plenty of red wine followed by yoga and meditation the next morning. I am loving but still want profoundly to be liked. And then, to make matters worse, get angry with myself for admitting that. When I pull the lid back on my fears they usually greet me with a deafening roar but I know them all by name.

    Loving-kindness, Loving-kindness...

  9. Kristin,
    With almost perfect consistency, I find that happens if I'm willing to put forth what is, occasionally, great effort. I do believe happiness is a choice and that it's one that requires work, but so are all the greatest choices in life, don't you think?

  10. Heather,

    perfectly, beautiful succinctly said and because I can't resist...
    I like you! I reeeeeally like you! xo

  11. Heehee, Trace. Please pull me right up if I am out of line saying that for some reason I feel like I know you. And I don't usually say such potentially creepy things!

    I am so very very glad that you found my blog and that now I get to enjoy yours. Very positive thing sometimes, this virtual world.

  12. I really love the last paragraph too and the way you chose to shift your own way of thinking. Very moving and inspiring for me to read, as I often get caught up in wanting others to to like me, as much or more than I focus on the loving (as I could and should). Very well said. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Heather.. I don't often LOL, but I truly did at "potentially creey". No, not at all. My husband and I met via the internet, playing chess, and we have often talked about how much like the dead art of letter writing cyber space can be.
    We're all so attached to what things "look" like, including our own lives/selves that we stop being ourselves. The internet makes that a little easier. Of course I suppose it makes creepy easier too, but I have a basic belief in the power of truth. It's like water. It's going to get through the cracks and there are always cracks.

  14. Kathy,
    As I said above, we need each other to mirror the truth of what we are back to each other. Otherwise we all get stuck in that same place and no one goes anywhere good. Thank you for reinforcing what we both know to be true.

  15. I own up right away to playing devil's advocate here but does the internet make it easier for us to be ourselves? To express the truth?

    I had a conversation with my sister yesterday about Loving-Kindness and the basic meditation that one can use to pursue/confirm it. And she astonished me by expressing that when she said it for me, she felt that I already had all of the things mentioned--loving-kindness, health, happiness and...peace. Gulp. It made me realize that I have perhaps been gilding the lily with my communications, both blog and otherwise. As I mentioned here (this being some divinely safe place where even the cracks in truth glow acceptably), peel back the lid and...well, have the lion whip at hand.

    All of this said, my honey and I also met through the internet and it was quite a courtship. When he first wrote me in NYC saying that he was "a professional photographer in Paris" my then verrry skeptic self said "I bet you are". Little did I know...and I did know, slowly as we wrote to each other, saying things that I would never have gotten to in public NYC in defense of my awkwardly held title of "Ice Queen".

    So yes and no for me. But that is just today.

  16. Heather,
    Well, I think your reaction to putting what you think is the prettiest truth out there and not the rest of it is normal, in fact, I think we all do it at first, because there's this sense of the anonymity of the internet being like a "do over" that doesn't include the poooooooooooooo of real life.
    I also think you're forgetting something rather huge. Existence is balanced. "loving-kindness, health, happiness and...peace" are fine, but physical existence is, as the Universe is, in balance. It's the annoyances that teach us where we still hold a grudge against something within ourselves or we wouldn't care about it in someone else. It's the failings of our bodies that remind us we are more than lumps of flesh. I don't know what to say about happiness, because I'm not sure what that is. I like joy better and joy is all there is. It's how we internalize what happens externally that determines whether we maintain our joy or trade it in for something else. And as to peace.. well. All I got for you is practice and decide it's the only state you'll accept. Looking that way on the outside is a start, but again, it is the inner dialog that kills. Monitor that like you do your bank account numbers. No one and nothing gets to take away your peace. Period. Not even you. Period.
    It's one of the reasons I don't proofread well. I refuse to question the spirit that types all this stuff so fast ;)

  17. I typed respond but really, need to digest first because the bells they are a ringin'. And there aren't words to thank you for that. And I am in the middle of cooking couscous roayle and really don't want it to burn. So pleeaseee, give me a little time. But what an incredible lady you are.

  18. Heather.. good for you. You took one step in the direction of permanent peace. You thought, "it's okay" enough to go do what you needed to do to dance with is, rather than if...
    ain't this a hoot?

  19. ...oh.. and I want the recipe...

  20. Beautiful post that really spoke to me. Especially right now, I am having a hard time and I often feel like I have to be the one to look for the good despite it all. Thank you for reminding me that it is worth that.

  21. Delenn,
    You're not, and you simply have to look that thought in the eye and decide it's a ball face lie and a trick to get you feel hopeless. Pardon my crudeness, but give it an obscene hand gesture.
    Your attitude is the one that will save the world... don't give it up lightly. xo

  22. Well, I am not playing dodgeball but was delighted to muddle all of this while going throughout my day. The idea of focusing on joy over the fuzzy (as in not always in focus) idea of happiness is wildly appealing to me. And I have to fight against the idea of "failure" harder. And that is hard work, as you have said--especially as perfectionism was drilled into me before I could understand what it was. But worth the fight. Baby steps then, for anything else is too scary. I also "stumbled on" a very appropriate Wallace Stevens poem before going to sleep last night. I need to pick the book off the floor to see what it was.

    As for the couscous, well, I cheated and didn't make a proper "royale" but rather used leftovers to get things started. I did begin by sauteeing (in butter and olive oil) a handful of leeks, garlic, diced zucchini and turnips in a heavy dose of cumin and chipolte (powder brought back from the States), fresh coriander, s &p, covering it closely to speed things up. Then I added a can of chick peas, with a bit of water, then a spit of wine to get it to a happy consistency. The couscous was out of a box, the spicy kind, but because of the large North African population here in France, the instant kind is excellent. The leftovers were grilled chicken and red pepper from a bbq. This kind of couscous usually includes merguez and chipolata sausages but I didn't have any! The one that I was served at a home in Marrakech was so fine, it makes my efforts laughable. I never can understand why Maroccain cooking isn't as lauded as it should be.

    Now that I am thoroughly hungry, I will try and convince Remi to get started as he wants to cook tonight. Yes, Cowboy Remi and most likely another bbq. As we might move to a place without a garden or terrace, we are trying to take advantage of it as much as we can!

    Bon Soirée, Trace. Wise one, you.

  23. Heather,
    Now I have to search the blog for the Marrakesh thread. I'd do the happy dance, but that requires that I stop multitasking.
    As to the first, we're perfect. It's perfect. Everything is, even the things that aren't. Remembering that is what every spiritual study is about I guess.
    I grinned at Cowboy Remi. Love that notion. You may tell him for me, he is, now and forever, the French Cowboy. I think a romance novel has just been conceived...


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