I am writing this after a walk and an online yoga session with my teacher, Annie Carpenter. My mind is still and my body at rest. The constant barrage of thoughts and worries have subsided and settled like little flakes at the bottom of a snow globe.
On January 1, I was asked to think of one word to focus on for 2016. Of course, my immediate thought was “what’s a word that would cause some sort of improvement?” There must be a word to make me better, right? That’s what New Years Resolutions are all about! But, the inner experiences I have been through this month have urged me to see this concept of intention and focus through a different spiritual lense. I continue to wrestle with perfectionism. God bless. Sometimes I think this is my most important life lesson! This week it was brought to light in a variety of ways…when I put sink dish soap in the dishwasher and bubbles exploded everywhere, when I lost out on a job, and when a relationship ended.
In his podcast (thank you, Keirin!) Rob Bell illustrates the difference between good (or the hebrew word, Tov) and perfect. Tov is inherent in the process of creation and reminds us that in order for us to transform and fully live, chaos, obstacles, and destruction are part of the process. Who ever heard of a natural human birth that didn’t involve intensity, pain, and one big mess, right? With Tov, there is a river of movement, life, and vitality. There’s dirt in that river and rocks in that river, but also that dizzying and lovely feeling of riding along the current. There is wind in your hair, laughter on your lips, and perhaps a friend or two in the boat with you. Birds sing and the sun shines! There is also the possibility for big and small disasters to occur.
Brene Brown speaks so eloquently about the fact that we cannot have it both ways. We cannot try to perfectly avoid the rocks and the dirt and the winter weather and still truly experience the joy of the ride. More specifically, she says “We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”
It’s so scary to feel.
But, after sobbing to my friend in the car and spilling coffee everywhere, after fumbling through an interview, and after experiencing all of the little mishaps that have already occurred in this new year, I have found my word: MESSY. Yep. Because, guess what? When I’m not trying to tie little bows around everything and organize things that don’t really matter, I can listen to the sound of my best friend’s voice…I mean, really listen. I can laugh and make connections in my art. My heart can take in the gorgeous spirit of a newborn baby. I get to LIVE.
Artwork via Paul Chek