Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Perfectionism.  Mmmm.  Can I say that my little friend has dogged my days, months, years for a very long time?  Though I do have to mention, progress has been made in lessening its deathly blow to my spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being, and yet it's still there periodically picking at me.

It rose its ugly head the other day with a decision I had come to, but I couldn't just accept that decision because I was fueled by grandiosity and approval seeking and just had to make sure I was doing "it" right.  Of course, my sound decision was thwarted with another idea, and I quickly implemented it because the quick decision has got to have more merit than a well, thought out one.

And once again there I was with my perfectionism-buddy.  I heard someone say that perfectionism is not  going back over something to make it better but only to find the for-sure wrongness of it all.  It becomes a negative excavation and soon I have dug myself down in a hole that has no light and I cannot see any truth of what is only the fear of what I believe consumes me internally, an awful form of inadequacy that can never be healed or made better because I am not perfect.

Can you imagine such a thing?  Me not being perfect?  This is a moment where I am definitely laughing because experience after experience with my imperfections shining through is flipping in my mind's eye like a slideshow.  I also can reference those times when my greatest growth occurred out of a mistake or what I considered a mistake or me not doing "it" right.

Does the appearance of my life represent the essence of my soul and what kind of person I am?  I believe not and yet sometimes I don't act like it.  Sometimes I bend over backwards to make sure everything looks good "out there" so you'll think I'm doing it right, when in all actuality I am withering away inside my skin-suit.

It is a guarantee that I will fall down and will have to get up again.  And in some ways that is the beauty of living this life.  To adjust to the fact that by acknowledging my limits, my humanness, I can be more helpful to others, more available to my children, more vulnerable to love and laughter, more concerned with walking in the sunlight, more open to what can be instead of devastated by what can't.

Perhaps, life is really simple, like stopping at a stop sign because there's a stop sign or eating because I'm hungry or laying my head to rest because my body is tired or laughing because something said or done was funny or hugging someone because I love them or moving on to the next thing because it is the next action to take because I've given it my all and need to be done, regardless of what my perfectionism-buddy says, which always seems to entail worry and over-correction and an angry voice telling me I should do better.

Exhaustion doesn't lead me to fresh streams and easy dreams.  Emotional blackmail and verbal abuse doesn't lead me to self-esteem and self-confidence.  Starvation whether emotional, physical, mental, or spiritual doesn't  set me on the right track for a happy life.  Working within my limits, loving myself as I am, letting go of what I can't do and nourishing what I can do, all these things and more, fulfill me with hope and grace and joy and freedom.

There it is, loud and clear.  By being imperfect I exercise the perfection of being human and seem always to have a bountiful well of growth, of change, of love, of laughter, of connected-ness with the human race.  There is such grace in letting things be as they are, in letting myself be who I am, and in letting the revelation of the simplicity of life wash over me like sun-heated bathwater.  It is a wonderment to behold.

Freedom's Echo

Emergence from the depths of the flu brings about a rebirth sensation, like the world is new and fresh and ready for the taking.  I'm not completely released from the illness' deathly grips, but I reside in the green grass of impending health, and it is a glorious thing to behold.

It's almost like my body had forgotten what movement without pain felt like or how the brain could think and create or the taste of a good, hot cup of coffee, and then my body and brain and taste buds stepped out from the caverns of darkness and there was the memory of what life had been two weeks prior.

A sigh slipped from my lips and my imagination fired with projects and writing ideas and walks with the dog and playing banjo and yoga.  Oh, at last, the freedom the small voice in my head had persistently whispered when I tried to sleep and couldn't, when the ache of flu seared through my skin and tissue into the core of my bone, when I thought the illness would never let me go.  Freedom's echo still reverberated in my heart's chambers and now I lay hold to the possibilities it bestows with every day forward.

I'm alive.  Phew!

Saturday, February 16, 2013


The library held silence, like miniature snow globes hold fake winter snowstorms. People moved through vast book shelves that extended from ceiling to floor with hundreds upon hundreds of books.  Joseph lounged at a wooden table, which faced the main entryway into the building and stared at his book, some mystery or other, though his eyes flitted from page to door every few seconds.

A woman with short brunette hair and skinny pants that hugged every curve, with a long grey-green shoulder bag that slapped her left thigh, walked in.  Joseph caught the glint of her movement, and his eyes fastened on her.  His spine stiffened straight, and his book lulled, half-hazard, in his hands.  The woman dropped two books in the return book chute and sauntered off to the historical section.

Joseph tracked her with his eyes until she disappeared then with discreet and deliberate movement pushed his metal chair back and stood.  He maneuvered down a parallel aisle, scanning each intersection of shelving, and located her two rows from the end in a desolate part of the library, where scholars and hard-core researchers only dared to frequent.

She stood, with her shoulders somewhat hunched and her hip slanted out, as her left foot rested on tiptoe.  She perused a large black book and hummed a tune under her breath.  He remained quiet at the end of the row, studying her, and fingered something in his right jacket pocket.

"Excuse me.  Can I help you find something?"

Joseph swiveled round to where a young boy of seventeen stared at him, with arched eyebrows and an open expression on his face.

"No thanks," Joseph said and turned his back to the boy.  He moved into the row where the woman still lingered, uninterrupted, and picked up a book at random.  "I've found what I'm looking for," he said and flashed his inquirer a grin laden with white teeth.

The boy's eyes squinted and glanced toward the woman at the far end and then back to Joseph.  "Well, let me know if you need any help."

"Sure will," Joseph said.  He shifted his feet under the boy's gaze and bored his nose further into the book he held.

The boy resumed his delivery of the returned books residing on his library cart, and Joseph set his eyes on the woman again, though she no longer stood where he left her.  He cursed and slammed the book back into its slot.