Tuesday, December 31, 2013

embracing imperfection, going with the flow

                                                                                               Vermont, Summer 2013

Three lessons I learned in 2013 and why they matter?: because life is too short!

1. Embrace imperfection. This is a liberating lesson because it makes life so much easier! It is a way to embrace the process of living itself because just like we age, things also decay and we have very little control over "time's relentless melt." We dust or sweep and a few minutes later dust has settled over the spaces we have just cleaned and that's just the way things are. We co-habitate with the elements, with dust and air, and these things shift, move, settling in the corners. Accepting imperfection allows us to focus on what really matters, like being kind, compassionate, and accepting, not only to others, but most importantly with ourselves. Perfection does not exist. There is no such thing. I am not alone or original in walking the path towards learning to love and embrace imperfection, as the Zen philosophy of wabi sabi reveals. Each day, each month, each year that we are alive gives us the opportunity to develop a deeper appreciation for the process of change, growth and decay.

2. Let go. This must be practiced every day, it should be a daily habit. In the morning when we wake we must remind ourselves that today we will let go of our fantasies about perfection, we will let go of our expectations that things will go as we planned them. And at the end of the day when we take inventory of our day, we will keep what's useful and discard what is not. This include letting go of negative experiences and resentment. We will be thankful for the day that ended and for the greatness that is life! Letting go will allows us to adapt to the unexpected, to change at a moment's notice, to survive in a fast-paced ever shifting world. 

3. Don't take things personally. It is tip #62 here and #42 here). This lesson has been invaluable this last year especially as I learned to navigate through a difficult situation at work (a situation that existed before me), and one over which I had little control. The only control I had was over myself and my actions. I walked into a toxic situation, but it was a learning opportunity, it gave me the chance to learn to take care of myself, remain honest and to do what was right. In the end I also learned not to tie my self-worth to what other people think or say, because it is about them and their journey and not about me and my journey. By not taking things personally, I was able to overcome a difficult situation and build character in the process. Now whenever I find myself getting upset or obsessing over something hurtful (or that I thought was hurtful) that someone said, I tell myself: "hey, that is not about me!" I quickly let the thought pass away (I find useful the mindfulness technique of waves crashing against the shore: a wave forms, crashes, and then passes away back into the sea). By not grasping onto negative thoughts and feelings I have much more mental room to be thankful, happy, creative, and to engage in positive, affirming thoughts and behaviors!

I am thankful for 2013! I look forward to the splendor of the unfolding seasons in 2014!


Also, here are some links that have been helpful to me as I ponder how to live a content and meaningful life.
The Little Book of Contentment (its free!)
The Short and Sweet Guide to Being Fucking Awesome
Successfool & You don't have to explain yourself

2 comments:

  1. I love that picture at the top!! Definitely into these life lessons...especially the one about not connecting your own self-worth with what other people think and say. Still working through that one. Another thing I learned this year is living in the moment and not over stressing about the future. We're never getting this time back so why not fill it up with things that make us happy? I'm over the drama and tears, I just want to laugh and be happy, cheers to 2014!!

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  2. Thanks Kendra! YES, living in the moment is a VERY important life lesson. Let's practice it every moment of every day!

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