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Progress Over Perfection

My first inclination is to offer an effusive apology for the absolute radio silence, mostly because I am sorry that haven’t felt that I had more to share. And my second proclivity is to be completely unapologetic. October has been much harder than I anticipated, both emotionally and in general.

As you may know, October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. I had anticipated some hard times for me, especially as our baby would have been due anytime now. Yes, this month has had some extremely hard milestones. And like I posted about previously in “Ugly Surprises”, there were also times when I purposely tapped that well of grief and let it overflow. One such moment was when I a dear friend accompanied me to a vigil offered by Deep Waters Bereavement, doulas trained in walking with mothers and families through this extremely difficult journey of loss. Hearing and seeing the rawness of families who had been though a similar journey over the past months and years was comforting. I wanted, in my heart, to be able to have a conversation and an ugly cry with people who have such an intimate and complete understanding of this journey. But my soul and voice weren’t ready for non-print words and conversation yet. Instead, I listened to the waves washing over the rocks on the lake shore, watched the flames in the candles lit for each baby flicker as the sun set, marveled at the tiny paper hearts filled with wildflower seeds and adorned with the names of babies gently tossed into the lake, and cried a lot of tears for this marvelously hard journey we are all walking.

This feeling of being so raw and emotional again has created a pseudo-bloggers block, and my struggle with perfection has reared its ugly head. I’ve always been a perfectionist to a level which has bothered both me and likely others. Full disclosure: I even went to counseling in college in hopes of trying to give myself more grace and enjoy life more.

And yet, even though I can tell myself that things don’t have to be perfect, I still find myself waiting for those moments where I feel like my words have reached faultlessness before I want to post and put them into the universe. Waiting for, craving, hoping for the some great inspiration to put out there. And yet, right now in this moment, it doesn’t feel like it’s there.

Truth is, when I think back looking for moments of pure perfection, where everything was brilliant, inspirational, uplifting, moving, and exactly as I had planned, not a single one exists. Not. One. Single. One. Because even with the best laid plans, careful preparation and study, and all the things, life happened instead. The universe, God, or whatever higher or worldly power moves interfered. Other plans revealed themselves. The talents, gifts, and relationships of those around me we added, and those contributions helped surpass my best laid plans. Those moments were much more beautiful, rich and full BECAUSE attachments to perfection had gone out the window.

And that’s where another great friend came in tonight. She asked how things were going, and I verbally vomited (via text) about this perfection struggle. And her response, “Hmmm. That’s such a tough place to be… not letting perfect be the enemy of good.” She clarified that she believed it was Steinbeck who said, “Now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” And these words, hers and that Nobel prize winning and Great American Read author’s, were perfection.

Where is your quest for perfection getting in the way of joy, presence, or creativity? How could letting go or re-framing open you up to seeing things anew? Maybe it’s time to find out…

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