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Posts Tagged ‘challenge’

For anyone – and everyone – who’s had a rough day …

NotHowTheStoryEnds2

And if you’re a woman who’s ever doubted her beauty, take a toddle over to my blogging buddy, 47whitebuffalo’s blog, and enjoy a wonderful listening experience with Aldrey’s “Mirate” (Look at Yourself.)

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RopeBridge-EvaSchuster2

When I first saw this photo, I had to swallow hard. That is not a bridge I’d be able to cross. The photograph is of the Carrick-a-rede-rope bridge in Northern Ireland and connects the mainland to a tiny island. It is now a tourist attraction, but was once used by salmon fishermen for over 350 years. It is 98 feet, above rocks and the sea, built only of wood and ropes. It is easy to imagine how it would sway when one crosses to the little island on the other side.

It reminds me of  bridges in my own life … the sometimes difficult paths that I am traveling to places I want to go. Just like real bridges, some of these can be crossed in hours, days, or maybe years. Some are nice and secure and amazingly happy, like when I used to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, and some are much more challenging, like this one would be. Some feel like they have a sheer drop to the sea and cliffs below.

We all have bridges we need … or want … to cross. I’d had a discussion of this metaphor with a friend a few years ago; a particular challenge I faced, (and still do), seemed the equivalent of crossing this rope bridge. How would I get where I wanted to go? She suggested I imagine the rope bridge bathed in white light, one continuous safety net. I accepted this in theory, but it didn’t banish my fears. And then I had a thought. If I really, truly wanted to get there, I could crawl. Maybe not a bold or terribly brave move, but if that’s all I can do right now? Then I can crawl.

And sometimes that’s what we have to do. Some days we can dance around and through wherever we want to go. Others we can walk with our head held high. But if we sometimes have to crawl to get there,  at least we can say we never gave up. One day, one step at a time.

We’ll all get there.

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Perfection sucks. Plain and simple.

This is not to say we shouldn’t strive for the highest standards or do the very best we can do, but striving to always be perfect is a useless and demoralizing task. Yet it’s how many of us live and  how many of us were raised. Things had to be perfect … we had to be perfect.

When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target.  ~George Fisher

Growing up, many of us had parents and teachers that believed in perfection, and who were no doubt raised the same way. Every little thing had to be just so. No messes, no mistakes. It’s hard for a parent to teach a child that not being perfect is really OK when the opposite message was enforced in them. And so the manacles of impossible perfection get passed on from parent to child.

Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.  ~Salvador Dali

Even knowing this, we get caught up on this search for perfection again and again. Like a piece of cloth catching on a rusty nail as we walk by, we lament the tiny new bubble of thread in the fabric instead of seeing how beautiful the whole still remains.

You see, when weaving a blanket, an Indian woman leaves a flaw in the weaving of that blanket to let the soul out.  ~Martha Graham

We feel compelled towards perfection in our need for immaculately clean homes, spotless clothing, the perfect score in golf, the car without the tiniest of marks in the finish. We must have perfect grades, the best performance in our jobs, in sports and other accomplishments, berating ourselves ruthlessly when we “fail.” We are so horribly unfair to ourselves, is it any wonder so many people have difficulty reaching goals and dreams, having allowed so many stumbling blocks to remain in our path?

Always live up to your standards – by lowering them, if necessary.  ~Mignon McLaughlin

I was once given an assignment. I was told to put a deliberate flaw in every drawing I did as a way of getting past my fear of the drawing being less than perfect. It still is a challenge that I cringe before, and if I do it, I can’t let it stay for long. Perfection takes away the enjoyment of the moment, of whatever we’ve worked on and completed, and … the enjoyment of others, too. For those of us who were raised this way, it’s a lifelong challenge, but let it go.

Let perfection go. Pick it up in your hand and blow it away like the tiny fluffs of a spent dandelion. Because here’s the truth. In the deepest sense of the word, we are already perfect. And we never need to try so hard.

Sometimes… when you hold out for everything, you walk away with nothing.  ~From the television show Ally McBeal

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