The light is everything

The weekend, which allows the possibility to get out in nature, is a good time to share some of Mary Oliver’s poetry.  This one is about flowers and how some are less “perfect” than others. But it is also about  relationships and what hopes we have for our heart, about a greater beauty that embraces the clearly imperfect and allows us cast away the hassles of the everyday which are not us. We are nourished.

Shared moments, flowers, meanings and the stories that feed us.

What in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided–
and that one wears an orange blight–
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away–
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled —
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing —
that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

Mary Oliver, The Ponds

Keep going

Posted this once before but I really like the encouragement at the end of a working week which contained 10,000 things arising and passing away:

He has shown you what is good,  and what is required of you: To do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

 

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. 

Do justly, now.  Love mercy, now.  Walk humbly, now. 

You are not obligated to complete the work,

but neither are you free to abandon it.

The Talmud

Do not doubt your goodness

Often individuals who have experienced insecure attachments in childhood have high shame and self-criticism as companions in adulthood. The dominant role of their overdeveloped threat and protection system means that they have an underdeveloped capacity to use the soothing and safety system, whose function is to allow them feel safe and cared for.

In order to communicate very openly with the world, you need to develop fundamental trust. This kind of trust is not trusting “in” something, but simply trusting. It is very much like your breath. You do not consciously hold on to your breath, or trust in your breath, yet breathing is your very nature. In the same way, to be trusting is your very nature. To be trusting means you are fundamentally free from doubt about your goodness and about the goodness of others.

Dr. Jeremy Hayward, First Thought

Forgiving our life

 

A lot of us find it hard to extend real kindness towards ourselves. Our default position is that we are much more critical of ourselves – and how our life history has developed – than we are of others. 

And if we forgive life for not being what we told it to be, or expected, or wished, or longed for it to be,

we forgive ourselves for not being what we might have been also.

And then we can be what we are, which is boundless

John Tarrant, The Zenosaurus Course in Koans

Being driven is not always a good thing

On the day after being nominated among the 50 best blogs “on the planet”, these thoughts on striving and becoming which I had written for today seem even more apt…

One reason we practice mindfulness meditation is to strengthen our capacity to “be with” what is here,  rather than always nurturing the deep-seated dynamic of “becoming”.  And “being with” does not just mean that simplistic idea of mindfulness – being with this beautiful flower or cupcake –  but also being with the life or personality we have, rather than always wanting to be better or be like others –  “If only I was this….. if only he or she wasn’t like that – then I’d feel satisfied”. Ideals of perfect relationships, perfect holidays and even perfect wellness make it easy to feel that one isn’t good enough. These can be false friends, pushing us to do more and achieve more, rather than finding rest in who and where we are:

Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: “If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.” Perfectionism is defeating and self-destructive simply because there is no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal. Additionally, perfectionism is more about perception – we want to be perceived as perfect. Again, this is unattainable – there is no way to control perception, regardless of how much time and energy we spend trying.

Perfectionism is addictive because when we invariably do experience shame, judgment, and blame, we often believe it’s because we weren’t perfect enough so rather than questioning the faulty logic of perfectionism, we become even more entrenched in our quest to live, look, and do everything just right.

Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection