Present Over Perfect

Struggle with perfectionism? You are not alone; I do, too.

It can be difficult be ok with ‘what is’.

Father Richard Rohr emails a daily meditation to his subscribers. He sometimes features other authors/philosophers/etc in his work. I enjoyed reading this email. The end made me sigh with a realization of the truth and with a feeling of peace the truth brought me. So, I thought I would share his email here:

After spending many years seeking perfection, popular author Shauna Niequist discovered the freedom and love that can be experienced by being present to life as it is. She writes about the difference between a false perfection and a lived presence:

Let’s talk for a minute about perfect. . . . Perfect is brittle and unyielding, plastic, distant, more image than flesh. Perfect calls to mind stiffness, silicone, an aggressive and unimaginative relentlessness. Perfect and the hunt for it will ruin our lives—that’s for certain.

I’ve missed so much of my actual, human, beautiful, not-beautiful life trying to force things into perfect. But these days I’m coming to see that perfect is safe, controlled, managed. I’m finding myself drawn to mess, to darkness, to things that are loved to the point of shabbiness, or just wildly imperfect in their own gorgeous way. . . .

And so, instead: present. If perfect is plastic, present is rich, loamy soil. . . .

Present is living with your feet firmly grounded in reality, pale and uncertain as it may seem. Present is choosing to believe that your own life is worth investing deeply in, instead of waiting for some rare miracle or fairy tale. Present means we understand that the here and now is sacred, sacramental, threaded through with divinity even in its plainness. Especially in its plainness.

Present over perfect living is real over image, connecting over comparing, meaning over mania, depth over artifice. Present over perfect living is the risky and revolutionary belief that the world God has created is beautiful and valuable on its own terms, and that it doesn’t need to be zhuzzed up and fancy in order to be wonderful.

Sink deeply into this world as it stands. Breathe in the smell of rain and the scuff of leaves as they scrape across driveways on windy nights. This is where life is, not in some imaginary, photo-shopped dreamland. Here. Now. You, just as you are. Me, just as I am. This world, just as it is. This is the good stuff. This is the best stuff there is. Perfect has nothing on truly, completely, wide-eyed, open-souled present.

How can you be more present today? 

How can you take more part in the "best stuff there is"?

Here’s to conquering stress.

With heart,

The Stress Experts

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