Ahhh, It sounds like a cool drink of water, doesn't it? Some days I find it a bit grittier in practice. And truth be told I get to practice imperfection fairly often. Sometimes for me the "embrace" of imperfection starts out more like a wrestling move. Instead of a dear friend's warm hug, it feels a bit like a cigar smoking, crazy-strong mountain man has pounced on me for a "chokeslam" (that's a legit wrestling move; I looked it up).
And I don't think I'm alone in this, in the daily practice of imperfection that marks our humanness or in the struggle with transforming the suffocating chokeslam of self criticism into something more akin to a warm embrace.
Why is it that we so often offer imperfect others a sweet drink of compassion and mercy and go around so parched ourselves?
For me, it seems that there are areas where I sip at the cup, willing to nod and smile at my mess ups and to relax into my humanity. And there are others where I bristle and am choked by my imperfections. And I've noticed, for myself and and the brave folks I've worked with, that the very areas we tend to withhold that cup of self compassion are so often the areas nearest our earlier woundings and pain. Because it makes so much sense to deprive, wrestle and whip those parts of ourselves that have been bruised, battered or broken by life, right?
Of course it doesn't...
So how do we begin embracing our imperfections and holding ourselves with more compassion? Very gently, perhaps...maybe we begin just noticing the edges of where we are least tolerant of our imperfections or mistakes. Perhaps we begin just noticing when we pull the whip of self criticism out and withhold the cup of self compassion. Perhaps we find an ally to walk with us to the well or to help soften the chokehold. Maybe we begin by pausing to tune our ear to that internal dialogue or to take a loving look at those old bruised and battered spots. Perhaps it's a process so worth beginning.
The absolute wonderful thing I've discovered about my internal voice (aka mountain man) is that more and more often he is willing, in the turn of a moment (or two) with a nod from me, to lessen his grip and greet me in an old friend's warm embrace and hand me that cool drink of water.
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
– Anna Quindlen
Today, may you breathe more deeply, smile more often and feel more at home in your own beautiful (imperfect) life...