Recently a client asked me if I worked as hard on my own spiritual evolution as they felt they were. I found my heart smiling. I had to giggle because for the last few weeks I have been grappling with a single word – perfection. Don Miguel Ruiz wrote, “Our image of perfection is the reason we reject ourselves; it is why we don’t accept ourselves the way we are, and why we don’t accept others the way they are.” In his Companion Guide to the Four Agreements, he challenged me to think about what my image of perfection is. I could not begin to answer that question or any of the other questions he asked because I could not find the words to define perfection.
There have been days when this single word made me wonder if I really wanted to grapple with it and was this challenge going to be enough to stop me in my journey. Some Toltec life coaches have suggested that one skip this question and come back to it later in ones journey then as early in the guide as it has appears. A part of me wanted to do just that. At the same time, I have not been able to walk away from this word. It is as if I could raise my understanding and awareness of what I believe about perfection, then everything would be ok.
I am not sure what it was about the series of events last night, but cumulatively they led to me waking up at 2:30 a.m. with this understanding and the words to define what perfection is for me. I think part of it was a conversation with a friend of mine who was encouraging me to do some wheelchair Zumba, followed by doing some more reading of Eat, Pray, Love. Of course, both of those were preceded by my blog from last night, which was about not erasing, but evolving. Whatever it is, I could hear myself telling me it was time to write about perfection. So what is perfection for me? Simple, it is love. If it is not of love, then it is not of perfection. So if I am of love, then I am perfect. If what I say, think, do, believe, is of love, then it is perfection. If every aspect of my life is inspired by love, then it is perfection.
Perfection for me is not so much about what is on the outside, but what is in my heart. What are the beliefs and agreements, which guide every moment of my existence here on earth? My sense of the perfect me is based on my loving myself, not on others evaluation of me and what they view as my “imperfections.”
Perfection for me is not so much an image or a look; it is a way of being in the world. Love is not an image. I cannot say a size 5 is love and a size 34 is not love. Love does not so much look like anything. I realize that society projects this image of the perfect “Cover Girl” kind of body or the GQ kind of guy. However, that is not something I agree with or is part of how I define perfection.
However, I do think that perfection as love can be part of one’s personality and it is something that I strive to embody. Two sources have influenced my understandings and agreements about love. One is a Christian scripture from 1 Corinthians 13 which reads, “4Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8Love never ends.
The other was the writing of don Miguel Ruiz in his book The Mastery of Love. Here I came to understand that love is unconditional, it has no expectations, flows without obligation, is respectful, compassionate, kind, and responsible.
As I stop and look at all this, I realize that this is how I strive to be in my life. I strive to be these qualities in all that I say and do. Perhaps that is why I try to get out of those situations which do not feel they come from a place of love as quickly as possible. So often, I can hear this old piece of wisdom which says “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it at all.” Other times I find myself drawing on this Sufi teaching and questioning is what I want to say truthful, necessary and kind. If I cannot answer yes to all three parts, then I get silent. Sometimes I am just quiet, because quiet for me is a state of grace and perfection. Sometimes I need to spend time with God to find the words to speak truth in love.
What I have come to realize is that my understanding about what perfection is constantly inspires me to do my best. Love inspires. Love changes things.
Do I feel as if I am love 100% of the time? That is a hard question to answer. If I am being completely honest with myself, then I would have to say no. there are moments I need to be more loving of myself in terms of releasing some of the expectations I have of myself. If I am expecting myself to embody love 100% of the time, then that is not love and then love is coming from a place of obligation and thus it is not love.
So now that I have worked my way through this question which has been in my heart, what next? And the voice inside says to me “Go back to bed, Sharon.” Thank you God. Night.