- simply jag
I'm a recovering perfectionist.
Seeking perfection has often served me well... however, more often than not, it has robbed me of experience. The true, messy, growth-full kind of experience that allows us to find joy, and satisfaction, and disappointment, and pain, and authenticity.
I have prided myself on being good at what I do. There's nothing inherently wrong with that... however, I have often avoided engaging in things that I didn't think I'd be good at. Things like dancing, or golf, or painting, or roller-blading, or karaoke. I'd try it once, maybe twice. It didn't come naturally, so I'd stop... I'd walk away convincing myself that I didn't really like it anyway.
I'm loving being in my 40s because I've finally decided that perfection is highly overrated. It's simply unattainable and is not mine to behold. I am fully embracing my beautiful imperfection. This is why I've decided to join The Perfect Protest!
If you feel like saying ENOUGH ALREADY!, why don't you join in the protest too? Stand up to the unrealistic expectations imposed by society, others and - most importantly - ourselves.
Join in the protest - let your imperfection and true-ness shine...
A Simple Focus was intended to be less about writing and more about my photography, so this seems to be a perfect one-month challenge for me.
One. Photo. Per. Day.
C'est tout. No other rules apply.
And so, I present august break #s 1 & 2...
- simply jag xox
- Going out for a long run on Sunday morning along a dirt road and not encountering a car for an entire 30 minutes. At one point, I heard a rustle in the clearing and saw a flash of white tail. Finally! I had been seeing prints all weekend... As I stopped, so did the deer. We just stood there, looking at each other. That's when I brought my hands in prayer to my heart centre, bowed my head towards her: Namaste. I have nothing but Love for you, Deer. We stared a bit longer, then I turned away and continued my run. Only then did she jump into the forest. Bliss. Pure moment of bliss.
- The food. The food. The food. I am so very well taken care of at Stillpoint. The cooks pay more attention to my special dietary needs then I do on many days! Phoebe had been experimenting with "sourdough pita" at home and looked forward to sharing it with me. It didn't quite puff up as much as she wanted, but it was delish nonetheless. And those tiny herb biscuits? Please!! Every plate of fruit I received was graced with a sprig of mint and tiny flowers - as always, food that is as enjoyable to look at as it is to eat!
- Gaining new clarity regarding my chose spiritual path... i am enough... My path asks nothing new of me - no new skills, or knowledge, or training, or abilities, or anything! I have everything I need to continue living a life of sane and happy usefulness. In fact, I tend to carry too much and need to let go. My path is one of subtraction, not addition.
- The loons! Is there anything more soul-stirringly Canadian than the cry of the lone loon echoing across the water?? (Don't you dare suggest this! :-)) Every evening, I slept with my window wide open so that I could hear the cry of the loons. What began with a single, mournful wail would often be followed up by a veritable toolooloo-ing chorus coming from all directions... a harmonious cacophony that had me smiling in my sleep.
I'm scheduled to undergo corrective laser eye surgery this afternoon. After 35 years of wearing glasses, this represents a BIG change in my life. I am excited... and scared... and apprehensive... and giddy... all that, and more. Unless you've lived a life of blurr and have depended on an external accessory to function in the world, I'm not sure you can fully understand. And that's OK. I've never even worn contact lenses. Not a once. The very idea of sticking my finger in my eye on a daily basis just never appealed to me. Go figure.
As I allow myself to imagine life without glasses, I feel compelled to honour the role they have played. In fact, I kinda wish I had kept them all, as a "this-is-your-life-in-glasses" type thing... then I could hold a thank you & farewell celebration for them ALL!
Ah, glasses... you were:
resented as a child
in the way as a teenager
appreciated and accessorized as an adult
always, and always, miraculous.
As I get closer to the moment of clear, un-aided, eyesight, I offer you a heartfelt "see you later" and a few glimpses into "this-was-my-life-in-glasses".
Same frame, cooler confidence... 12 yrs
Ahh yesss, the 1980's... high school grad pic
Late 1980's, when lens makers must have charged by surface area... University grad pic
Skipping the wide variety of round, metal frames (mostly due to lack of e-photos) and getting to the uber-chic stage
Who would think that a piece of plastic, distorted to the perfect degree, could become such a part of me, helping to shape my identity? Who will I be without glasses?! I'm trusting that I will continue to be...
Last week, I shared about a teacher's final gift. The next day, Janet was gone from this earth. Today, friends & family gathered to share our memories and celebrate her life. She truly was a mountain of a woman and her spiritual generosity knew no bounds.
Her memorial service reflected her Buddhist faith and it was both moving and healing. I feel blessed to have been a part of it.
- simply jag
And so, in no particular order, I hereby present to you, my...
READING LIST 2010
- But Not the Hippopotamus - Sandra Boynton
- On the Road - Jack Kerouac
- There's Nothing Wrong with You - Cheri Huber
- A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
- Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
- The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks
- Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
- The Soul of a Tree - George Nakashima
- A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle
- "Otherland" series (Books 1, 2, 3 & 4) - Tad Williams
- I Knew You Could - Craig Dorfman
- Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin
- Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
- Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer
- Haiku Year - Gilroy, Grace, McKay, Martin, Phillips, Roth & Stipe
- The Boat Who Wouldn't Float - Farley Mowat
- Come, Thou Tortoise - Jessica Grant
- Life of Pi - Yann Martel
- When All You Have is Hope - Frank O'Dea
As I finish reading a book, I'll change the colour of the text to pink. As you can see, I've already finished one (Three Cups of Tea)... and what a great book it was! I highly recommend it... On to the next one!
I looked wisdom in the eye today.
I looked impermanence in the eye today.
I looked love in the eye today.
And although that eye was her only way of communicating, those are the messages I received.
I had the blessing of sitting silently with a friend today.
She is in an end-of-life care facility... in the final stages of her cancer journey.
She has easily had three lifetimes worth of struggles in this one short life, and she has worn them with dignity.
I was nervous about going to see her.
I knew it was to say good-bye ...and thank you.
I was so nervous, I even Googled "what to say to a person who is dying".
(Yes, I actually did that!)
I was reminded that I didn't need to say much.
I could let my presence speak.
I could let my love speak.
As it turned out, that was all I needed.
She is beyond speech now.
Except for that one eye.
My nervousness soon dissipated and I felt...
by the experience
by her presence
by the gift.
She has been a teacher to me...
a companion on the journey of recovery and discovery
and even in these final days,
probably without even knowing it,
Thank you, my friend.
Peace to you..
- simply jag
I am not athletic.
I don't finish what I start.
I am lazy.
I am not domestic.
I have worn all of these labels - and others - for much of my life. I have let them go... and picked them up again, only to release them some time later. They're never very far away. Too often, I have let them define me and determine how I walk in this world.
I have made progress in moving beyond these self-defeating definitions. Can I truly say "I don't cook" as I feast on a Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili that I made from scratch? When I cross the finish line after running 21.1 km, am I still lazy... and non-athletic? And when I take money out of the ATM to pay for our housekeeper, am I... um, well... OK, let's face it. I am not domestic. :-)
I wear other labels too...
I am spiritual.
I am compassionate.
I am a good listener.
I am kind.
I am calm.
These labels seem more appropriate to wear, but they too can work against me. Some days, I am not kind... and I am not calm... and I am not compassionate. On those days, I judge myself harshly and become critical of not living up to the label. I pick up another label: I am a failure.
Just for today, I don't want to wear a label.
Just for today, I am here... I am now... I am enough.
Just for today, I am.
- simply jag
We, the people, are the boss and we will get the kind of political leadership, be it good or bad, that we demand and deserve.
- John F. Kennedy
In July 2005, I copied this quote from a wall at the JFK Library & Museum in Boston. It spoke to me then... and it still challenges me today.
I attended a dinner party last weekend and one of the guests - a woman I had never met before - had a bag of scrolls. As I was getting ready to leave, she asked: "Would you like a poem?" I asked her if they were her poems... "No, just poems." OK, why not? So, I thanked her, blindly took a scroll and stuffed it in my purse.
A few days later, I remembered it and discovered this...
EVERYTHING IS WAITING FOR YOU
Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
(David Whyte, 2003)
She could not have known how much I needed this.
But the Spirit of the Universe knew...
Everything is waiting for me.
- simply jag xox