Begin. Beginnings. There’s a Goethe quote that goes: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”
It’s a funny thing isn’t it, this New Year reckoning?! A trillion hopeful hearts waking up to this fresh new blank canvas. We won’t spoil it this time, we whisper, we’ll make this one perfect!
My old friend! 😉
There’s an imp on my shoulder today. Well in fact, as in every good tale, there’s two. The one on my left is the familiar of control. Perfection is the partner of control. They got married at the correct age to do so, had 2.4 kids, and live in the burbs with a white picket fence, a sterile yet manicured yard, and live life like something out of a Stepford Wife movie, or The Truman Show!
The imp on my right is eating biscuits, making crumbs on my black woolen shawl, and loud crunching sounds in my ear! She doesn’t really care. She’s much more interested in her biscuit (it’s a good one all dewy softness and full of flavours of lemon, cinnamon and rose). She’s connected to her pleasure. She knows that this has so much importance, that it’s everything. That that’s where the magic is found, like in Chocolat! She’s in alignment with this moment. This brings her much joy. She farts, gently, pauses momentarily, then carries on.
As you can imagine the imp on my left is not pleased. She’s huffing and puffing and doing that thing whereby she’s feeling an indignation, a superiority, a snobbery and is put out re the uncouthness of the other imp’s behaviour. To be honest, she doesn’t actually know what uncouthness means. I’ll look it up for her.
(Uncouth: lacking good manners, refinement or grace, sophistication or delicacy; (of a place) wild, remote, or spartan; awkward and uncultivated in appearance, manner, or behaviour; strange or clumsy in shape or appearance; archaic: not known or not familiar to one, seldom experienced (uncommon, rare); From ‘cunnan’ (Old English) ‘know, be able’, ‘un-‘ ‘not’/ ‘uncuth’= ‘uncouth’ ‘unknown’.)
It’s everything that her and her beloved control despise and abhor! That would never be allowed on her watch. Instead all will be clean and polished, with not a hair nor morsel out of sight!
Why am I writing this?
What if instead of this being the year when all of this happens in a relatively smart and straight line, with minimal disturbance to the force a la Star Wars, the original please! (I’ve had enough of my force being disturbed thank you very much!), instead we invite in the possibility of imperfection having a marvelous masqueraded and fanciful ball, with which we are invited to!?
Now I’m all for goals and intentions. Dreams and desires. Having a sense of wanting to pursue something for the sheer hell and pull of it. Look, having that singular vision and purpose worked for Kevin Costner’s character in Field of Dreams didn’t it?! If you build it they will come. If it is aligned that is, from soul, not ego!
Maybe that’s the key though you see. Sure. Many of the things we would like the year to lay at our table and feet in agreed abundance, pertains to the thinking that this will bring us happiness. That at last we can unbuckle our shoe, unlace our corset, and breathe, and relax. Maybe the bringing of such things will make us feel a kind of safety. That by having and acquiring x, y and z, we will be OK, secure and away from the nasty hands of feverish fate and the down-turning of our peaceful lives?
I can’t quite believe I’m about to say this, as a renowned and accomplished fan of control and perfection, the fuckery fuckers!!, but maybe life be a lot more interesting, entertaining, surprising, mysterious and magnificent, if we instead took our wisdom from the imp of imperfection instead.
The imp on my right shoulder looks up at this point. To be fair, she’s not really bothered if you do or don’t! She’s not into grade A’s and well done’s! She uses gold stars to place upon the cheeks of loved ones so that they can sparkle as they go about their days. As for prestige, fame and fortune? Sure, she loves these but they are not the carrots she chases for instant adoration and approval. She’ll take the carrots though. And juice them, because embracing the imp of imperfection doesn’t mean giving up and becoming a wretched hobo impersonator, all crumbs and waywardness. The imp pauses to look at me again as I write this, her biscuit hovers in the air. I almost detect an air of pride in her. That might be me though! 😉 No. This imp takes care of her appearance because she can, and wants to. Because it delights her to do so. Because it brings her joy.
She lives with joy as her guiding light. As her compass of ingenuity, integrity and instinct.
As I look up and out of the window, there’s blue in the sky. There hasn’t been all day, it’s been grey and damp and low lit, causing one to walk all stooped just in case you accidentally touched the sky. No one would know what would happen if you did. But you think that your jacket would get extremely soaking wet, and it might even bury you in a puddle of water. Best not to risk it. Best not!
Anyways, I digress!!!
So here’s my theory. How about we dig down deep and dirty and pull out the seeds of our goals, intentions, dreamings and desires. Then we plant ’em, in healthy soil. Real, earthy, practical! We tend to these as best as we can. That is, we take responsibility for these seeds. It’s not up to just some magical, pastel-coloured genie made out of candy floss to hover about and shit sugar on to your dreams so that they grow up all ‘my little pony’-like and become a child’s Disney-fied version of what you actually wanted!!! Oh hell no!!!
You’ve gotta do the work. Take the necessary steps and aligned focused actions. Even if these are teeny tiny, that’s wonderful. And then? Then you’ve gotta let go. Let go of the fruits of your actions! As Krishna tells Arjuna in one of my favourite books ever, The Bhagavad Gita, go do your dharma, your work, and let go of the outcome. Give it to life’s genie instead. Give it to God folks. Or Spirit, or the great mystery, or the sacred ‘I don’t know’!
In the meantime? Don’t wait. Waiting is in cahoots with perfection and her buddies! Trust me. I know!! :-/
Go out and show up as you are. Play. Dance. Sing. Write. Cook. Mother. Laugh. Pray. Wash dishes. Walk on beaches. Work in a shop. Brush your teeth. Love your friends. Self-pleasure. Eat more veg. Notice the blue of the sky. Feel everything. Cry. Be bewildered. Get lost. Try something new. Revisit something old. Be brave. Be a coward. Watch movies. Drink tea. Breathe. Breathe a little deeper. Stretch your body. Explore more. Challenge yourself. Forget who you think you are. Believe. Trust. Let it all go!
Now I’m sure that I’m possibly knocking nails into the coffin of the coaching lands which I am happily a part of, but it’s true. We have to have the balance. A singular vision and the broader breadth and depths. The focus and the out of focus. The discipline and the freedom.
A life of both. Following that which calls, and that which springs up like wild flowers around it. There’s a garden analogy arising here for some reason but I’m gonna nip it in the bud (groan).
I’ll tell you why. Because it’s all too easy in our society to be too focused on what we do. On this being the bringer of our identity. The stamp of hierarchical approval into the class of belonging. Something to hide behind. (Rather than letting what we do arise naturally out of the fragrance of who we are, like an extension of who we are, a branch, a fruit).
One of the values that has arisen for me in regards to my life as well as my work (and they do not have to live in separate rooms), is that of ‘being useful. Useful.
We are most useful when we live and act and speak and create from joy. This might be the joy of passionately advocating for cleaner waters; for the environment; for social and climate change. The joy might be hidden beneath but it’s there. The joy of nature and of humanity will be your fuel.
This might be the joy of painting pictures, of exploring the colour blue, of hours locked up with van dyke red and mars black, creating a symphony of soul and meaning that will touch some folk too. The joy of sharing beauty, art, and creations.
This most likely will be the pure and simple joy of being you. Just you. (I know. We cringe a bit with this one don’t we loves?! Bless us xx)
Can you imagine if that ole question, rattled as a demented arrowed force in our ears from whence we were small all the way to the cocktail party we went to last week, of what do you do?, became what brings you joy? instead? Can you imagine!? I mean, really?!!
If we have lost our joy, then how do we reclaim it? Where and when did we lose it? What do we need to shed and/or invite in, in order to un- and re- cover it again?
Joy. Define joy.
Joy: a feeling of great pleasure or happiness. A deep abiding. The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune.
A deep abiding.
I can sense joy. It has nothing to do with anything really. It’s more of an expression of appreciation for life as it is. All of the little bits of life, the tiny shards, grit, cellular moments. Maybe it’s when we notice these cellular moments that they vibrate more? Magnetize us a la ‘Be Kind Rewind’. Maybe joy is simply in living a good life. A good life. One that is in honour and respect of both our own needs and self, as well as others around us. A good life that brings satisfaction. A full life. Maybe a full life isn’t all grand and filmic, but simple and satisfying. Deeply satisfying. It includes all the bits we’d rather not show on the large follicular enhancing Hollywood screen! Maybe it’s in the asking what would bring me joy today? And if there’s no answer, to ask again tomorrow. (And believe me I know what that’s like not to remember joy at all and wonder if it will ever come back. It does darling, it does, I promise you that, it does. And I’m aware that I’m writing that having felt joy again and that feels like a blessing and a miracle. A miracle). Maybe a life of joy is in the belief and the trust and the faith. Maybe it’s in discovering the steely resolve and strengthening muscle of resilience one suddenly is aware of having. Maybe this is self-care. Self-awareness. Joy. Maybe joy is in the knowing that as long as we are showing up and doing the best that we can, then that’s all we can ask for, even if we still ask for more, because there’s joy in doing so, without the fruits of attachment remember, and it’s also in the in-fallibleness of being human and still desiring more and expecting and grasping and being disappointed. Maybe there’s even joy in this dance because we all do it don’t we?! (And if you don’t anymore because you’re all enlightened then good for you!). Maybe joy is in the mess, the fuckedupness, the hell. Joy is quiet and grateful. Papaya and grapefruit. It’s in being at home in oneself and one’s place in the world, even if that place feels awkward and odd and scary and exhilarating. Maybe joy is in being human without trying to fake it or fit in or be perfect or control the outcome. Maybe joy is everything. In everything, not separate. If we allow it to be so. If we recognise its home. Home. A deep abiding.
So yeah. Begin. Show up. Be imperfect. Get it wrong. Fuck up! Fall down. Fumble and mumble and bumble about. Get back up. Get lost. Twirl around. Do the hokey cokey. Stop. Breathe. Cultivate joy. Live from here.
(Come work with me. I have some midwinter offers on at the moment, and some at home as well as on line workshops ahappening at the end of the month and through February. Get in touch for a complimentary natter and consult the compass oracle and let’s see what we can co-create!)