Traversing the peaks and valleys can bring out our worst, but it can also show a clear lens into our indomitable will.
In our moments of feeling like rock bottom is where we would like to be held, a seemingly higher calling guides us to keep moving. A force beyond our control moves us out of the murky depths toward the light. The human spirit, in all its flaws and imperfections, is a power of sheer beauty.
The brain we possess has marked layers that have evolved over millions of years. The limbic system wraps protectively around the essential reptilian brain. The most recent layer, our cerebral cortex, is designed with intricate folds and fissures to provide more surface area for increased activity. And yet, still, there are parts stubbornly hardwired that are not perfect, that do not serve us in the best possible way in this day and age. Do we doubt the beauty of this magical creation because of its imperfections? I certainly do not.
Fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto is quoted to say, “I think perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things humans make, I want to see scars, failure, disorder, distortion.” These words strike a chord with me as I see the same in our healing journey. The literal blood, sweat, and tears (and usually snot) are somewhat disgusting on their own. But as a whole, they unify into a dazzling mess that makes us who we truly are. The rawness and grit that are at the core of every human shine through in our will and tenacity.
Perfection is only a reality in hindsight. The pieces on their own that have us stumbling and anxious merge into the journey as a whole and become an essential piece of the art that is our path. Berber women spend years weaving rugs of sheer beauty. In each piece, the artist weaves a “flaw,” which makes that rug uniquely identifiable as her own. This intentional imperfection in an otherwise precise creation only adds to the exquisiteness of it and truly makes it perfect.
Looking back on my days of shedding sorrow, I was so hard on myself. Wrought with shame and guilt for wasting time crying, I now look at it with a kind fondness. I see the sweetness that comes from grief after the heaves have subsided and the tears flow forth without effort. Each droplet forming on the lacrimal surface as a result of complex structures within the eye, spilling forth a functionally designed blend of fluids down my cheeks. Tell me, what is so pretty about that? And now tell me the beauty you see in it.
I am on the perpetual search for beauty in life. If a certain path does not provide beauty, I diligently prune it. Beauty includes the pretty birds and stunning sunrises. But it also includes the dark moments, the seemingly impossible challenges, and all the flaws and imperfections it takes to be a soul in this human body.
Strive for beauty rather than perfection or prettiness. Beauty is what serves your higher calling. Beauty is what makes you real.