Tag Archives : perfection

A Recovering Perfectionist 8

“I am a recovering perfectionist. Before, I experienced that I and everyone else was always falling short, that who we were and what we did was never quite good enough. I sat in judgment on life itself. Perfectionism is the belief that life is broken…Wholeness lies beyond perfection. The life within us is diminished by judgment….” — Dr. Naomi Remen

…It wasn’t until I became a mother that I realized perfectionism is always the enemy of love. By definition, perfectionism is judging ourselves, our loved ones, and life as not good enough. We reject the present moment — peanut butter hands, tear-stained face and all — in favor of some idealized image that can never be real. We hold ourselves back from really loving, because how can you love while you’re judging? We think once we lose weight, our child gets through this phase, and our spouse gets a raise, our real life will start. But as John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans…” 

-from Daily Inspirations for Parents by Dr. Laura Markham

I’ve always been a perfectionist and while I know it’s not exactly healthy, I never thought about just how hurtful it can be until becoming a parent.

When I think of these lines in the context of my life as a mother the message is finally clear.

Perfectionism is the belief that life is broken.

How can I be “okay” with being a perfectionist with that definition?

I know that this life is anything but broken.

My need for everything to be “perfect” is actually me judging myself, my loved ones, and my life as not good enough.

I know that my loved ones are more than good enough. My life is more than good enough. And yes, even, my SELF is more than good enough.

We reject the present moment — peanut butter hands, tear-stained face and all — in favor of some idealized image that can never be real.

My goal for this blog, and this life, is to learn to “live in the moment and make it beautiful”—no matter how ugly, hard, or imperfect.

How dare I reject a moment with my child for not being pretty, or perfect enough?

We hold ourselves back from really loving, because how can you love while you’re judging

Why should I hold myself back from loving…

myself, my loved ones, my life



Let this be a reminder.


Write Every Day

I’ve made a sort of “silent resolution” with myself to start writing every day (again).

Not necessarily blog, but write…just for the sake of writing…in my journal, on the computer, on a napkin…it doesn’t matter. I used to tell my students, “to be a writer all you have to do is write,” and there are sadly days, weeks, and even months that go by when I don’t take my own advice.

So many parts of me need writing to survive…my brain, my heart and all of my insides swirl with thoughts all day that need an outlet. Sometimes I just need a place to dump them, but most times I long to share and connect them to others, which is why I’ve always loved the blogging world.

I’ve asked before, why is it that we deprive ourselves that which we need to survive?

I make excuses…I don’t have time, I’m too tired, I’m afraid >>> it won’t be good enough, it won’t be perfect and if it’s not good or perfect, then what’s the point? (We all know I’ve “been there/done that” on that particular topic…)

Now is the time to give up the expectations and just write. To write. Because I need it. I love it. I want to share and connect. It makes me happy. And it provides an awesome way to look back and say…oh, yeah…that’s what I was thinking and feeling and loving and hating on that particular day.

And when I feel lost I remember.

I am not lost. I am right here.

In these words that overflow and spill into an awkward, jumbled and sometimes “beautiful” mess.

I am not lost. I am right here.

(And while there may not be perfection

I find great


in being grounded

in these words.)

It all started with a mud ball… 2

Today is one of those days where everything is cosmically connecting.
And it all started with a mud ball.
Let me go back to the beginning…
Today we read a story called “Polish Your Mud Balls” in Life is a Verb by Patti Digh. We read stories from the book a few times a week and complete the writing exercises that accompany them. The background on the book is that when one of my students, Angela Kania, passed away her mother gave me money to use towards Advanced Comp. because it was one of Angela’s favorite classes. She often wrote about “appreciating the small joys in life” so when I came across this book I knew it was the perfect way to have her legacy live on through our reading and writing about living “life as a verb.”
Today’s story was especially inspiring. You can read a version of it on the author’s blog here.
The whole point of the story is, Don’t seek perfection. Make messes. Play. Make a mud ball. Love what you are creating, even if it never shines, even if it cracks…don’t fear the showers of silt that make the mud balls of our lives shine.”
The mud balls are an excellent metaphor for life as Patti explains, “We polish on own lives, creating landscapes and canyons and peaks with the very silt we try to avoid, the dirt we disavow or hide or deny. It is the dirt of our lives–the depressions, the losses, the inequities, the failing grades in trigonometry, the e-mails sent in fear or hate or haste, the ways in which we encounter people different from us–that shape us, polish us to a heady sheen, make us in fact more beautiful, more elemental, more artful, more lasting.”
After we read the story, I had my students write three haiku’s….one about failure, one about perfection, and one about the beauty of dirt (and “dirt” could be a metaphor for all things sad, messy, or ugly in life).
At the end they realized that the poems about failure and “dirt” were just as beautiful, if not more, than those about perfection.
The more we talked about it, the more we thought it would be SO much fun to make our own mudballs….and then we thought, how much fun would it be to make them with the second graders we’ve been mentoring (who happen to be taught by our friend, MaDee’s, mother)?

So our plan is to teach the kids about mud balls, and the little metaphor for life that they hold, and then help them to make their own. We will write haiku’s with them about failure, perfection, dirt, and life in general during the process. In the end, each kid will have their very own mud ball, be it shiny, cracked, beautiful or flawed.

But it doesn’t end there. 
Our goal is to make a bunch of them, bag them up, and sell them at MaDee’s Market this fall, complete with a little tag explaining the metaphor of the mud ball and pictures of MaDee and Angela, who I know will be sitting together in heaven, smiling down on us as we teach these children and ourselves to appreciate the beauty in imperfection…the dirt of life. To play. To make a mess. To love what we create, even if it never shines, even if it cracks. 
To never fear the showers of silt that make the mud balls of our lives shine.
Cosmically connected? 
I think so. 
And don’t you just love it when that happens? 
I sure do.