Perfectionist and the quest for enlightenment
As a recovering perfectionist, the quest for “enlightenment” (ahem….perfection) has been high on my list of desired accomplishments. I’m nowhere near attaining that goal, but it is still on my wish list. Enlightened people are perfect you see….calm, cool, responsible, unflappable. Enlightened people have a high set of standards and they live by them. Enlightened people are kind, thoughtful, forgiving, loving, generous, humble and patient. All this is true of enlightened people…….except when they are grieving. Here is how I learned this important truth.
God is funny…..or, as my daughter says, “He just thinks he is.” Just days before my aunt was rushed to the hospital and eventually gave in to the complications of COPD, I had embraced a forgiveness practice. With a combination of the Ho’oponopono prayer and my own method of “praying for and loving my enemies,” I was intentionally searching my consciousness for people toward whom I was still harboring resentment for past hurts, and surrounding other people who annoyed me or tempted my ire with love. I was doing a pretty good job maintaining my practice and I was feeling really good about the love it seemed I was cultivating. Then my aunt died and all hell broke loose. Pretty soon I was ranting and raving over past hurts and casting dispersions toward anyone who ticked me off. I found myself frequently rattling off the curse I have in the past saved for only the worst of the worst….”f….those f’ing…..f’ers.” (Yes….those on the quest for enlightenment use the F-word.) 🙂
Permission to be human
As I’ve been witnessing my own regression, there were a few moments in which I was tempted to judge my behavior as bad, corrupt, imperfect and punish myself through self-condemnation and self- loathing. Instead, I decided that when we are grieving, we all get a “Get out of jail free” card. When grieving, we are allowed to be as human as we need to be to process the grief. If in the midst of grieving the loss of my aunt I need to hate a few people, then so be it. If I need to go on a rant about everything or nothing in particular, that is ok. If I need to crawl into a ball on the floor and suck my thumb or pull out a full-on 2-year old temper tantrum, then more power to me. And…..more power to you when you need to do the same. When we are grieving, we don’t need to be enlightened, or perfect, or patient, or pleasant, or accommodating, or anything we don’t want to be. When we are grieving, we have permission to be human…..to be vulnerable, afraid, anxious, worried, sorrowful, hurting, damaged, wounded, depressed, angry, hateful, etc. etc. etc. And….thank God/dess, because when we are busy trying to be perfect, it is awful hard for us to receive the help, and love, and support of those who are here to comfort us in our grief. If it were not for our humanness, we would not be able to receive the loving care of another human being which is one of the primary needs in our process of healing. And those who want to help us heal would not be able to share their gift of loving compassion. When grieving, perfection and enlightenment can wait, we have grieving to do so that we can find healing and the new life on the other side of the loss. When we have found a little healing, then we can return to the quest for perfection…or enlightenment…or ascension…..or whatever you want to call it…..or we can just go on being human.