The word imperfectionism appeared in the air around me this week, for good reason. Since the beginning of the year I’ve taken on several things I can in no way fully accomplish quickly–things that require prayer. By which I mean, I can’t see the end of them and must leave space for pregnant possibility.
These aren’t things I have to do : knitting, going into the next phase of healthy eating, becoming fluent in Spanish, but they all reach toward greater fluidity in my life, melt away at frozen habits. They also all seem important to do now, at the same time, contributing into the same eventual leap, if you will. Can I know what that leap is? I can not. Is that unnerving? Yes.
In pursuing what I can’t see the end of, some other things, which have seemed right and comforting before, drop away. I risk that should I reach for them down the line, they will no longer be available.
When my kids express feeling stuck, concerned they aren’t heading somewhere, I can easily trace for them that from the outside, there is progress. I can easily encourage them to have faith in the whole they can’t quite see, and in doing things they’re drawn to for their own sake, trusting intuition. And I do believe that’s right, that the years my son has spent learning to draw, only for that interest to drop off, contributes now to his concentration on music, whether or not he can draw clear lines between the two. As a parent, do I wish he would develop the same interest in say, coding? Yes I do. 🙂 But I keep that in check.
Backing up from the beautiful human dilemma of trying to drive destiny, I realize that what’s sometimes missing is synthesis, synchronization. It is fine to do ‘all the things’ and more, but to be worried over whether any or every particular action matters is a programmed and heavily agenda-ed perfectionism. In social justice circles there is some discussion of whether it traces back to a colonistic mindset which sells the idea of civilized and non-civilized cultures. How do we extricate ourselves from such deeply ingrained ideas that seem on their face–inside systems of time and space–to be right?
Accepting this, the only answer seems to be leaning even further into the unknown, the greater non-doing portion of the equation.