‘In Pursuit of Perfection’ by Estelle Koch

IMG_0050“Katy was neither a Methodist nor a Masochist. She was a goddess and the silence of goddesses is genuinely golden. None of your superficial plating. A solid, twenty-two-carat silence all the way through. The Olympian’s trap is kept shut, not by an act of willed discretion, but because there’s really nothing to say. Goddesses are all of one piece. There’s no internal conflict in them. Whereas the lives of people like you and me are one long argument. Desires on one side, woodpeckers on the other. Never a moment of real silence.”
Aldous Huxley, The Genius And The Goddess

Paging through a magazine today, I came across an article about women and alcohol, the steady use and increase of abuse of which was being blamed on stress, worry etc. Now, if I were perfect, I would have read and simply let it go, but no, not me, not the woodpecker . . .
It is truly my belief that most of our stress comes from our desire to be perfect. Oh, no, sorry. Our desire to be seen to be perfect . . . well, no, not really, probably rather our need to be perfect at appearing to be perfect because then others would see us as perfect and that would be perfect.
Well, sort of – providing our husbands or partners are perfectly happy and content all the time, treat us wonderfully and behaves as a perfect husband would – that would, after all, show that we are perfect wives or partners. Tick that box.
Now – our children – there’s a place to score Noddy points!  All they need to do for us to be proven perfect parents is to be happy, healthy, clever, successful, beautiful, preferably rich and content human beings. If they pull this off, we can relax into silent wholeness, content in the knowledge that we got life perfectly right. Tick that box.
Then, finally, we have to be perfectly happy. Now that is a bit more difficult – it would mean that we totally love and accept our perfect jobs, our perfect bodies, our perfect homes, the perfect cars we drive, the sheer joy and fulfilment we get from being in the perfect job, and off course our perfect friends who rally around at the slightest hint of imperfection in our lives. Yeah right!
Perfection, when applied to our lives as a yardstick for happiness, offers only failure. We do not live by ourselves, isolated from the world and the choices and deeds of another. Perfection, when applied to our lives and circumstances, cannot be measured – for each person has a different set of values and measures, therefore requiring perfection is setting the scene for failure to live up to any one person’s idea of failure.(italic by Chris Lowe.)
Perfection does exist, both in the moment and in the greater creation. You see it in the perfect moment when the sky turns a colour that defies description at sunset or sunrise, in a note exquisitely sung, the touch of a baby’s hand or the gurgle of his laugh, the sound of rain on a roof, the silence of falling snow and the fleeting moment when, looking at something or someone you love, your heart feels as if it will burst.
Perfection is indefinable yet undisputed. We, as human beings, are perfect. We were created in perfect proportion and are perfectly equipped for what we are here to do. Every perceived imperfection is actually simply an opportunity for growth – either bringing us room to grow or, more challenging, room to love ourselves perfectly. The true perfection lies not in something tangible, but in the balance available to us. Where there is fear, there is courage, where there is doubt there is the ever present truth, where there is heartache there is always joy, where there is despair there is always hope and in the midst of cacophony, a moment of perfect silence.
Perfection, when seen in the rear view mirror of life, is very clear and brings many lessons that are, sadly, too often forgotten too soon. Retrospect is a wonderful thing, for it will often reveal how stalling the car at the stop street was perfectly timed to save your life from an oncoming truck, arriving early for a function was perfect as it allowed you to meet someone who has the potential to bring change to your life, buying a vehicle which everyone advised you against turned out perfect for your current circumstances.
We so often hear people speak of such experiences, only to hear them stressing and fussing about future choices, deliberating over unknown facts regarding major decisions, lying awake at night not knowing what to do next, conjuring up demons that do not even exist.
Perfection projected into the future can bring hope, vision and motivation – but it can also create immense tension, fear, worry and uncertainty. The majority of us can describe our ‘perfect’ home, car, child, friend . . . the list goes on. In doing this, we place into the world an expectation that immediately creates limitation, supposes conditions that need to be met and standards to be attained.
Our perception of the ego and our perception of perfection is very often intertwined – and can cause tremendous unhappiness if we are not careful. The ego is a beautiful thing – if it is seen as ‘everything good is owned’.  If we can own all that is good about us, even that which we do not like, we will be so much more likely to accept accountability for our lives and our own happiness, for we will then truly become conscious co-creators of that happiness. We will have so much more time available to ourselves, time previously spent complaining about and lamenting all our faults – shortcomings that we believe we have rather than accepting that we are perfect, exactly as we are in the moment, and that our reality will change the moment we change our beliefs.
As long as we buy into the concept of ‘everything good is outside’, we are in service of the ego, rather than the other way around. Then our ego gets the better of us and we seek perfection around us. When this happens, we find ourselves flawed and, in the search of perfection, the vicious circle of loss, imperfection and failure is created.
The concept of living in the moment is not one that I am always comfortable with. There are many things that I appreciate about the past – and I do not believe we should give it too much power, but I do believe we should find our power in the lessons of the past – and if we were to see everything and everyone as perfect beings, we will know that it or they brought powerful lessons that would be perfect catalysts for change if we acknowledge and allow it to be. In that sense, we should allow the view in the rear mirror to be small and fading – for the moment we recognize the lessons in any given situation or person, we can let the pain and restriction go.

Viewing the future through the front window gives us scope, it gives us potential – but we bring definition to it by projecting our thoughts, expectations and feelings onto it. If we project our thoughts and expectations onto the landscape of our future, we may create a 3 bedroom house with a lock-up garage in a ‘nice’ suburb. If we project our feelings of happiness, contentment, fulfilment and joy into the landscape, we may find we are brought the miracle of a beautiful house, a swimming pool, a work or hobby room, extra accommodation or even a suburb closer and more convenient to the schools – things we never dreamt we could have. We may project , with our thoughts, a job into the scene where we are earning a good salary as a clerk in a company that does hospitality, but, if we project our feelings of being happy, challenged and fulfilled in our position into the field of possibilities, we may get the position as the clerk, only to be given more and more responsibilities and to find ourselves in a function co-ordinators assistant position within a matter of months, not only earning what we hoped for, but finding a lot more than we could ever have anticipated.
Everywhere around us, the world unfolds in perfect order. If you think of the chaos often depicted in scenes of airports or train stations, one could never imagine any order to the swirling masses – yet every person has a very clear destiny, a clear vision of where they are going and a time-table within which this will be mastered. No matter what the chaos, there is always underlying order which will, ultimately spill over into our lives and give some form of structure to our being, perfect or imperfect.
A tsunami does not happen of its own free will. Whenever the inherent perfection of creation is disturbed, movements will take place deep down, in the core of the Earth, to re-establish the perfect state that existed before. Where forests have been destroyed, the buffer against the forces of nature is compromised and people will perish. The same goes for us.
When we pick, woodpeckers personified, at our perfection, we disturb the delicate balance of who we are, who we are meant to be and who we have become. We project our disillusionment onto others, whether they are lovers, children, friends, or foes and we destroy the natural defences that these relationships would normally offer us – creating a tsunami of emotions, rejections, fear, guilt, judgement and dismay that will, almost certainly, destroy us, whether it is as a result of stress or that which we use to numb the stress and fear.
Perfection lies in the moment – in the stillness that speaks to our soul, that calls forth the strength, the magnificence, the certainty of who we are at core. In perfect quiet we feel our fear, we  feel our vulnerability and we feel love – we are able to feel our one-ness.
True perfection happens in the moments when we are of one piece – not needing to be, to perform, to do – simply being, without desires or woodpeckers – moments of divine silence that allow us to touch our real silence and heal ourselves to perfection.
In this month it is my prayer that we will all find the courage to recognize our perfection in moments of silence and the courage to seek the stillness within.

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