Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Perfect Life


This morning a thought occurred to me:  “What if I don’t make it as a writer?”
This led to other questions:
·      What if I don’t get my house on the beach?
·      What if I don’t get to spend my life with my Muse?
·      What if I don’t prosper financially?
·      What if no one ever reads my writing?

Fortunately, the answers came quickly:
·      I would keep doing what I’m doing.
·      I would keep writing.
·      I would keep reading and learning.
·      I would keep teaching.
·      I would work to improve what I’m doing.
·      I would wait for my Muse.
·      I would keep looking for the right house.

That’s it.  Nothing would change.  Yes, I might look at the root causes and see if I can improve my odds.  I would keep trying to learn and grow in every area, but there’s not much I would change.  I would keep doing what I’m doing. 
That leaves me with one conclusion:
My life is perfect.

What does that mean?  How can I say that?  I still have struggles.  I still make mistakes.  I’m still not where I want to be.  I live in an imperfect world.  How, then, can my life be perfect? 
First, I must define what perfect isn’t and is.  It is not a perpetual vacation.  It is not a place of no work, but of meaningful work.  It is not a place of no effort, but it is restful.  It is also a place of perpetual growth and change.  As the lilies stretch towards the sun, so we stretch towards our own light and growth.  A perfect life is not one in which I am handed everything I want, but I am afforded the opportunity to earn it. 
It also occurs to me that my perfect life was always in reach, but fear and laziness kept me from moving towards it.  Now I am working.  Now I am making decisions to do the things I was called to do.  I still struggle.  I still battle laziness, fear, distractions, and procrastination.  I still don’t have my house on the beach.  I still don’t have the money I’d like.  But for the first time in my life, I am working towards those things.  I am aware of my desires and I’m moving forward.
My former imperfect life was difficult because I was ignoring my own heart.  That is an unhappy way to live.  Yes, I was able to do good and even do well, but I felt like a trustee in a prison.  I had some flexibility, but no freedom.   This was no one’s fault but mine.  I made my choices.  Yes, I complained, incessantly, about those choices.  I blamed people, organizations, and circumstances.  My complaints sounded like this:
·      It’s my family’s fault.
·      It’s the government’s fault.
·      It’s because of the economy.
·      It’s because of my job.
·      I don’t have enough time.
·      I don’t have the money.
·      I don’t have the training, experience, or education.

I rarely asked what I wanted for myself.  This was because I didn’t know. More accurately, I didn’t know all the steps, so I stood still.  I knew, but I was afraid.  Once I began taking steps, once I took action, my life began changing.  Some of the steps lead to dead ends.  Some were false trails.  Some got me lost.  There were many times that I had to step back and try another direction.  Often, when confronted with a dead-end or a false trail, I would say, “See, I knew this would get me nowhere.  I’m not moving again.   I’m staying right here.  I may be miserable, but at least this is familiar and safe.”
My perfect life is not safe.  It offers me no guarantees of success.  But it is a far surer thing than standing still, as I did for so many years.
My perfect life is perfect because I am finally accepting responsibility for my choices.  I am also making new choices and I will accept responsibility for those.  My perfect life is perfect because I am taking actions that align with my heart.  This does not mean that I am always right or that I will not have to make small adjustments along the way, but I will decide what changes will occur or how I will respond to the changes that come unexpectedly.
My perfect life is a lot of work, a lot of presence, a lot of gratitude, and a lot of Get Started and Keep Going.  That’s what makes it perfect.