I watched Jane Fonda on OWN the other day...She told her story and shared the lessons she's learned in 74 years. I sat on the couch for an hour totally captivated. She said something that not only resonated with me, it continues to play in my mind over and over, "We are not meant to be perfect. We are meant to be whole."
I just need to make that my mantra and marinate in it for a while. Whatever your faith or belief system, you can't deny the weight and truth of that simple line. Perfection is unattainable, but wholeness seems like something to hope for.
The Ugly Cycle
I know so many of us deal with the struggle to do everything or to be everything to everyone. I think women deal with this more than men do, though I'm not really sure why. We take on so much, expect ourselves to handle it seamlessly, and then feel like failures when we can't. In my case, I either get discouraged (and self-medicate with a pint of Ben & Jerry's) or feel this drive to do things that are completely unrealistic, setting goals that I know I can't live up to. You can't climb Everest when you barely make it down the block.
I need to be fine with just making it "down the block". I will never _____ as well as _______. And that's ok. (Fill in the blank. I could fill it in several times over.) I may not have _______, but that's ok. Again, take your pick. We all have these areas that rob us of our mental energy. Satisfaction is not something that our culture breeds. Everything pushes us for more. Be more, do more, buy more. I'll admit, I even had to take a brief hiatus from Pinterest. (I think Pinterest should come with a warning: If at any time you feel inadequate, stop pinning and see your doctor immediately.
The older I get, the more I appreciate transparency in people. I'm drawn to people who are just straight forward about how screwed up they are. I can relate. I'm working on this brand of honestly in my own life. For a long time, a "keep smiling and plod along" approach was my coping mechanism that served me well at certain points in life. But now I find that too often I am playing a role instead of being honest about what's really happening internally. Thankfully, I have a husband who can read those moments and brings a healthy dose of reality to pull me out of it.
I know with every fiber in my being that my personal growth towards being whole happens in community. Sometimes I sense an internal shifting in conversations between friends where we laugh and cry and find that our stories are really not all that different. This connectedness feels like the beginning of wholeness. If I can see your story as as a part of my own, then suddenly your healing process becomes a part of my journey. Even if I cannot relate to one other thing in your life, I can recognize the common road we share.
I'm not even totally sure what wholeness looks like, but Ms. Fonda sounds like she's found her version of it. it only took 74 years...It seems to show up in stories of people who have survived great loss and pain and still have the capacity for laughter. Real deep-down guttural laughter, the kind that knows the necessity of its own existence to survival.
Ironically enough, this is my 100th post. Thanks to those of you still reading it. Love and thanks to those of you who read my very first post (all 5 of you) and continue to follow this journey. This started as an idea that would not leave my brain and evolved into what it is now. The temptation to compare creeps up, but I'm going to try to "practice what I preach" and enjoy where it's taken me so far.
Q: What words describe the journey to wholeness that you're on?