Trying to figure out how to re-enter, after five years away from blogging, has been like sitting on my favorite, pastel painted merry-go-round horse, watching the world of inspirations go by. The inspirations appear, and I respond: “This is the one I want to share as my opening post.” I hesitate, deliberate, calculate…and, whoosh! The ripe, juicy moment is gone.
I’ve been digging for clarity about what holds me back. First, it’s the old, protective pattern of hiding…the fear of visibility. One antidote is releasing habits of perfectionism, a pilgrimage of purpose and commitment for more than a decade.
I remember a long distance phone conversation with my dear friend, Brian, in 2004. I was in Michigan, trying to figure out how to give my frail Mom her last big dream. She had made the courageous decision to leave her North Woods home of 40 years, and wanted to live her last months of life close to my sister and me in California. Brian had manifested a similar, long distance move with his Mom. Brian was THE how-to guru and guide, answer to a prayer.
Feeling overwhelming vulnerability, I blurted out, “Brian, I just want to be perfect!” Without skipping a beat, he replied, “Meo, you will never be perfect. But you can aim for Excellence.”
Crisis is a time of initiation. Mine, with my Mom, created fertile soil for the seed of Brian’s wisdom to take hold in my Soul. Happily, my relationship with Excellence continues to grow; while perfectionism–and her cohort, comparing myself to others—diminishes.
Yet, there is much tension around communicating with words. I experience myself as a delayed processor. Often, when I speak or write, my gut responds, “But that isn’t it!” Or, “It’s that, AND much more!” An all over yucky feeling comes over me–wanting to say what IS but not quite making it there. It can lead to endless rehearsing and editing. Meanwhile, the wheel keeps turning, and the magical moment flies by.
I recently asked a wise teacher, Patrick O’Neill, for help on this issue. I am part of a program Patrick is leading, The Four Directions. It’s compelling work, providing me with cross-cultural tools, designed to support full engagement in personal, work, and community life.*
Patrick reminded me: By using our words, we create bridges. “We are all delayed processors,” he said, and suggested a question: “Can I let my words be a test flight?” Rather than holding back in fear that I will miss the mark, speak into what has heart and meaning. Further, Patrick asked, “Can I be like the toddler?” She takes her first step. She stops, weaves back and forth a bit, to find her equilibrium. Then, takes her next step…and the next.
Test flight brings me to frontiers of myself that I yearn to explore and expand. So it is, I am riding the wheel of a beautiful merry-go-round, reaching for the golden ring. The prize is taking this first step…my life affirming action for today.
*Click here to learn more about Patrick O’Neill and The Four Directions