When I got married (both times, actually), I wanted perfection. Perfection in the wedding, in the relationship, and in the new life the marriage would begin. And after the veil was lifted (literally the first time and metaphorically the second), a certain illusion is dropped. It's not going to be perfect.
Life is messy, relationships are complex and difficult, parts of us remain hidden from ourselves and our intimates for years, and sometimes even the champagne is disappointing. So how do we live a life where we are honest with ourselves and others, where we have the courage to keep re-defining "reality," and where we stand for the Truth? And, where we manage to bring joy along with that Truth?
Well, one of the lessons I keep learning about this involves lifting the veil of my own persistent perfectionism.
This week my daughter, Laura Weaver, and I are co-facilitating our second retreat for women called, "Lifting the Veils: Walking in Our True Beauty." And once again, I'm learning that just because you create and offer something doesn't mean you're immune from the process. My veils get lifted along with everyone else's.
I've worked long and hard to release perfectionistic tendencies. We all know what trouble the "addiction to perfection" ( the title of a seminal book by Marion Woodman) can lead us into. Being overly concerned with how we are perceived, being obsessive or compulsive about appearance of house or body..these are habits that can lead us down the trail to eating disorders or other addictions, and away from the experience of loving our authentic selves. Having had my share of therapies, I keep thinking I'm done with perfectionism.
Hosting a retreat at my own home, however, stirred that old familiar pot concocted by the part of me that thinks every detail of my house and land has to be...perfect, of course. I won't go into the long list of things I've done to make sure the participants (who clearly signed up in order to assess my housekeeping) are convinced that I'm related to Martha Stewart.
Fortunately, yesterday I had a coaching call with Sufi business coach, Mark Silver, who clearly has a gentle heart. He suggested that instead of trying to chase my little neurosis out of my being (an idea I've always favored) I actually lean into it and honor it. He pointed out there's a kind of "lord of the domain (shall we substitute queen?) that is very caring and wants everything to work well for those who visit it. If I could be tender toward this tendency and loving about arranging things, that might soften the edge of fear or performance that had crept into the muscles in my neck. Bless you, Mark. You helped me lift a veil.
If you have a perfectionistic tendency, try this out. What is the good version, the bigger aspect, the spiritual trait underlying your own perfectionistic approach? When you honor it, lean into it and treat it with tenderness, perhaps like me, you might find yourself seeing more clearly and freed of one more unnecessary layer. You might like yourself better. After all, you're the one you have to live with "for better and for worse, in sickness and in health..."