Ideas of Perfection

I can remember the first time that it was suggested to me that everything is perfect, right now, as it is. I could tell the person telling me really believed it as a truth. Over the years since then, however, I have had to interpret it in various ways to try and understand what she meant.

My first interpretation was that everything is as it needs to be at any given moment in time. I may not like everything, but if it is like that then that is how it needs to be so I need to change. And when I change, the situation changes.

Gradually I have become more in balance, more aligned with myself, and I have more times when life is pretty good. But perfect?

Then recently I read an interesting passage, a scrap of conversation between Brooke Medicine Eagle and an adopted brother of hers, Sparrow Hawk who had died.

“Even the ninth hell is total perfection!” said Sparrow [Hawk], grinning.
“The ninth hell is perfection? Are you kidding? I have a hard time seeing that!” I retorted.
“Of course, it’s perfect. Our human objective was one of freedom – even to do something as silly as to believe we were separate from the great Oneness, to bind ourselves in darkness and heaviness, to lose touch with the Light. And we did a magnificent job of it!! We proved to ourselves that even something as radical was part of our freedom. The exciting part is that now we have proved it, so we don’t need to do it anymore. We can let go of that.”
Brooke Medicine Eagle, ‘The Last Ghost Dance’

This made me revise my views on perfection – and to see that perfection isn’t just about Being, it is also about Becoming.

“The purpose of life is the evolution of the soul – to fully realize its sacred nature and express it. Each one of us has one simple task: to remember who we really are and live from that awareness.” JH Ellerby, ‘Return To The Sacred’

I used to work full time, before I got ill, and had every intention of returning to the workplace, different work possibly, like maybe writing or making stained glass, after I got better. Instead I got pregnant, something medics told us would not happen, my miracle baby M was born and I became a full-time mum.

Unfortunately I was not a born mother! I have never been great with other people being dependent on me, and have few maternal instincts compared with most of the full time mums I meet. (Children, yes love them; babies, I think I assumed I would be okay somehow if they were my own…) But not having work to return to, and having a particularly demanding baby to cope with, I was gradually forced into learning how to do this mother thing. I have learned about unconditional love, about patience, about being calm. I have learned how to focus and get things done in short bursts, or with interruptions. I get lots wrong, but what I get right takes on greater meaning.

In nearly all the time I have been a mum, however, I have thought about the things I would rather be doing, felt guilty, and tried to focus on what I am doing. I also assume I will need to earn money in some way in the future, so I continue to think about what job I would want to do in the future, like when M is at school full time, to see if I can work towards that now. Aimlessly drifting from one day to the next has frequently meant I achieve nothing and feel miserable. I need goals! I write, I dream, I craft, I try and distract or distance myself from the idea that I am ‘just a mum’.

And now suddenly I blink and realise I have reached a state where there is nothing I would rather be doing than exactly what I am doing. I love learning to be a mum, watching M succeed. I love turning our house into a home. I love creating my garden. I love doing crafts and making beautiful things. I love being out in nature, cycling or walking. I love celebrating the sabbats and esbats and connecting with everything around me. Everything else has, at least temporarily, drifted away, become unimportant.

How did I get here, I wonder? Then I realise, it is not the Being that is necessarily perfect, at one point in time, because frequently it isn’t! Rather, it is the Becoming. The Process. Me being part of everything that is growing and happening, here and now. Time itself has changed from trapping me at a particular point, to being part of the unfolding. It doesn’t matter how long or short this process is, because this point and every point within it is good. It doesn’t matter if the process gets finished, or stops abruptly because I die / return to spirit, or move, or get a job, or have any other major change, it just Is. And the Is is somehow Perfection. Weird!

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Kestrels and Clothes

I am not very good at identifying birds, being generally hampered by poor eyesight and their tendency to fly away before I have seen them properly, but kestrel is one that I can usually get. It flaps about like a fat golden pigeon, until it suddenly hovers and dives – at which moment you realise it is something very special.

I was out cycling again this week, enjoying the milder weather and feeling very unfit. (Walking at M’s speed is great for fresh air, but not for exercise!) I had a particular problem to ponder, that of clothing for M and me. I have never been much good at clothes shopping, so thought it would be easier and more fun to make some things we need now that M and I have stopped changing size as fast as we were. Great in theory, but I hadn’t anticipated some of the problems I have experienced trying to put this into practice.

Patterns for women’s casual clothes tend to be those that are easy to sew, rather than being well fitted. (I’m not after dresses or office wear right now!) So shirts are often simple, untailored shapes, trousers have a zip at the back, and fleece or sweatshirt jumpers tend to be few and far between – unless unisex will fit. Not much is good, practical, warm clothing for this time of the year. Children’s patterns have different problems, with most being variations on a theme already available in supermarkets – or sundresses. But there are always some exceptions, so after spending some time searching internet catalogues (no time to stand and look in the shop!) I picked out some I thought might do. Of course I failed to realise that child patterns frequently feature a child older than the pattern is intended for, so one is too small, but it was half price and I can make it a size bigger. I already make my own patterns so this isn’t a problem, but it all takes time and pattern making time adds to the project time.

So finally having got the patterns and considered what fabrics I might use, we went shopping. I then have the problem of a busy market stall, hundreds of fabrics all crammed in, and nothing that quite meets my expectations. (Quilting and home furnishing fabrics make up most of the market.) So I revise my ideas and try to keep an open mind over what might work, and find a couple I like. They come in a different width than the length I had written down, so I have to guess the quantity, trying to ensure I don’t end up spending more on fabric than I could have paid to buy the finished article. Some fabrics I would like to hold up to see if the colours work for me, but of course there is no mirror. I would like a second opinion, but M is more of a hindrance pulling random rolls out to look at or knocking them over. It gets to my turn, so I buy the four I have identified and plan to return next week for the other two or three I need.

I bring the fabric home and wash it in two batches, one of them bleeds red dye everywhere so what was going to be a cream, red and blue nightie for M will now be a pink, red and purple dress. I rethink yet again what fabric I still need to buy.

So I was pondering all this when I saw a kestrel dive down onto the grass verge just next to me and fly of with its prey. Kestrels take an expansive view of the world, they wait for the right moment and then strike. They know when to act, and when not to. They have mental concentration, a good level of intuition, and ultimately accuracy of movement. I will try to bear this in mind next time I manage to get to the shops!