To err is human, to forgive divine

We’ve just returned from a mini holiday at Happening Farm, a magical, eccentric, 500 acre farm that we are lucky enough to be able to visit – the Bear works as farm manager there – a place so beautiful, he even likes to visit on his days off.

Needless to say, staying here is a real treat 🙂

I am far from an expert on Christian theology, and I have little knowledge of scripture (you can blame the Robcast for the fact that I am speaking in this way at all), but it seems to me that Easter represents the fall, the acceptance that you are lost and then the redemption. This is a human story, and I think we all have experienced the essence of it at least once, and likely many more.

We fall/fail/lose our way, we come face to face with the consequences of our actions/blame others, and then we climb our way back into our own self regard/fall further. All of the choices are ours to make.  We have to get sick of our own bullshit before anything changes, and that’s a fact.

in Miguel Ruiz’s Mastery of Love, he talks about how necessary self love is to having a loving relationship is with anyone else. Right. We intuitively know that, which is why the rebound relationship, when you are at your most battered and defeated, is hardly ever known to last.

What really stuck with me was the metaphor he used to describe the relationship we actually have with our body and our self, whether we know it or not:

IF YOU LOOK AT YOUR BODY, YOU WILL FIND billions of living beings who depend on you. Every cell in your body is a living being that depends on you. You are responsible for all of those beings. For all those living beings that are your cells, you are God. You can provide what they need; you can love all those living beings, or you can be so mean to them. The cells in your body are completely loyal to you; they work for you in harmony. We can even say they pray to you. You are their God. That is absolutely the truth. Now what are you going to do with this knowledge?

How could we not love our amazing self? How could we ever make choices that could damage these little beings (who are us) in any way? Yet, we do. All the time.

I didn’t always have faith in and respect for myself and my abilities, and a big part of my journey has been learning to make decisions and craft my life in a way that increases my self respect rather than decreases it.

Something happened this week that made me aware that I had come further than I had realised. I made a mistake at work (not my first and likely not my last either). I realised what I had done, laughed with my co-worker about what a dill I was, and then set about fixing it. My co-worker (a lovely Capricorn) looked at me with amusement and a tinge of admiration and said,

“You do things that would be my worst nightmare, and yet you handle it so much better than I ever could.”
“You have to handle these things lightly,” I said, “or you look like an idiot. I know that because I used to be one of those people.”

I thought about it later as I was driving home, and I was sincerely amazed at the silent transformation that I had undergone over the past few years. For most of my life, I was such a serious perfectionist, that I would take any perceived mistake, failure or error in judgment as a deep personal failing as a human being. I would hesitate to try new things in case I failed publicly and lived in fear of being wrong and failing.

I noticed people who took things lightly, who could laugh at themselves, who could make mistakes, and be so sure of their self worth that it didn’t impact their sense of themselves. I observed people who made a mistake, and instead of melting down, set about fixing it. These people were safe and comfortable to be around, simultaneously okay with their own mistakes, as well as others. I wondered how I could be more like that, and started trying it out in areas where I felt safe, like my home and with loved ones. After a while, as it got easier and more natural, I forgot about it.

Until I was reminded by making a public mistake, and how it made me feel. I’m not going to lie – my other thoughts as I was driving home was a feeling that I was a mouthy loose cannon that my workplace was perhaps ill-equipped to handle, and that maybe I should just quit – but these thoughts lasted approximately 5 seconds, instead of the hours/days/weeks as they might have before. And then I was left with a sense of amusement at my silly self and a determination to do better next time.

Can you see how a sense of perfectionism creates such a cruel and unkind relationship with ourselves? To err is human – if we accept the truth of that statement, then is the perfectionist not human? To forgive is divine – if we accept the truth of that statement, then how should we aim to behave?

Perfectionism isn’t all bad – it’s just the desire to do well combined with fear. If we can uncouple fear from our desire to do good work, it can make perfectionists into high achieving people who can accomplish great things. That will never happen if we have fear marching frog-step alongside us. And I am here to tell you that it can be done.

Are you a perfectionist? Is fear of failure your biggest fear? 

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13 comments

  1. It is a wonderful thing to be relaxed with one’s own humanism. Who wants to be perfect anyway? Very boring–not that I would know 🙂 Happening Farm looks gorgeous. xx

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    • You are very lucky to not be inflicted with the disease of perfectionism Ardys – it is extremely boring! Happening Farm was at its most beautiful – green, flushed with rain, in full autumn bloom. Gratitude ❤

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  2. Your observation is truly the key to life. My healing work has been centered around healing uncomfortable feelings. And I can now see common threads in all of life- the ability to digest life on every level, and more. Everything that holds us back, can be traced back to not being able to forgive ourselves for simply being human. All our harsh self judgment. With the assistance of Kundalini energy, all of my harsh self-judgment is leaving in droves. Healing of the highest order. I’ll write more about it at some point, when things are more integrated.

    Isn’t it so cool to see how we’ve changed over time? You’re really rocking life. Love that bathtub!

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  3. Hasn’t it been a lovely Easter for a staycation… although Happening Farm takes it to another level ♡
    More than once over the last few weeks I have remarked on the unsettling energy pushing some rethinking and redoing and I think to a certain extent realising and living with our human-ness. I am happiest when I love who I am. And vice versa. When my energy is out-of-whack I become picky with myself and everyone else. It seems you have both done the practical work AND raised your energetic vibration. It helps to understand there is unlikely a time we can say with confidence ‘I am done’ as life and our work in it is ongoing. But we can say to ourselves and each other, in each instance ‘Well Done’ or ‘Good enough, time will be better’.
    Fear is my monster under the bed… no matter how much I convince myself it isn’t real it, lurks until I make myself look into the dark -yet again- and see for myself it’s energy I have conjured.
    So good to read more of your experiences and thoughts. Thanks for sharing ♡

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    • Hello Dale,
      thank you for your lovely comment <3. Astrologically, venus has been retrograde for the past 6 weeks or so (she has just turned forward again). That means that the issues that she represents (love, wealth, creativity) have all been up for review. I've felt it in all those areas, although nothing drastic, almost like a new stone on a well worn path, if you get my meaning.
      It's never done, this process of refining and polishing the self. There is always a deeper layer. It seems we are constantly being tested and re-tested (have you got it yet? What about now?). Thank goodness :).
      Fear has also been a constant companion of mine, ever since I was a child. I lean into it because it's my nature, but it always seems to be there, sometimes with the volume muted if I'm lucky 🙂
      have a good week – you must be on a study break are you?

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  4. I’m definitely a recovering perfectionist myself and some days, I’m better about it than others. Like you, fear of failure has always been one of my biggest obstacles in doing anything. Forget trying new things; just trying to do things I already knew how to do and doing them PERFECTLY was, for a long time, something I just couldn’t let go of. Eventually, I realized that it was causing me unnecessary stress and it also made me unrealistic about a lot of things. These days, though I still maintain a high standard for things, I accept my best efforts and don’t berate myself if I don’t meet my own expectations. I’ve found that it helps me not only be kinder to myself but also more accepting of others.

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    • Lillian 🙂 I knew I would meet a fellow perfectionist! It’s interesting how many different types of perfectionists there are, and how it manifests within a person. For me, it’s not tasks that have to be perfect, but me. Which comes with it’s own stress lol :). It is all about acceptance and expectations – if we can manage our expectations (high standards for core things but lower the bar on everything else), boy life gets easier :). Acceptance is the other big one as you said – acceptance of our self as human, and everyone else for that matter. It sounds as if you’re doing the work, which is all we can do. Have a good week Lillian ❤

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  5. Admittedly, I was lost in the farm photos–– just gorgeous! Some powerful words here, Sara, on issues that I am perpetually working on… and on… and on. When I’m able to have a sense of humor about myself, it’s all so much easier. But again, it’s an ongoing challenge. I need these wise and thoughtful reminders of how these things can evolve. xo

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    • Hello Dawn 😊 Yes, the photos are so lovely – yet are only a 2D representation of something that is multi dimensional in beauty. I know what you mean – and I think it’s just fine that we are a work in progress, sometimes nailing it and sometimes…not 😊 we are our own life’s work ❤️

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  6. Interesting making sense of Easter in the southern hemisphere. Shows how metaphorical our world is — and symbols are flexible. Easter is a pagan word and is associated with spring, rebirth. So the Christians took over he holiday when they moved into Europe and made it the rebirth of Jesus.

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    • Hi Georgia – trying to fit northern hemisphere festivals into our southern hemisphere actually does my head in – seriously. A pagan Spring festival, appropriated by the Christians, in Autumn. OMG my head hurts. I did read this the other day, which helped somewhat – I had never heard of this before, but it’s a much more natural fit for this time of year:
      “Known in the ancient world as the festival of the Dying God, the sacred masculine was honoured for the sacrifice he laid down to preserve life…a rite we see re-enacted with ANZAC celebrations here in Australia & New Zealand at this time of year as we traverse Autumn, the season of accepting death as necessary in the circle of life.”

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