Archives for November, 2010
We learn our lessons at every moment. Sometimes hardship serves as tutor, and sometimes joy.
My upbringing traumatized me, but I enjoyed a number of special times. In fact, when your parents don't care about you and encourage you to stay away from home, you are more free than kids who are watched and protected. At age twelve a friend of mine and I started sailing each summer from Marina del Rey in Los Angeles to...
The word spirituality gets used so often, and in so many ways, that its meaning is now uncertain. Despite the fact that we can't easily define it, there seems to be widespread agreement that spiritual seeking makes a positive difference in human life. For my purposes, spirituality refers to the aspects of life that aren't explainable in terms of matter and the body's known senses. A spiritual path is one that takes a person into non-physical realms, toward understanding the profound non-material connections between people and all living things. In ordinary life we completely overlook these important interactions, but they are vital to enduring happiness.
Sometimes, it seems like growth can neither be stopped nor rushed. It moves at its own pace, maturing the heart according to an inscrutable celestial schedule. Why is it that core truths of human life, obvious to me today, previously eluded me for decades? Was I simply unprepared to accept these profound and balancing principles before now? Did the losses that forced maturation truly happen by accident, or were they part of a larger unfolding that challenged me just when I needed some extra shoves to awaken me from materialist slumber? Looking back, it is easy to conclude that fate conspired to teach me valuable lessons.
They say emotionally mature people learn to abandon perfectionism. As a driving principle, it stimulates unrealistic expectations, chronic dissatisfaction, and carping inner dialogues. When I was a young man, perfectionism goaded me forward, but it also robbed me of contentment and undermined my relationships. No achievement came without blemish, and no lover fulfilled my fantasies. Although I gathered the trappings of material success, I seldom felt satisfied. Then I lost much of what I'd accumulated. Seemingly intolerable setbacks and years of struggle taught me, finally, to strive for quality while accepting my humanness, and the fact that reality falls short of all Platonic ideals. Perfectionism may be a bad thing, but not if you define it differently. What if we stipulated that perfectionism indicates a continuous effort to identify the many ways life is already perfect?