Archives for Ordinary Perfection

Ordinary Perfection

When I look at the nameless reality of Whatever Currently Is (right now) through the lens of mindfulness and presence, everything relaxes me, everything feels "ok" and "normal" and "simply such" - even illness and death and violence and war You name it!...
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Pure Experience

"I suddenly realize that at last after more than seventy years of looking I see things as they are - what a phrase, "as they are" - and not, as in all past years, wrapped in concepts, man, woman, flowers, trees.  I see them now as islands of black and white that move, or spots of color making a herbaceous border or a garden of flowers. If the adult gives oneself over to...
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Ordinary Perfection

There Are No Mistakes


I did my best… I did my best!

Dane Cook, comedian
The phrase “to make a mistake” implies purposive, conscious, planned action. That’s utterly inaccurate: there are no intentional mistakes, no one consciously sets out to fail.

When we fail on purpose, when we make a mistake by design, we are actually succeeding with some kind of covert plan. Therefore, even an act of conscious sabotage isn’t a mistake (to you) even if takes the form of...
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Meaning of Life as Defined by a Butcher

The meaning of life is listening to Pavarotti, feeling the sun on your face, drinking a bottle of wine, and then another. The meaning of life is having a safe and healthy society, a happy family life, good health, a loving wife, work that you like, smelling the smell of a new car and the ocean air, being able to hit a bull's-eye, coming home with the fish and not another fish story.
said Carmine Pucci, a...
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Good Self-Esteem is Still Self-Judgment

The solution to bad self-esteem is not good self-esteem.

The solution to bad self-esteem is unconditional self-acceptance.

All esteem (good or bad) is a form of situation-specific self-estimation, that is, a form of conditional self-judgment, and, as such, is psychologically self-limiting.

Self-acceptance, on the other hand, is a platform of unconditional wellbeing.

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[I have proposed this idea in my 2010 book Present Perfect (Somov, New Harbinger Publications) in Chapter 9 "From Self-Esteem to Self-Acceptance."  In my clinical...
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Shallow Wells of Presence

Karl Krolow, one of the greatest postwar German poets, once wrote:
It is a long time

Since I lay so deep in sleep.

Gradually one learns once more:

Wells dry up.
A state of presence is a shallow well. Mindfulness dries up. Its half life is short. Rarely mindfulness transcends the moment that gave it birth. Therefore, it must be renewed in between the strides of our sleep-walk. The well of presence must too be...
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Uniqueness is Beyond Comparison

In my work with perfectionists I often ask: "Are you unique?"  Clients typically nod: "Yes."

And then I say: "To be unique is to be one of a kind, right?  Right.  If you are one of a kind, then no one is like.  Right?  Right.  If so, then what is the basis of comparison if no one is exactly like you?!"

Here's Krishnamurti making a related point:
"If you are freed from the goal [of having to...
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Ordinary Perfection

Rethink Perfection

Perfection is not an achievement but a baseline, not the fruit of being we reach for, but the very ground of being we stand on.

Rethink "what is" to rethink perfection: all that can is.

More:

Hunting Unicorns
A Vibe of Ordinary Perfection
7 Habits of Existentially Vibrant Living
Cutting the Costs of Perfectionism
Operationalizing Perfection
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Slavic Samsara

As I watch my slavic brothers and sisters about to turn onto each other (not without some geopolitical meddling), I am reminded of a few lines from a poem written in Kiev in 1986 by a prominent Russian dissident Irina Ratushinskaya:
Beasts, people, birds

And voices, and specks of light -

We pass through all like ripples,

And each one disappears.

Which of us will recur?

Who will flow into whom?

What do we need in this world

To quench our thirst?
Yes,...
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Cutting the Costs of Perfectionism

Perfectionism isn't cheap.  In fact, it is existentially unaffordable.  Here's a review of these costs and of the possible ways of cutting them.

Perfectionism is a Psychological Liability

Flett and Hewitt (2002) write: “perfectionists are more likely than nonperfectionists to experience various kinds of stress” (p. 257) and list four perfectionism-specific mechanisms that contribute to and exacerbate stress:

Perfectionists generate stress by pursing unrealistic goals (stress generation mechanism).
Because of their future time perspective, they anticipate...
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