Shine bright, like a diamond.

“Our image of perfection is the reason we reject ourselves – the way we are – and why we don’t accept others the way they are.” Don Miguel Ruiz

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Attaining ‘perfection’ is a perpetual journey. Yet the word perfection is misleading and a potentially devastating trap. The quote; ‘Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without’ highlights that there is no perfection without flaw. It suggests reaching for the most magnificent version of our selves while knowing the flaws; the ‘negatives’ help to create a whole version of ourselves. The concept of perfection can be a falsehood that leads us to constantly feel lacking or not good enough. It potentially denies our core self by seeking to uphold an image of perfection. Whereas attaining holistic balance is a very real and honest process of being, or rather becoming. This describes an active process of growth and attainment where we accept ourselves as we truly are yet seek growth. Our flaws lead us to growth. I see no separation between light and dark, no duality only unity with moments of friction and dissonance providing room for change within our selves.

The first time I read the diamond with a flaw quote I was stumped by it. A humble yet perfect pebble seemed a greater achievement than something ‘grander’ but flawed. I soon found that maintaining perfection was dissatisfying and limiting, I ached for challenge and growth. I was exhausted by the constant effort to avoid my flaws in order to appear the humble perfect pebble; always happy never discontent or hurting. Yet when I embraced my flaws and moved through the discomfort of facing them I became something stronger, more durable, more beautiful and more real. Diamonds are formed through high temperature and massive pressure, this process creates the most durable and beautiful gem on the planet*. This process suggests discomfort. Humans tend to shy away from discomfort or suffer through it by rejecting ourselves because we are not perfect, but through accepting ourselves and gracefully working on our flaws we attain love for ourselves not self-inflicted suffering and rejection. Then we become open to the possibility of a greater version of ourselves that can live in the moment, without the devastating and painful voice of the inner critic shaming us, and we can shine bright like a diamond.

Words errant

Image courtesy of cichutko on DeviantArt

* India is the place where they were first thought to be mined perhaps 6000 years ago and they were revered as religious icons.

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Gifted

One of my maternal great uncles was a gifted healer; what in many cultures would be called a prophet or shaman, he had no specific religious affiliation and spoke of God in many forms. It wasn’t until much later in my life that I realized he was a man of great renown. Of course growing up with him in my life, although I knew he was unique and incredibly important to me, I did not see what those from the outside saw. He guided me and kept me safe. I was very unwell through my early years and he would always turn up with freshly caught fish in hand for my mother and he would heal me and teach me how to remain well.

In his later years (at 70) my uncle ended up spending many years in jail. He was accused of a crime that I know he did not commit, how do I know? Because he taught me some of the most important lessons of my life I know his spirit and it was just not possible for him to have committed this crime, it would have been against everything he stood for. His, our, family abandoned him. I was forbidden to see him or talk to him. I was a young teenager at the time. The man who had for all my years of life been caring for me and teaching me had been demonized. The insincerity that there were others within the family that had committed far worse crimes living freely, unpunished and kept close within the family meant that I withdrew myself from these people. Including my parents. The ban on contact/communication was so strong that when I asked my mother a few years later how he was because I couldn’t sense him anymore she looked at me oddly and said he was dead.

A few years after his death I had a chance encounter with his closest friend a man I had never met. A friend and I were on a trip and she asked if we could stop off to visit her spiritual mentor. He was a prophet or channel of sorts; my uncle had been his mentor. We arrived and I sat apart to let my friend have her time with the man. Suddenly he asked me why I was there. It was a rhetorical question with deeper meaning than “I am here because my friend and I are sharing a car ride”. He then asked me directly what Frank meant to me. I was surprised but explained that he had been my great uncle. He rose and went to get something. When he returned he told me that my uncle had served great purpose during his time in jail. The hardest, most violent and disturbed criminals were put in with Frank and his presence and way of being calmed them and changed them. He handed me a poem my uncle wrote when he was in jail and said that he believed it was for me. He then went on to tell me all that I had not known about my uncle and he reminded me that Frank had never forgotten me.

 Although I had never doubted my uncle I hated that he had been accused and found guilty of a crime. I hated that my family had ostracized him partially for what he was and then because of what he was accused of. It was like they had agreed that they had always thought that he was ‘evil’ or ‘strange’ and here was the justification. It planted a seed of fear within me that if we use our gifts the light we create draws the darkness to it. I had felt it in my own life over and over. The brighter I burned the more darkness found me. I could see that people were afraid of me, or what I represented for them. So I doused the light and donned a myriad of masks to hide behind. As I lift the veils that shroud me I feel so much pain my heart cannot bear it but I must allow myself to feel it so that the capacity for love that I have within me can shine. I cannot remain in hiding anymore. The thought that clearly came to me today, as I realized this and started to let my heart open to the deep hurt within me, was of my uncle and his poem:

Light in the Cell

And a light shined in my cell

And there was not any wall

And there was no dark at all

Only Thou, Immanuel.

Light of love shined in the cell

Turned to gold the iron bars

Opened windows to the stars

Peace stood there as sentinel.

Dearest Lord, how can it be

That thou art so kind to me?

Love is shining in my cell

Jesus, my Immanuel.