Daring Greatly

diamond_in_the_rough_by_alltelleringet-d6bxp1a

So, a while ago I wrote about the dangers of, or concerns around, striving for perfection. I don’t think I made clear that I believe, think, feel that recognising our imperfection and striving to be authentic and continue the active process of becoming ourselves is the key to our ability to enjoy our lives to the fullest and express who we are with meaning and therefore satisfaction. I think these are the things that lead us beyond Maslow’s hierarchy of needs into a new realm of more holistic needs that are better suited to humanity’s way of being, within the current culture, and may well lead to a revolution, perhaps even enough of one to start to change our evolution.

To the evolutionary biologist, evolution occurs over a long periods of time (millions of years kind of time). The smallest amount of time most are willing to suggest this has measurably occurred in humans and other species (referred to as rapid evolution, contemporary evolution or evolution within an ecological timescale) is within 50-100 generations. In today’s worldwide culture we tend to use the word ‘evolution’ rather loosely when what we often mean to reflect is a paradigm shift in an individual’s experience (as opposed to an entire species genetic direction). Yet, there is increasing evidence that species of many kinds are passing on learning to their young which is enabling them to enter their world with greater advantage and adaptation and, depending on your definition of evolution in biological terms, this is starting to influence the scientific worlds take on evolution. The recognition that evolution is not just genetic adaptation but is beginning to be seen as 50% genetics and 50% environment (or some similar measurement) is becoming more commonplace.

Returning to the idea of ‘perfection’, in terms of evolutionary biology homo-sapiens have never been perfect. There is a bit of a trend currently to idealise different periods of our evolutionary history such as pre-agriculture or the paleolithic period. The truth is that there is no time in human history that humans were perfectly in harmony with our environment or perfect in any particular way. “Humans are not at the pinnacle of any evolutionary ladder… Evolution is always working from existing parts… Organisms are not in ‘perfect harmony’ it is more that evolution just has to be good enough.” (Prof. Marlene Zuk, 2014). How many of us feel that we are ‘good enough’? I wonder if we started to think that we were just good enough if that might help many of us fill the void of doubt, fear and shame that drives us toward worthlessness, self-loathing, overthinking, over analysing, anxiety and depression…

In terms of religion or philosophical belief, without getting into great depth across multiple belief systems, there is a strongly familiar repetition that we are moving towards rediscovering, finding or reaching for perfection. Do our religious beliefs ever suggest that we were born imperfect? That our road leads us towards authenticity and that this is the greatest honesty we can achieve? It is easier to lose ourselves to a saviour that will cleanse us of our imperfections than to take the more honest and seemingly harder road toward just being our imperfect selves. It is easier to succumb to addictions, be they substance or material based, than accept our vulnerability. As researcher Brené Brown asks, in her infamous TEDex talk, how many of you see vulnerability in yourself as weakness yet when you see someone else expose their vulnerability you see courage.

The road to happiness, it starts with allowing yourself to be vulnerable. To be yourself, not who you think others think you should be but who you really are. It takes great risk and potentially terrifying honesty. In a world where we are told to ‘harden up’ or buy into the consumerist/capitalist idealism, and swallow the culture, politics or pseudo-psychology that is sold to us in bite size nominalisations, what we might really need to do is allow ourselves to be courageously vulnerable so that we can begin to accept our imperfections, feel worthy and experience innovation, creativity, real connection and happiness.

 

word errant satiety image courtesy of alltelleringet on deviantART

 

 

 

Rise

The rise

I had covered my fragility with a skin of stone. Believed that to be needed was to be loved. That to be compassionate was to avoid causing pain and therefore meant to deny the self. That to be loyal was to lock away the truth as a secret. That the jewel of my consciousness needed a protector. I wore the future as a brittle crown that cut and bled when I strayed from the path others wished me to walk. The butterfly of my soul flutters incessantly within the labyrinth prison of thought I have bound myself within. But to offer false hope is cruel. Trembling, I sought to open the window to allow my soul back in. Remembering the fall I realise I have allowed devolution to go too far with half-truths and excuses of why fear was too strong. But ascent is still possible. It is absolutely vital and ravenous, I hunger for it.

 

Words errantsatiety image courtesy of Trichardsen on deviantART

Now a proud daughter

Errant

Just to keep it real.

Here I am not dancing with my eyes closed.

 

Beloved,

Let us make this world

something to be voraciously proud of

I was born into a darkness

I did not understand

With my own two hands

I learned to fathom

to become all I could

to continue becoming

tirelessly,

I work to make it a kinder place

we have great influence

if you give the world

the love you want to feel

 

I post this link because these two songs together nicely encapsulate the world I was born into and who I have become.

Bear with me, have patience, humour me if you will and listen to this lengthy and fun (bottle of vino anyone?) live performance.

There is another option for those that have ‘become comfortably numb’

 

 

 

Siblings

Today was one of thoughtful reminiscing, thinking of my brother and his daughter who has been and still is in such a dark place. I sat at lunchtime in the calm of a local park, alone with my thoughts firmly set on my brother when these two little siblings appeared…

Ducklings

In the wrong season (autumn descends upon us here in the Southern hemisphere) they cling to and care for one another. I wish I had recorded the audio of their language, peeping consistently to one another in the most captivating way.

I embraced my brother tonight speaking more honestly than I have in a long time. It did us both good. We grew up within the same dysfunctional environment which has affected us both in different yet similar ways. It feels good to be able to offer him what humble words of recollection and wisdom I have, and I know that for the first time he is hearing them.

Somber

Sweet sixteen and she has scarred herself deep again.

Not quite enough to depart

But enough for us to know she intended it to be so.

So again we wait,

Wait on the knifes edge,

Wait on her bitter whim,

Wait to see if the fear will overcome her,

Praying she finds the courage to live.

 

師傅領進門, 修行在個人

Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.