This past weekend, everywhere I explored were fun little remnants of the holidays and of our recent winter storm. At public parks and in residential neighborhoods I saw half-toppled snowmen, dirty around the edges and facing more down and to the side than forward. (The snow around them mostly disappeared, these icy statues felt so optimistic. Very Oklahoman of them.) Brightly colored nylon cartoon inflatables, deflated for the season, hung over porch rails to dry. A few gates still boasted over sized evergreen wreaths with red velvet bows, but not many. We are well past Christmas now and facing Oklahoma’s own funny version of late winter.
After nine consecutive action-packed weeks (all wildly happy and rewarding and also exhausting in the best ways), I almost didn’t know how to approach a truly open weekend. Our work was caught up (except for a few days’ laundry, to allow the septic tank leach field to dry out a little), and we had nothing planned. Not one thing in stone.
On Saturday, I ran my miles in Choctaw then Handsome and I had lunch out together and did some exploring. We watched movies at night and slept like babies.
On Sunday we knocked out an errand to Tulsa and stopped at a few small town playgrounds on the way home. Klaus joined us for the drive and experienced his first merry-go-round, ha. He was very protective. I had to muscle myself into relaxation, though.
I can’t stop thinking of something.
My friend Kelley France (the Mathematician and Artist) recently recommended the book Wabi-Sabi Hospitality. I previewed it on Amazon and was immediately smitten. That sent me into a pleasant rabbit hole about wabi-sabi as a general aesthetic (not to be confused with general anesthesia ok), the Japanese acceptance of transience and imperfection. The most delicious takeaway for me so far is this:
Imperfection is a form of freedom.
This has helped me relax and breathe deeply this week. And it has braided together in fascinating ways with my morning devotions. I keep receiving these messages and scriptures about peacefulness, trust, leaning into my own shortcomings, letting God’s strength meet my weakness, keeping an open heart, finding His purposes instead of asserting my own, and more. Lots of guidance about surrendering control a little bit.
I had already chosen “cultivate” as my word of the year, and this helps. It helps me to remember that I can deepen and enrich both relationships and life experiences by accepting my limitations and imperfections, and by inviting God to meet me with His grace and power.
I will inevitably fail in the coming year, and I will get derailed by outside forces while pursuing goals and dreams. But breathing space and light and grace into every effort is a lot better than the dark, angry alternatives.
I intend to step back and breathe, a lot. I will try to remember that a perfect plan can also be restrictive. And my freedom has already been purchased for a price. Not only can I relax; I should relax. I should be embracing my liberty and freedom, my flexibility and separateness from man-made structures and plans. And maybe this would help you too?
Fractals. Fractals are swimming in my brain again. The spiraling patterns that seem chaotic and random up close but are orchestrated into beautiful, purposeful masterpieces. Remember, from The Shack? Kelley and I touched briefly on Jackson Pollack, too. Being both an artist by vocation and a mathematician by trade, she had a lot of interest in this. I would love an entire afternoon to explore it all with her. I would trade lots of good things for that conversation.
Which reminds me to expound on another idea: JOMO. The Joy of Missing Out. This is the exact opposite of FOMO (fear of missing out) and suggests an infinite smorgasbord of pleasures. We just have to find those pleasures and values, savor them, magnify them. When I say “we” here, I am talking straight to myself. Reminding myself that life is a very long and ever-heightening Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story, and every single choice I make provides a trade off. The trick is to focus on what we gain, not on what we lose.
Imperfection. Freedom. Liberty. Focus. Patterns in the Big Picture. Choosing Joy. Gratitude.
Oh my gosh, and of course Brene Brown. The Gifts of Imperfection is still on my shelf. I love what this author and speaker as to say on vulnerability, too. Have you read either?
Sometimes in yoga with Tara Stiles, she says something along the lines of “find freedom in the form, in your movement,” and I just love that. Adrienne expresses it with her now very famous catchphrase, “Find What Feels Good.” There can be a depth of grace and freedom in all of our movement, in all of our routines and resolutions, our habits and hobbies and work and relationships.
My gosh yes, our relationships need and thrive on lots of grace.
I don’t think I want to strive for anything that hinges on perfection to be successful or satisfying. Partly because I already know I will never make it; also because I know more concretely than before that my freedom is already purchased, and I don’t want to surrender it.
This feels like great food for thought in January. This seductive month of newness and trailblazing energy.
Yes, let’s do better at lots of good stuff this year.
But let’s also hang onto the good from last year, the momentum we have already built, and the values that are ours forever. Let’s keep our priorities straight and strong. Our well being does not have a deadline. Our physical selves are only part of the story. Having room for improvement in character or goals reveals imperfection, which is a form of freedom. And regarding our true weaknesses? Let’s remember Whose strength meets those perfectly and fully.
I love structure. I thrive on systems and routines. But I can accept some wiggle room, too. It’s healthy and can also be pretty dang fun. I accept it all with an open heart and hope you can too.
Thank you, Kelley, for sharing your gorgeous mind with me.
Happy New Year!!
Happy Goal Setting!!
Happy Living (no matter what day it is)