This goes somewhat against my nature, which is to be doggedly determined to get things "just so." That's probably been a good thing for me in some respects, but it can also be a burden. No matter how much I've worked, no matter how far I've come, my inner voice always tells me that it's not good enough.
Having had a close relative whose life was almost overtaken by her obsessive-compulsive disorders, I've been alerted to the fact that this tendency, left to its own devices, gets worse over time. The little voice that wants things to be better is only trying to help, but I want a balance that allows me to appreciate right here, right now.
So, I've taken a new mantra, which I repeat to myself throughout my day:
I accept imperfection when I can't get up into a forearm stand, even though I did it yesterday.
I accept imperfection when I've played the scale for 10 minutes and am still making mistakes at my target speed.
I accept imperfection when I just couldn't throw that tall young man from Phoenix without getting tense and flustered.
I accept imperfection when I can see dust bunnies under the bed but I don't have energy to get down on my knees.
I accept imperfection when my husband's piles of mail reach the toppling point in the living room and he prefers them to stay that way.
I accept imperfection when my son doesn't seem to want to follow my excellent advice.
This little phrase has been a surprising source of calmness for me. I find myself accepting things as they are in more ways than I expected. I'm more content with the piano solo I just played, instead of focusing on the few "bad" notes; I'm accepting of my life situation, with its list of "wants" and "to do's" that's forever growing faster than time or income will allow; I'm accepting of the people in my life, who are, after all, doing the best they can; and I'm accepting of myself, for not being able to complete a limitless set of tasks. I'm even accepting that I forgot to use this mantra for the last month, till I came back to finish this post.