Progress not Perfection

I find that no matter how much we work on improving ourselves, we will still have ups and downs.  This is the natural progression of life.  What becomes problematic is when we expect ourselves not to get off track. We tell ourselves we must do more or work harder at the first sign of backsliding. 

Julia Cameron, in her book The Artists Way, says: "Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead.  It is a loop–an obsessive, debilitation closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details…"

To expect perfection is counterproductive; causing unnecessary stress and anxiety.

I wonder why we do this?  I am sure some of this has been instilled in childhood, but even those who did not have this experience get caught in this web. 

There is a saying in Twelve Step Recovery programs that reminds us to ease up:  Progress, not Perfection.  Even a honing device must realign its path, and so do we.

Let me know in the comments below how you deal with sliding back from progress.  Are you able to more forward or do you get stuck in perfection?

Posted in: A Calm Perspective

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You Are Not Alone

"We can do what I can’t".  "You are not alone".   These are slogans from Twelve Step Recovery Programs and they are powerful because everyone in the community wants to help one another, which in turn helps themselves.  

Community is vital and provides great healing, especially when the group shares a common ground.

I teach in the Northside Hospital Cancer Support Community and what strikes me most is the care and love of the entire community.  I watch students want to help others and share their experience, strength and hope.  The environment is upbeat and their focus is on enjoying life.  It does not matter if they are a caregiver, in remission or have lost a loved one- they rally around each other.  They do not try to fix, rather they listen and provide support if needed and always welcome a new person.  They understand, because they have lived it.

Whether it is a Twelve Step Program or any kind of Support Community, it works because it is human nature to travel with others and to know we are not alone.

What a gift.

Posted in: A Calm Perspective

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Are You the Problem or Solution?

There is a saying in Twelve Step Recovery Programs:

If I am not the problem, there is no solution.  In other words, the only one you can change is YOU.

That simple sentence is very freeing.  It takes others out of the equation and puts the responsibility for your state of mind in your hands.

Even if someone has wronged you, it is up to you to keep your side of the street clean- it might be as simple as a change in attitude. This shifts the power others have over you and places it in your hands. 

There is great empowerment in living this way. You will have less stress and pain.  You have a choice of what you want to focus on-the problem or the solution.

When you choose to live in the solution, you will have more stamina and clarity to enjoy and participate in your life each moment.  

Do you live in the problem or solution?

Let me know in the comments below how you have shifted into the solution.  If you are struggling in the problem, what do you think is getting in the way?

Posted in: A Calm Perspective

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