Day in, day out my life seems to be unraveling lately.
It is not a falling over, “I can’t do this anymore, sigh”. It is more like the sting of an onion when it is cut open and the layers we peel off, to find the shape and brilliance of its core.
Present Over Perfect, came at a time when I knew some layers of my internal onion were needing to be shed but the question I asked myself was “Do I have the courage to actually face them?”
Thomas Merton said it this way…
“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realising who you are at the deepest level.”
In the past, I have sat in the drivers seat believing if I just schedule more, rearrange more and control more then everything will feel better.
I think one of the hardest parts of this present over perfect journey has been the realisation in me, that I have been hoping for a silver bullet or a formula with the golden answer. Questioning why I say yes to people constantly, unpacking the deep need for acceptance and people pleasing has been unraveling in my essential self.
I am okay with imperfection.
I wrestled that onion layer quite a few years ago. I have made peace with that place of putting my work and heart on the line and often step forward in vulnerability. The deeper place of unraveling, though, is where I get my sense of purpose and value from. I struggle to remain present in my moment with my today because I constantly striving for my tomorrow.
Yesterday I sat in a park with this book and felt the pain of this realisation. There is so much about my doing, that is tied up in my sense of belonging and no matter how much praise or approval I get, until I sit with the pain of rejection, I will never be able to move forward.
“They didn’t want me, they threw me way like a piece of unwanted food scrap and I was not respected in the process”
The pangs of rejection and the reoccurring theme of striving therefore birthed in my today.
Shauna explains it this way…
“If this journey has been the peeling of an onion, layer by layer, shedding external selves like skin, it seems we are reaching the centre. The centre is reached, once again, through silence, time, honesty, loss; by leaving behind all the voices and expectations, all the selves and costumes of other times, things that worked then but don’t work any longer”
The pain of this kind of self-discovery is as present as the first cut through an onion, the sting in our eyes, the rank smell that assaults our senses and the impossible feelings that we cannot cut through the pain.
Then as we make our way through the layers, we process them, we discover, we explore, it is like the aroma changes, from the butter of friendship and life, and the onion sweetens and releases the pain, encouraging us towards its lessons learned.
I am in a state of unraveling lately and my greatest lesson is around where I get my sense of significance and acceptance from. It feels like I am realigning my foundation and the cracks that rejection from my past has created are being filled in and restored once again.
This morning I took the time to say no, in brave ways that I have never done before, shifting and making space in my diary for nothing. Time for me. Time for my family, time to refuel and recover.
These little steps of recovery are monumental in the present day. Every time I prioritise the important over the urgent, I am reminding myself that living in the space of people pleasing and a regret is a place of future pain.
My book club question is this…
“Is there a layer that this book has been unraveling, that is painful but has purpose?”
As this journey with our book club comes towards the end, I am realising that I have just begun a whole new season of self-discovery.
Facing the pain of rejection is very real for me right now. Readjusting where I get my foundation of love and acceptance from and if I never did anything more with my life, for the rest of my days, would I live like I’m loved?