The Irony of Perfection


I was three strokes in on my first attempt at a giant Mandala painting on my living room wall. If you've drawn Mandalas, then you know they are all about symmetry. There's even a protractor involved which is awesome for the Type A part of me. Anyway, three strokes in and my hand slipped and I was quickly taken off my pencil lined roadmap. I was initially bummed, feeling defeated, with a lil mind gremlin coming over me saying, "How could you think you could get it right?! You're not an artist!"  And then I pulled back... from the painting, and my thoughts. I closed my eyes, tuned into my breath and when I opened up, I noticed that the "error" was actually the beginning of what could be a beautiful, new detail. And I went with it. It's now my favorite part of my painting.
Here's the thing. Perfection is never beautiful. It's ordinary. It's not interesting or unique or soulful. Where there is perfection, there is no creativity.
And here's the other thing. Peace and Perfection are in direct conflict to each other. When we are on the perfection train, there is no peace. There is only worry, fear and chaos. It's an endless black hole of ick.
Leaning into, as opposed to resisting my "mistake", not only enabled me to be at peace and acceptance ... and even in love with the imperfections of my painting, it gave my other part, my non Type A part, a chance to play, a chance to live, a chance to be free. So now when I look at my painting, that's what I see... the part of me that is messy, the part that doesn't need to get it all right... the part that truthfully doesn't event want to. And I'm learning to fall madly in love with her.

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tristan coopersmith