Woke in the night
to the ancient voices
of denigration and unworthiness
to never-can and never-will
be enough for the self-love
of relaxing into “just as I am.”
Caught the vocal little bugger
in the act of repeating his mantras
as though he owns my ears and heart
“You are not enough…
man enough or good enough
Look at what you didn’t complete
yesterday or in your life
Look at all the projects…
You never finish what you start!”
That’s when I saw Perfectionism
clearly enough to grab hold of the parasitic sucker
and so I held tight despite
resilient sinewy winding convolutions
of justifications and accusations
of truths and partials until I saw
How even my truth-telling to self
so easily becomes yet more self-critiquing
through humiliation and belittlement
just more strategies for flagellation
for improving and making worthy
what is already whole.
It is a hard thing
to see such about one’s self
this tendency for self-destruction
for stealing success from your own heart
for wiping love off the mirror of one’s soul.
Wow. That was an intense unleashing of much I would rather not look at.
How many decades have I been on this journey of self-improvement anyway? And to then recognize the squirrel-wheel that self-improvement so easily is; and always is when there is no foundational grounding in innate worthiness and belonging.
I’m reminded here of the Rumi quote: “It is not about seeking for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself you have built against it.”
The same might be said of our sense of worthiness and belonging, of aliveness itself. Achievement and productivity easily become a short lived narcotic on a cultural path of false promises.
And what a journey this is, to restore into our hearts and souls and spirits that which is antithetical to a consumerist culture. Would it not collapse in some way, might it discover a path into transformation were we each to know the freedom arising out of recognizing and owning the beauty of who we already are?
The spirals of our breakthroughs into greater freedom always come in stages of revelations or recognitions, releasing yet a bit more of what does not serve while embracing or saying “Yes!” to a just bit more of life, and to who we are too.
Let the journey continue for each of us, this learning to see the violence of where and how we diminish ourselves and each other. And let us say “Yes!” once again to the innate wholeness and worthiness of who we already are. This is the wild resiliency within… awakening.
Note: Interesting that the phrase from my youth, “Just as I am,” shows up here. It’s the title and a refrain from gospel song beloved in fundamentalist and Evangelical circles. And it’s a song I grew to despise as I saw into the manipulative messaging of innate unworthiness embedded within such worldviews.
We are each on a long spiraling journey. Self-compassion is as valuable an ally as one can find.