I am a perfectionist. I have spent the last hundred years or so in denial about that because I know perfection is impossible in the real, linear, everyday world. Everything is flawed. People, machines, nature, schedules, plans, planetary orbits, weather patterns, computer programs. Nothing functions exactly the way we expect it would if things were perfect. Least of all me. And who wants to spend her life in pursuit of the impossible?
Recently the biggest insight moment I’ve ever had hit me in the face and I redefined perfection. At first only for myself, but I realized that when I apply it to myself, it makes everything else perfect, too. So here it is.
Joy is the measure of perfection.
When I imagine the perfect day or the perfect kiss or the perfect sandwich, it is perfect there in my mind, informed by the things that make me joyful. Sunshine on an autumn day. The warmth of my lover’s lips. That indescribable flavor created by olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper when applied to a hoagie. (Stephen King once said John Lennon and Paul McCartney made a separate perfect voice when they sang together. It’s like that.)
The fact that reality will not reproduce the perfection of my imagination, fantastic though the real artifacts may be, is irrelevant. Because it is the joy inherent in the reality that inspires my visions of perfection. The joy is perfect.
Perfection is not limited by precision or conformity to some standard or preconceived definition. If you try to make a perfect circle or sing a perfectly uniform tone or have perfect skin, you will fail. Perfection is not how you perform or how smoothly things run or how accurately you can measure things. Perfection is the joy you feel. For whatever reason.
Joy, joy, joy!
I can have perfect acceptance. Perfect appreciation. Perfect moments. All in the name of perfect joy.
And when I allow myself the perfection of my joy, because it’s already there in every moment, waiting for me to get out of the way so it can make me perfect too, everything else is perfect. Perfect just the way it is.