August 11th, 2005
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I awake tossing in bed, my mind unable to fully rest sits disturbed and tangled like the bunched up sheets between my legs. My cat utters a grumpy, “mroump” from the back of his throat, apparently my restless mind is keeping him up too. I run through all of the things still left to do before I leave, many of them feel big and overwhelming, it feels like a long list and the time only gets shorter. It all brings me to a kind of panic. This thinking. These thoughts that get repeated over and over, like a train whistle that screams “you’re not o.k., you’re not o.k.” This is what I have trained myself to do.
I have started a new mantra for myself in this situation, something to do everyday when I wake up. I want to start my day on a different note. I take a long deep breath and say, “Today I’m going to do the best that I can do.” That’s it.
What is implied by that is I may not do it perfectly, it may not be ‘right’, I may not get everything resolved, maybe I don’t even get close, but it will be my best and that is enough. That is all I can do. Sort of takes the pressure off to get it all done. I used to percieve myself as some kind of superhuman, able to conquer every task with great speed, skill and efficiency. The pressure to ‘get it all done now’ was/is overwhelming. And at the root of it is control, the need to make sure that my life functions perfectly. I laugh now as I write that last line. No life functions perfectly. And in the imperfections is the good stuff, the stuff that is worth writing about. The messiness of everyday life. Color. Who wants to write about a life that runs like clockwork?
With this understanding I am learning to be more gentle with myself. Don’t try to do it all, just do what you can and feel good about that. Allow space for mystery and serendipity to come in. Allow for accidents and mistakes, for time spent doing nothing, for experience. (collage is wonderful training for this, you cannot control it too much.) When I am in a panic I am not really experiencing life, but forcing it into a little box. For the first time in my life I am starting to understand what it means to embrace my imperfections. Part of that is allowing myself to experience that vulnerability, (such a theme lately), and trust in my ability to deal with situations as they arise. Maybe I should make myself a tshirt that reads, “Imperfectionist in training.”
So today I will go for lunch at the cafe, I will write a bit, make a few phone calls, do a collage, attempt one thing on my big list, go for a swim. Or maybe none of that will happen. But it will be enough.

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