Here’s a phrase from a poem on gratitude shared in this week’s Purple Ink Café Writers’ Circle: “Our swimsuits, flapping in the breeze.”
It created a rather humorous picture in my mind of an oversized swimsuit literally flapping around my body. That picture was immediately replaced by a picture of a swimsuit hanging out to dry after a day at the beach.
I can enjoy the beach, but am not a ‘beach person’ per se. I do love the ocean, though—the vastness and power of the sea, the way you can lift your gaze to infinity. It provides a bit of perspective when I get so balled up in my day-to-day concerns that I forget there really is a bigger picture.
And the specter of the swimsuit provides another challenge for me. It’s disconcerting these days to see all of the bumps and bulges revealed, and the icky blue veins and hills and valleys in these legs that once were smooth and firm, the product of years of ballet classes.
But this is also where I can see that it’s possible to take note of those imperfections, then move on to the blessings experience provides. It reminds me of my mother-in-law, Eleanor, who swam into her seventies, and never expressed self-consciousness about her appearance. Because she knew what really mattered—the delight of sharing joyful life events with her children and grandchildren.
Do you ever wonder how much we miss by worrying about appearances? There’s so much more to life than the way we look—physically or otherwise. As a recovering perfectionist, it’s challenging to expose myself to judgment, either by saying something that might provoke disagreement, or sharing a painting or an article that may be flawed in some way, or exposing a less-than-pristine housekeeping habit that’s still in the ‘working on it’ stage.
And that’s when walking my own talk can come to the rescue. The hand analysis and creativity coaching I do meets and greets that judgmental mindset, and allows me to see the appeal of the perfectly imperfect. There is true beauty in living, becoming vulnerable, taking some chances, gaining wisdom, and passing it along. We are all works in progress and beings in process, and there is magnificence in that.