There’s a conflict going on right now in my head, one that sneaks up on me if I’m not careful and sabotages the work I most want to do.
It’s a battle between the interesting and the perfect.
On the side of the interesting, there are things that I love and want to explore:
- Revising my Liberia memoir, which I just finished the first draft of in less than a month.
- Learning and writing about living happy and healthy as an expat aid worker.
- Experimenting making tasty food with West African vegetables.
- Practicing yoga and meditation to keep my mind and body healthy and present.
These are my priorities. They are things I am passionate about and that I love doing.
So why is doing them so hard?
Well, not the cooking part, since I love to eat, but the other three. There’s something about doing the work that matters to me that brings out what many artists call the resistance.
The resistance is on the side of the perfect. It will do everything it can to keep me from showing up for my priorities and making a difference in my own life and the life of my community.
The resistance stops me from doing my work by telling me that my work has to be perfect, and then that it’s not good enough. The resistance shows up every day and tries to scare me back from living on my edge, from exploring the world on my own terms, from thriving in and contributing to my communities.
Not only that, but the resistance wants me to be perfect and invisible every single day. It’s relentless. And all the time the work I want to do is staring at me, sparkling like a silver path of moonlight on the ocean.
Who wants perfect when you can have interesting?
If you’re going for perfect and you make a mistake, it’s a bad thing. If you’re going for interesting, it’s just part of the process. My yoga poses aren’t perfect, but they are interesting–even when I fall out of them. My writing isn’t perfect, but I’ve attracted a growing community on this site.
So I write. I explore. I practice. I can feel the resistance rumbling in my gut (or is that the giardia, now that I’m back in Liberia?), but it’s not in charge.
I am, and I like it out here.