In the past, the voice of perfectionism in my head played a very prominent role.
That voice was judgmental, critical, unrelenting.
Striving. Pushing. Resistant.
Just thinking about it makes my muscles tense up. I’m holding my breath. My neck strains forward; I’m literally “striving” to be somewhere else.
Perfectionism crows, anywhere other than here! Here sucks. Anyone other than you!
Can you relate?
For me, perfectionism led to procrastination and overwhelm. It thwarted my free-flowing creativity. Not to mention — it took a TON of energy to resist myself and the present moment.
Perfectionism is self-attack. It’s a form of violence.
Isn’t it interesting, what Hafiz said? That someone who knows God has dropped the cruel knife.
Coming to Source is not hard work. It is an un-doing. A letting go of something sharp.
This is why I love my word of the year: gentleness.
“Gentleness” for me, is the opposite of self-criticism and striving.
Sharpness is a quality of the mind.
Gentleness is a quality of the heart.
It’s warm, open and receptive. It’s with not against my deepest divine nature.
Gentleness is forgiving.
Gentleness means speaking to myself with love, and listening to my body.
It means cutting myself some slack when I’m not being particularly gentle with myself or others.
Gentleness means asking for help when I need it (and not waiting a month or a year).
It means being in the flow of life instead of swimming against the current. Asking, what wants to happen? And then letting that thing happen.
Gentleness means PAIRING UP with the divine, instead of trying to solve things on my own.
Here’s the surprise gift of gentleness: it is also power.
Sharp knives are not true power… they are force.
Force and power are opposites. And for me, the difference between the two is summed up beautifully in this line from scripture:
“Thy gentleness hath made me great.”
I love how radical this is. Gentleness and greatness, together in one place!
In the old paradigm, cruelty and domination (of one nation over another, of mind over body, of matter over Spirit) made for “greatness”. In the old paradigm, perfectionism (and other forms of violence) was celebrated as strength.
But in the new (but ancient) paradigm, greatness comes from tapping into true power: which is to say, your innate divine power. You are ALL LIGHT. The ground of your being is love.
Yes indeed, there is more to gentleness than meets the eye. Gentleness is truly powerful.
After all, nothing is gentler than love, yet nothing is more powerful.
Nothing is more yielding than water, yet water cuts deeply through rock.
No one is more compassionate than the Buddha, yet he radically changed the world.
Nothing is more tender than a newborn, yet all hearts melt in her presence.
Gentleness is soft, yes.
So, that’s my word of the year. I knew it was the “right” one when my body picked it for me.
To my body, the energy field of the world ‘gentleness’ feels like melting. It’s a dissolving of the harsh places. It’s the dropping of the cruel knife.
I’m looking forward to seeing how it manifests in my life in unexpected ways. I’ll report back to you in 2021!
In case you could use more gentleness in your life, just ask yourself this question:
What would gentleness do?
Try it out with your word of the year. The simplest question can work miracles. I dare you to give it a try!
What would peace do?
What would love do?
What would pizza do?
Just kidding about that last one.
I’d love to know, what is YOUR word of the year? I’d love to hear from you.
Send your email to email@example.com.
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