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Complementary Corner

Perfection or purpose?

Renee Lehman

(6/2016) Belief – a conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence (Merriam-Webster’s dictionary). Your beliefs determine everything in your life. Your beliefs determine the decisions you make, the relationships you have, and the level of confidence you have, just to name a few examples. Your beliefs determine everything about you!

So, my question to you is: "Do you believe that you must be perfect?" If you answered, no, I don’t fully believe you. In our society, we are surrounded by this notion of "achieving perfection." For example, there are products to make our skin perfect, exercise regimes to make our bodies look perfect, and books on how to live a perfect life. And, there is also the belief that if we make our lives look perfect (like a staged magazine cover), then we will be happy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. While we are consumed with making everything look perfect, we are actually like a hamster running around on its hamster wheel. Are we feeling fulfilled? Not really.

What is perfection? Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines perfection as the freedom from fault or defect. Why do you believe that you must be free from defects? And, who is to say that having a fault or a defect isn’t actually perfection?!

Here is an ancient story with a modern day message about the concept of perfection:

The Cracked Pot.

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots. Each pot hung on the ends of a pole, which she carried across her shoulders. Every day, she used this device to carry water to her home.

One of the pots was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. The other had a deep crack in it and leaked. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this situation occurred daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments and saw itself as perfectly suited for the purpose for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, the cracked pot spoke to the woman one day by the stream, saying, "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you." "Why?" asked the woman. "What are you ashamed of?"

"For the past two years, I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house. Because of my flaws you have to work without getting the full value of your efforts," the pot said.

The woman felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and out of compassion she said, "As we return to my house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path." Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the wildflowers on the side of the path. The pot felt cheered. But at the end of the trail, the pot still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and again it apologized for its failure.

The old woman smiled and replied, "Did you notice that there are flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walked back home you watered them and made them grow. For two years, I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table and give to my friends and neighbors. Without you being just the way you are, there would not have been this special beauty to grace our homes and lives."

Moral: Sometimes, it’s the flaws, "cracks," or what we perceive as imperfections, that create something unexpected and beautiful.

We are all "cracked" pots. You may think like the cracked pot that you are inefficient or useless in certain areas of your life, but these "cracks" ultimately make our lives and therefore, the whole universe, much richer and more interesting. Every thing and every being has its own unique purpose and destiny to fulfill.

That is correct, you are not an accident! You were planned. You matter. You matter to the Universe! You have a unique purpose and destiny to fulfill! This is self-actualization!

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines purpose as the feeling of being determined to do or achieve something, and the definition of self-actualization as the realization of one’s full potential.

So, do you want to live a more fulfilling life? Let go of perfection and work toward your purpose in life, your destiny! "Letting go of perfection does not mean lowering your standards, it means elevating them to what really matters in your life (Lisa Earle McLeod)."

Deep inside of you, you know what it truly important to you. We all do. We are all connected to the infinite wisdom of the Universal Life Force. Our body/mind/spirit is fully connected to this unlimited energy of the Universe!

So, to reconnect with our unique purpose, eliminate your self-limiting beliefs. Also, think about the times that you have experienced any of the following: a loss of awareness to time and space, the feeling of being free of inner conflict, functioning effortlessly and easily without strain or struggle, or being mindful of the present moment. In these moments, you have been experiencing what Abraham Maslow (Maslow’s Hierarch of Needs) called a Peak Experience – a transcendent moments of pure joy and elation. These play an important role in self-actualization. Maybe, examining these experiences will give you guidance towards meeting your destiny!

• "You were born to be real, not perfect." – Unknown

• "Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them." – Albert Einstein

• "It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation

• of somebody else’s life with perfection." – Anonymous (the Bhagavad Gita)

• "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." - Pablo Picasso

Renee Lehman is a licensed acupuncturist and physical therapist with over 25 years of health care experience. Her office is located at 249B York Street in Gettysburg, PA. She can be reached at 717-752-5728.

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