Playing BIG With-Towards Imperfection


Imperfection, imperfection, imperfection!

I disappoint myself. Not always but certainly from time to time. I particularly disappoint myself when my relating with others is not working out as I want it to work out.  I am so imperfect!  It really takes something to be with this. Mostly, I am not being with it as I am so busy lashing at myself.

What happens when you disappoint me?  Your imperfections, where you fall short, are lit up and I see them – all of them.  How do I treat you? I lash out at  you – sometimes the lashing makes a sound, other times it is silent.

Thats the way to be if one is committed or merely resigned to playing small.  My default setting is to play small when it comes to imperfection. It may be yours.

What’s the starting point for playing BIG in relation to imperfection?

Lets start with an insight – perhaps the insight when it comes to human beings and human worlds:

…..We are all imperfect. 

Such a vision not only invites but requires Tolerance: active appreciation of the richness and variety of human beings on this earth, along with the understanding that we all struggle with the same demons, we all share the same fears and sorrows, we all do the best we can with what we have.

The Spirituality of Imperfection

Please get that imperfection is not a bug it is a feature.  Imperfection is a feature of human existence. Wherever you find a human being or human beings you will find yourself, sooner or later, face to face with imperfection. There is no escape from imperfection – it is intrinsic to human existence and pervasive.

Given this insight what is it to play BIG in relation to this feature of human existence?

The following story provides a great answer to this question:

A man who took great pride in his lawn found himself with large and recurring crops of dandelions. Although he tried every method he knew to get rid of them, they continued to plague him. Finally, in desperation, he wrote the Extension Service of the Agriculture Department of the State University, enumerating all the things he had tried and concluding with the question: “What shall I do now?”

After a somewhat prolonged time even for such correspondence, the reply finally came: “We suggest you learn to love them.”

The Spirituality of Imperfection

Damn! I have been ‘on it ‘with several members of my family: My mother, brother, and uncle for selling my father’s land despite his express request to not sell the land; My wife; and my eldest son.  Playing BIG necessitates getting ‘off-it’. Am I ready to do that?  I suspect this conversation provides a pointer.

Now what is the stance I take toward myself?  Do I start lashing out at myself for getting ‘on-it’ and staying ‘on-it’ for most of this week?  That would be falling into the same trap – lashing out at myself for not being OK, for being imperfect.  So what is it to play BIG here with regards to myself and my inherent imperfection?

If you could really accept that you weren’t ok you could stop proving you were ok.

If you could stop proving that you were ok you could get that it was ok not to be ok.

If you could get that it was ok not to be ok you could get that you were ok the way you are.

You’re ok, get it?

-Werner Erhard

Yes, it’s ok to accept my imperfection – all the areas in which I fall short. Yes, it’s ok for you to accept your imperfection.

It would be too simple, too Western, to leave this conversation here. So let’s introduce paradox (through Zen) for life is paradoxical through and through:

Each of you is perfect the way you are … and you can use a little improvement.
―Shunryu Suzuki

Nothing we see or hear is perfect. But right there in the imperfection is perfect reality.
―Shunryu Suzuki

I thank you for your listening. And I ask you to play BIG even if you find that like me you are finding your playing BIG imperfect.

Step into freedom: Speak


To speak or not to speak?

Freedom is a choice – choosing to speak and live our truth.  Right now I, you, we are presented with a great opportunity to speak, to share, to contribute, to live our truth.  Yet, most of us choose not to step into this opportunity.  Recently, Seth Godin wrote:

“You are invited to speak your mind online.  To post thoughtful comments and tweets and posts.  You’re given a place where you can post your music, or your art or your photography or your take on the state of your industry…..

Most of us refuse.  We don’t want to be a part of a community that would have us, apparently.  So we sit quietly and watch and take notes and absorb instead of joining the club of contributors.  Retweets are more common than tweets, and listeners are more common than singers.  

Because we believe we don’t belong.  That we’re not qualified.  That someone with a louder microphone is better than we are….”

I can relate to what Seth is pointing at

For many years I thought about speaking my truth and I did not.  What stopped me?  I had decided that I had nothing worthwhile to contribute.  I was convinced that I could not write.  And most importantly who would want to listen to my speaking, a nobody amidst ‘the giants’.  I would walk over to CustomerThink and admire the work of others, ‘the giants’.  And walk away convinced that I simply did not have what it takes to be there amongst the ‘giants’.

In September 2010 I chose to write – to write as a form of self-expression and to learn blogging by blogging.  I had no big plans, no dreams, just a commitment to share my authentic voice.  And to write a minimum of two posts a week.  Around March 2011, the Editor of CustomerThink noticed my blogging and invited me to syndicate my blog to CustomerThink.   Yesterday,  I took a look at the website and noticed something that took me by surprise and delighted me.  Take a look (click on the visual) and see if you notice what I noticed:

Have a look at the Top 10 authors.  Who is included in that Top 10?  It turns out that enough people find my speaking worth listening to.   Perhaps I am not a pygmy after all.

My challenge for you

Perhaps I, you, we are not and never were pygmies amongst giants.  Perhaps we are simply ‘hidden giants masquerading as pygmies’.   Why not put on the boots of courage,  take a step into freedom and speak?  Really, what do I, you, we have to  lose?  Do you want to get to your deathbed and wonder how your life might have turned out if you had been courageous and shared your gift, your point of view, your truth?

A good friend translated this poem from Urdu and sent it to me.  And I want to share it with you standing in the possibility that it may inspire you to speak, to speak your truth.

Speak

“Speak…..

Speak, for your lips are free
Speak, the tongue is still your own

Your delicate body is your own
Speak for life is still your own

Look for in the blacksmith’s shop
Fierce are the flames, the iron glows red

The jaws of the locks begin to open
Every chain has spread open its self

Speak, this brief time is enough
Before the death of body and tongue

Speak for truth is yet still alive
Speak, say whatever you have to say”