Insights on Imperfection

Greetings all. It’s good to be back. My month away from the blog proved to be restful in a spiritual sense, if not physically restful.  Life is as busy as ever, as my first child prepares to graduate high school, and I prepare for knee surgery next Monday. If next week’s entry seems a little loopier than usual, just assume it’s the pain meds talking. 

I’m a perfectionist by nature, and have wrestled with self-imposed pressure my entire life. But recently I had a bit of an epiphany that has really changed my mindset for the better.  I was driving, and listening to a cd of a university course in “big history.”  Big history tries to trace the human story from the beginning of the universe at the big bang all the way through contemporary post-industrial society… not your usual history course. 

Anyhow, as I was cruising along, I was listening to the lecture on the early universe, and BAM.  Sudden insight. Imperfection is the Source of all possibility.  You see, without a certain amount of gravitational irregularity…lumpiness…imperfection in the early universe, no stars could have formed. No stars, no planets. No planets, no us.

Imperfection is also the creative driver of evolution. If an organism is perfectly adapted to its environment, it doesn’t change. We are here because of the ongoing imperfect adaptations of our many evolutionary ancestral kin. 

Imperfection really is the Source of all possibility. Creativity. Existence.

We have not fallen into our present condition from some mythic state of perfection.  The imperfect is what created us, and everything that exists. All this abstract pondering led me in the end back around to more personal matters.  At the moment, the C-shaped meniscus cartilage in my knee is torn in three places. It is quite imperfect, and I am very much aware of it right now! But even after the surgery, it will still be imperfect, but hopefully in a less painful way.

What can the realization of this create within me? My hope is that my awareness of the possibilities of imperfection for the universe will lead me to some possibilities of my own:  a state of greater openness and compassion for myself and for others and perhaps a lessening of self-imposed perfectionist pressure. After all, it goes against the creative grain of the universe. How can I possibly argue with that? 

The world is imperfect. Our lives are imperfect. We as individuals are imperfect. And that’s exactly the way it should be. What do we do with that understanding? What in your life right now is not the way you’d like it to be? What is less than perfect? What message or insight does that particular aspect of life hold for you? What creative possibilities does it offer you? 

Celebrate the imperfect. It is the Source of All That Is.

For more on perfection (or not), I invite you to put the term “Wabi-sabi” into the search field for this site and see what comes up. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: image of cosmic background radiation fluctuations (aka the lumpy imperfection) in the early universe taken by the COBE satellite. Courtesy of NASA

About Rebecca

Natural spirituality writer, deep thinker, mom of 3, adjunct professor, resident of Earth
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One Response to Insights on Imperfection

  1. Meredith says:

    Good to have you back, Rebecca!! Who says there isn’t a weird kind of order in the universe, even the most specific and personal? I read your latest entry, then skipped over to Cool Green Science/Nature Conservancy, where I read the following quote:

    “As these currents join, they’ll lead us to a different view of the future. It won’t look perfect, but it’ll surely be better.” — Richard Louv

    Very interesting that both of you are talking and thinking about perfection, progress (or, lack of same), technology, and the future of the human race … must be some kind of similar energy zipping about :)

    Thanks, and good luck with the knee surgery… and, enjoy the pain meds while you’re entitled to!!

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