Although this journey of mine into healing, happiness, and self-realization certainly picked up momentum 3 years ago, it is a journey that actually started about 10 years ago, when I first read Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling. To this very day, I am a big fan of Dr. Dyer and am constantly inspired by the number of lives he has helped transform through his work.
The mistake I made, however, (when I first charted my course for personal and spiritual transformation) is that I wanted to become just like Dr. Dyer . . . or, at least, the way I perceived him to be. While I was reading Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling, I could envision Dr. Dyer getting up early in the morning and stepping out onto the veranda of his beautiful home on Maui. I could see him doing a bit of Tai Chi, having a deliciously healthy breakfast with his lovely wife, and then going to the apartment he kept for the purpose of being able to write in peace and privacy. I could almost feel the warm sun on my own cheek and smell the crisp ocean air.
“Aaaahhhhh, must be nice!,” was my first thought. My second thought was, “That’s the kind of life I want. I want to be happy, just like that!”
Well, that was 10 years ago; and I do not yet live on Maui or do Tai Chi or have a beautiful home of my own or the other things I previously thought were necessary to happiness. But, you know what? I am happy, and I love Life! As imperfect as my life might be and as imperfect as I myself still am, I laugh every chance that I get; I love with my whole heart; I solve problems as they arise by dealing with the fact that not everything can be perfect; and I look into the future with excited expectation, not frustrated longing.
That is not to say that I never feel sad or that there is nothing I would change about some of my relationships, my current living arrangements, or myself. As I continue to heal, learn, and grow, those aspects of my life will change, as my thought patterns and belief systems continue changing. In the meantime, I try my best to appreciate all the beauty and goodness that Life has to offer and to remember that striving for positive change and waiting for perfection are two very different concepts.
If we spend all of our time trying to make anything and everything, including ourselves, perfect before we begin to really LIVE, all that we end up doing is letting the happiness that is right in front of us pass us by. What we have to ask ourselves is “How much is enough for my happiness?” Marcus Aurelius once said, “Very little is needed to make a happy life.” He was correct.
But to grasp and embrace the wisdom in Marcus Aurelius’s words, we have to first accept that we are enough, in all our imperfection. When we accept that we are enough, we give ourselves permission to be happy – RIGHT NOW.
Another inspirational and insightful teacher of our time is Brene’ Brown. I like her. She is authentic; and she’s got spunk. Brene’ Brown is a well-credentialed researcher who came undone but turned the experience into something positive for herself and others. In the last several years, she has spoken frequently and written several books about how we deal with shame, perfectionism, and other barriers to authentic happiness. While she addresses topics that a lot of people would just like to ignore, she drives home the very real truth that the only way to be authentically happy is to understand that we are enough, despite our imperfection.
Her talk on The Gifts of Imperfection is an excellent introduction to her work; and I hope you will take a few minutes to watch it.
You may also want to pick up Dr. Dyer’s book, Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling. It is a wonderful read and truly inspirational. I may still make it to Maui, one day; and, if I do happen to meet Dr. Dyer, I suspect he would be the first to admit that neither he nor his life are perfect. He is just perfectly happy with imperfection.