Perfectionism

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”

~ Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

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Silence

“Silence is difficult, an intimation of the end, the graveyard of fixed identities. Real silence puts any present understanding to shame; orphans us from certainty; leads us beyond the well known and accepted reality and confronts us with the unknown and previously unacceptable conversation about to break in upon our lives. Silence does not end skepticism but makes it irrelevant. Belief or unbelief or any previously rehearsed story meets the wind in the trees, the distant horn in the busy harbor, or the watching eye and listening ear of a puzzled loved one.

In silence, essence speaks to us of essence itself and asks for a kind of unilateral disarmament, our own essential nature slowly emerging as the defended periphery atomizes and falls apart. As the busy edge dissolves we begin to join the conversation through the portal of a present unknowing, robust vulnerability, revealing in the way we listen, a different ear, a more perceptive eye, an imagination refusing to come too early to a conclusion, and belonging to a different person than the one who first entered the quiet.

Out of the quiet emerges the sheer incarnational presence of the world, a presence that seems to demand a moving internal symmetry in the one breathing and listening equal to its own breathing listening elemental powers.

To become deeply silent is not to become still, but to become tidal and seasonal, a coming and going that has its own inimitable, essential character, a story not fully told, like the background of the sea, or the rain falling or the river going on, out of sight, out of our lives. Reality met on its own terms demands absolute presence, and absolute giving away, an ability to live on equal terms with the fleeting and the eternal, the hardly touchable and the fully possible, a full bodily appearance and disappearance, a rested giving in and giving up; another identity braver more generous; more silent and more here than the one looking hungrily for an easy, unearned answer.”

David Whyte ~ ‘SILENCE’ From CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.

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Compassion

“Sometimes we think that to develop an open heart, to be truly loving and compassionate, means that we need to be passive, to allow others to abuse us, to smile and let anyone do what they want with us. Yet this is not what is meant by compassion. Quite the contrary. Compassion is not at all weak. It is the strength that arises out of seeing the true nature of suffering in the world. Compassion allows us to bear witness to that suffering, whether it is in ourselves or others, without fear; it allows us to name injustice without hesitation, and to act strongly, with all the skill at our disposal. To develop this mind state of compassion…is to learn to live, as the Buddha put it, with sympathy for all living beings, without exception.”
~ Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

Compassion