"Good enough" is popping up all around me. 6 months ago I entered motherhood and now good enough parenting catches my eye. I'm nearly finished with Elizabeth Gilbert's new book, Big Magic, and themes of mundane and persistence stand out - a sort of gentle nudge to just do it every day, even if your writing is total crap and you don't feel at all creative. I even tried to write this blog weeks ago, the words came out just right, and then as I went to publish I accidentally deleted it. My second attempt will have to be good enough, because the ideal first version is long gone.
Good enough is normally unacceptable. I have high standards, my family's are even higher. I'm genetically predisposed to perfectionism. But I'm tired to my bones. I don't know when I'll really sleep. And so "good enough" isn't such a stretch. My yoga practice is a shadow of what it once was. My work is adequate. My cooking lacks creativity, but is edible. I dress merely to be clothed, not to make any fashion statement.
Good enough feels like failure. I suffer greatly in my attachment to perfectionism. I like to believe I'm in total control of my life and when it's merely a fraction of what I believe I'm capable of, I think I am to blame. I wrestle constantly with hope, which seems so virtuous but always lets me down. My instinct is to run from hopelessness, but I can't shake it. So here I am, muddling through, suffering greatly, and then my friend brings Pema Chodren back into my life. She's got everything and more to say about my particular suffering. This week I'm re-reading this passage from When Thing Fall Apart as if my life depends on it.
It's funny, this passage. It gives me a new perspective on the moon cards I read every morning. Earlier this week, before reading chapter 7 in Pema, I picked up my card for Day 19 of the lunar cycle.
I usually hate drawing this card. I want to skip over Day 19, pretend it doesn't exist. Except this time through the deck I'm confronted with shit head on. Flying shit. My son sneeks a dirty diaper into our afternoon. I go to change him, expecting just another wet cloth. I fling the the diaper open and there goes poop. I can't see it, but I can smell it. I'm forced to let eyesight play second fiddle to my sense of smell and let my nose seek it out. I find a nice little stinky clump sitting on the pretty cream crib bumper. I shake my head, hold my breath, then go ahead and grab that little piece of poop and toss it out. There's a tiny mark left behind, but really, no one else would know. I could undo all those nice little ties and do yet another load of laundry. Instead, I just leave it. It's clean enough. And time to let good enough be good enough.