“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” ~ Buddhist Proverb
This quote reminds me of Dory from the movie Finding Nemo: “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.” I feel like that a lot, especially these days. One day at a time. One foot in front of the other. Am I missing any cliches?
But I really like this quote because it speaks to me as a parent and as an activist. A lot of what I talk about in my presentations, and a lot of what I struggle with as a person, mother, wife, and an advocate for social justice, is my relationship with perfection. It’s not enough to be on the right path – I have to have already arrived at perfection, taken off my coat and shoes, and made myself a cup of tea or it’s simply not good enough.
And the truth that I try to teach others but that I struggle to come to grips with myself is that not only is this not possible, but it’s not healthy. An attachment to perfection keeps us in a perpetual state of feeling judged, if not by others than certainly by ourselves, and unworthy, because it is something that is unattainable. As parents, and as activists, we want so badly to do everything right. Our attachment to the outcome (i.e. healthy and happy children, sustainable world, etc.) is so powerful that we can beat ourselves us when we make mistakes, or we don’t make The Right Choice, or we don’t handle things as well as we would have liked.
But really, we should be giving ourselves huge props for facing in the right direction, because there are so many people who aren’t, who are wandering through the wilderness with no direction at all or who are on the wrong path altogether. It is hard to stay on the straight and narrow and just keep walking, and if we stumble to the side of the road once in awhile, it’s still okay because we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and keep going. That’s not to say that I endorse complacency – it does no good to be on the right road if you’re just standing there looking at the horizon, does it? This is just to say that we are all on a journey, we are all a work in progress, and as long as we’re always working on ourselves, always improving, always learning, always growing – always moving forward – it’s all good.