I love this acknowledgement that I am already 100% perfect and therefore 100% loveable, acceptable, worthy, and whole no matter where my thoughts are, what mistakes I’m making, or what state of mess I’m in. This perfect self is my truest, highest self and she is with me always and come through occasionally when the clouds of my fear, resentments, etc. that obscure her light drift away.
But seeing myself as perfect does not exempt me from doing the work I want to do, which is the work of clearing those clouds so that she may come through more frequently and stay with me for longer periods of time when she does.
And thinking that I’m a mess instead of a masterpiece is just another cloud that obscures the light and presence of my own best self, so it is imperative that I see myself as a masterpiece so I can become one, and it is also imperative that I see myself as a work in progress. Without both, I can never become the best person I can be.
Finally, for today, may I remember that each of my daughters is also a masterpiece (I too often only think of them as works in progress), knowing that this belief, which they could internalize as their own, will help them become the best people they can be too.
“Bend first, then straighten,” my tai chi instructor says as I stand with left leg forward (foot forward, knee bent) and right leg behind (foot turned out, knee straight). If I straighten my left knee first and then bend my right knee, my head would move up, back, and down, creating an arc. But if I bend my right knee first and allow that to pull and straighten my left leg, then I keep my head level as I move from front to back.
I translate “bend first, then straighten” to mean “accept first, then change.”
Like acceptance, “bending” first requires intention, discipline, and strength. Flexibility and receptivity are not for the faint of heart. But when I am willing to soften and slacken my tight, insistent grip on “how things should be” and accept “how things are,” I can move forward with a level head and take clean action.
“Straight” describes the clean, sure, balanced action that results when I bend first. When I don’t accept before I act, I move forward without benefit of a level head and clear mind, and the action I take is less focused, more suspect, and generally off-kilter.
I hope that as I mindfully do each repetition of “bend first, then straighten” in class, the lesson of acceptance before change moves so deeply into my muscle memory and bones that I can practice this no matter where I am or what is happening.