After visiting a new friend’s house the other day, we were discussing how beautifully designed her home was and how she spontaneously and effortlessly cooked a delicious meal with tomatoes and herbs from her greenhouse. We both remarked on how this woman exemplified inspired everyday living.
It then occurred to us that reading our blogs, people may think that we, too, have mastered this inspired everyday living and always have perfectly clutter-cleared homes, healthy, gourmet meals on the table, and an easy grace throughout our daily routines. The truth is we strive for inspired everyday living, and at times even achieve it, but we certainly don’t feel we have mastered it. Yes, we have many moments when we’re able to experience all the benefits of what we espouse and most of the time we practice what we preach and our efforts bear fruit, but we are always striving and learning. Just the other day as Laura was sorting through the boxes from her move she thought to herself, “for someone who deeply values simplicity, I am not that simple!” And Alison loves to cook, but has set off fire alarms time and time again while doing so. We recognize we are a work in progress and we do our best to focus on how we are within ourselves as we go about our daily routines rather than chasing some perfect outcome.
As recovering perfectionists, we feel it’s important to share our stumbles and blunders as well as our successes. In fact, we don’t think we would be interested in writing about all this stuff, or able to write about it, if we had already mastered each and every skill. As a wise friend once said, “everyone specializes in their weakness,” we have heard it said a slightly different way which is that “we teach to our weakness.” This wise friend went on to say that he thinks “specializing in our weakness is an unconscious need to master something we have never been able to as a child and it replays itself over and over in our lives.”
We know for us, this is true. Our childhoods were blessed in so many ways, but as with many families there were complications too, and that probably made us yearn for the perfect “Martha Stewart” home life. Of course as adults, we’ve learned this may not exist—even Martha Stewart is pretty complicated! But it makes sense that we now search for that comfort and simplicity in our inner- and outer-lives and desire the peace that comes from feeling “at home.”
At times when we were writing our book The Peaceful Nursery—about finding peace at home while preparing for a baby—we would find ourselves arguing over something trivial because we’d both had bad days and were completely stressed out and up against a deadline. There was nothing peaceful about our lives during those moments. We finally burst into laughter one day when one of us pointed out we were yelling about how to phrase a tip about being peaceful.
The good news is, oftentimes it’s the moments where things don’t turn out the way we want them to that we learn the most. There are going to be challenges in life and issues will arise, but as Dr. Ron Hulnick says, “how we relate to the issue is the issue.” It can be a lot of fun and healthy to accept our blunders and embrace the messiness of life. So we want to be clear that in all our efforts to live inspired everyday lives, we value most the good intentions, we believe the process is the goal realized, and we always appreciate the learning that has occurred in the doing as much or more than any external, visible outcome or result.
If you like this blog (and you’re a recovering perfectionist too!), you may also like:
When A Little Mess is a Good Thing