The Road Home Is Home

1307 Relax and Succeed - The road home is home

I recently heard about a scientific study that involved ‘improving sports.’ I found the desire to remove mistakes from sports refereeing to be a good example of the two sides of an issue that society currently faces in all areas of life.

Our drive for fairness is admirable and natural and is at the heart of cooperative societies, but our simultaneous discomfort with normal, progressive human fallibility can become obsessive, as it currently feels it’s becoming.

A recent study found that baseball referees made wrong calls on pitches about 10% of the time. That made sense considering what they are doing, which is to track a tiny, high speed object through a fictional piece of three-dimensional space. Missing only 10% felt very impressive to me. Refs getting calls wrong is a part of the drama of a game. But to the researcher, this was something to be fixed.

Indeed, we can attempt to ‘fix’ that with technology but the question becomes, do all of these perfections in all areas of life lead humans to develop entirely unrealistic expectations about other as yet-imperfect human systems, or even about other people or ourselves? Did we teach ourselves perfectionism by trying to perfect everything around us?

1307 Relax and Succeed - Only progress not perfection

We’re in gyms because we don’t think we’re perfect enough. We alter our diets because we don’t think we’re perfect enough. We redecorate and dress ourselves in repeated attempts to attain perfection. We even fear death because we’re so sure that one lifetime isn’t enough to make the case for our own value, because those mistakes keep bringing our value down –we think.

Technology and systems improve over time because each generation can build upon the one before it. But every generation starts off ignorant to the emotional challenges in life, and we all must face them individually. Maturing is learning, and learning involves being wrong, there is no getting around it.

The struggle through life is our life. That is what it is to mature, to grow and to partake in the rewards of living. To mistake the struggle toward perfection to be a failure to achieve perfection is to lose the value inherent in mortality.

Vampires are doomed to an eternity where they can perfect their external selves, but nothing can save them from the eternal horror of watching all of their great loves age and pass on. Only humans are granted the grace of a temporary state, and the great loves that go with the preciousness of limited time.

With all the wonderful experiences available in life, we are better not to waste that time worshipping the notion of perfection.

If we seek perfection our ‘improvements’ to ourselves and the world can ultimately do more damage to our lives than good. But that can only happen when we have failed to notice the value of limited time.

Improvements are positive, but they come to us just as much from our enjoyment of life as from our efforts to consciously improve. It is important for each of us to not get so attached to being better that we forget to simply be at all.

What you seek, you shall never find.
For when Gods made man,
They kept immortality for themselves.
Fill your belly.
Day and night make merry,
Let Days be full of joy.
Love the child that holds your hand.
Let your wife delight in your embrace.
For those alone are the concerns of man.
   – The Epic of Gilgamesh

Forget perfection. Today, just live.

peace, s

Relationship Identities

Every relationship starts off with a glow of magnificence. That’s because both parties start off seeing each other as magnificent. The only question is, how long can you make that honeymoon phase last? Two days? Two weeks? Two months? Two years? And most importantly, once you are out of that state of mind, how quickly and how often can you return to that state of mind?

561 Relax and Succeed - Find someone who knowsImagine people as shapes. The have soft parts and hard parts, and curvy parts and angular parts, and rounded parts and sharp parts. Every shape is unique, but they’re all made of the same basic kinds of components. Think of these as their personality traits. Those traits represent one half of the equation. The world then provides the context for those traits to play out. So in some contexts, someone’s sharpness can work against them, and in other contexts it can be just the right reaction. If you can learn to consciously choose your state of mind you will be able to adapt the orientation of your traits to best-suit the circumstances. You still won’t be good at everything. But you’ll maximize how much you can be good at.

Now you not only have a you in your consciousness, you also have a relationship identity. You and your spouse will each have independent relationship identities, but they will generally have a lot in common. This represents your view of the personality of your relationship. It’s how you are together. Is one the straight man while the other one gets the punchlines? Do you argue a lot? Does the same person always surrender in arguments? Is one person always correcting the other? Are you very supportive and caring? What is your relationship’s identity? What is its average temperature? And who do you blame for what’s missing or wrong?

If either partner is focused on disappointments—on what’s wrong or what’s missing—then the tone of the relationship will drop and deteriorate. If either partner is focused on appreciating new ideas or appreciating your existing good fortune, then the tone of the relationship will rise and warm. Because we are all ultimately made of the same base energy that the entire universe is made of, we are all ultimately One. The bond is generated by love and love is not judgmental. Love is blind. True love is 561 Relax and Succeed - Love is this simple gatheringunconditional. True love accepts all. Two people who can regularly maintain that level of mindfulness are destined to have the very best lives together. This in comparison to two people focused on each other’s weaknesses or mistakes. They are doomed.

People don’t really change much. As you grow up you either get to be that cool grandparent that everyone wishes was their grandparent, or you can be that sad, victimized grandparent that seems tiny and ineffectual. What idea you have of yourselves and each other is up to you. You choose the impression your partner makes on you and you can absolutely succeed at changing your view to something more charitable, reasonable and helpful.

You’re not perfect. Neither is your partner. But the more perfection you can see in their imperfections the happier you will be. Because that happiness is not derived from your partner being so much stronger, it’s because your view of them is so much so.

Choose your words and your timing to reflect back a positive self-image to your partner. You’ll always both benefit if one of you feels better, so make the selection of your state of mind is a conscious choice in your life. Do that and both of your lives will be filled with a deep and abiding love.

peace. s