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    Peaceful Action, Open Heart - Thich Nhat Hanh*** Eat, Pray, Love*** Peaceful Living - Mary Mackenzie(daily reader)*** The Vein of Gold - Julia Cameron (this is a read a chapter a week type book)*** Dubliners - James Joyce*** Nursing: The Philosophy and Science of Caring - Jean Watson*** The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Volume I***
  • Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I, I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.
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There is a Spirituality of Imperfection

The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning is the name of the book that my bookclub is currently reading. The very title says a lot. This morning prior to the bookclub meet I was sitting on my front porch reading as I do most mornings, when I spied a resident cardinal whom I see most mornings. I have been meaning to talk about this little guy for some time, but haven’t quite had the words to do so. This cardinal means a great deal to me, and I offer him encouragement each time I see him. He seems oblivious, oblivious to his own imperfection. Perhaps he loves himself as he is – without even realizing his aberration. Whatever the case may be, I see him daily, going about his business, feeding at the bird feeder, scolding other cardinals, flitting amongst the trees. Behavior no different from every other cardinal. But this cardinal is bald. He has absolutely no feathers on his scaly black head. Quick shocking to see. But I have gotten used to him, and in fact like him quite a bit.

The Symbology here is enormous. A Cardinal – the prettiest of birds with their brilliant red feathers marred with the imperfection of having no magnificient head crest – in fact no head feathers at all. Just a shiny black pate. Its almost as if he is saying to me: ‘It is okay to share all your (perceieved) inner ugliness on the outside. That it is okay to let others see you. That there will still be acceptance and love and plenty for you. In fact, in sharing that (perceived) inner ugliness you will find a depth of acceptance that you could not have if the flaws and imperfections that we all carry were left hidden on the inside’.

 Is that why I am so drawn to this bird, with all his flaws, who shows me that my own flaws are okay – and that it is okay to not have to try to hide them, to not have to try to be perfect.

The book is great, and the meeting today even better. It speaks to my soul and tells me that my “torn-to-pieces-hood” and “mixed-up-edness” are all okay – and that you have the same in you. I left the book club meeting today feeling good be-ing who I am, because there, with women that I love, I was able to show my own ‘bald head’ without shame or ridicule or judgment, just like the cardinal. And that “mixed up middle”  is a good feeling place to be.

“-to teeter at the extremes of self-love and self-loathing, to pursue perfection because we despise our imperfections-is to find neither satisfaction in successed nor wisdom in failures….We tend to sway precariously on the teeter-totter of life, running from one extreme to another, missing the point that the only stable place to be is in the mixed-up middle. In reality, that is the only place we can be.” ( (Kurtz & Ketchum from The Spirituality of Imperfection)


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