Finding Inspiration at the Motorway Service Station: imperfect thought fragments for the new year.

…and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible.

W.S Merwin (see whole poem here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/54327/to-the-new-year)

And what of the year that was?  What will we choose to carry with us?  What will we choose to unload, lay down…thankful to feel that weight fall from us?  Perhaps a weight we never even knew we were holding.  Or perhaps something that we know has restricted joy and wellbeing for too long.

The key word in that last paragraph is choose.  Never in the history of pep talks has anyone ever been ‘pepped’ by the words, you just have to…

And so choosing is a choice too.  Not choosing is always a valid option.  Just maybe, in some strange way, that weight of a grief, a loss or a grudge is a comfort; part of what makes us who we are in this moment.  Letting it go might be a loss in itself.  In a universe of infinite possibilities, the moment to let go may be our next potential-filled moment… and no sooner.

We are pushed to perfection from every angle: to seek happiness, to source fulfilment, to pursue success.  And for some strange reason, on an arbitrary day of an arbitrary month we feel compelled to physically or mentally write a list of resolutions that will lead us closer to our own personal Nirvana.  What if we were just to sit with our imperfections?  Goodness knows, I have plenty to choose from.  What if, [gasp!] we were to find the beauty in our imperfections – the possibilities they present?

Just before Christmas I stopped at a motorway service station to have a coffee and stretch my legs.  In the midwinter gloom, the gift section was aglow with Christmas cheer and the barely suppressed panic of shoppers who, it seemed, like me, still had all their Christmas presents to buy.  Attracted by the colour of a pale green box, I lifted it, curious to see what it might contain and preparing myself for disappointment.  Instead I was intrigued.  It was a do-it-yourself Kintsugi repair kit.  Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken objects with molten gold.  In so doing, the evidence of the object’s injury – its imperfection – provides a source of (new) beauty.  So the broken object becomes not only restored but encapsulates a new kind of wholeness – a bigger wholeness, if that is possible.  The object sits resplendent, complete with its ‘imperfections’ and its vulnerability.

So this new year, I would like to sit with my imperfections, to celebrate them, to laugh with them, to converse with them and to find the beauty in my vulnerability. I may make changes or repairs. I may lay down baggage that no longer suits my needs. I may carry some stuff a little longer. And I do wonder if, in allowing space for my imperfections – giving them breath – I’ll find a channel through which I can let go of the pain of that loss or this grudge. The choice is mine. The possibilities are endless.

I wish you all a year of new discoveries, many moments of peaceful contemplation and a well of both big and small joys. x


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