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The imperfection of living

“We are imperfect because we are alive” Matt Haig


In the Comfort Book, Matt Haig reflects on the reality that we are a mess, and the hardest thing to do is to be yourself, in all your messiness. He says to deny mess is to deny who we are and encourages radical acceptance (to quote Tara Brach) of the natural flaws that are part of existence. When we do this he reflects


“We can exist with openness and honesty; rather than shrink ourselves by trying to shut ourselves away like the contents of a cluttered cupboard.”


This got me reflecting on the way the state of my home interacts with my state of mind. From time to time, it gets a bit messy, family homes do. There’s a constant dance to be done balancing the need for expression, freedom and joyful mess with the need for hygiene, accessibility and some sense of order. I notice my preference in this dance lies somewhere different to the preference of my kids, albeit however messy they still imagine I can know where everything they want is!


When home is disordered, or dirty, my state of mind somehow reflects this. When it is clean and tidy, I reflect that too. Noticing the bandwidth in which I am comfortable, and what happens at the edges is instructive, and it’s something I play with both to learn about myself, and to expand my comfort from time to time.


Being alive is a messy business, with continual birth, growth, decay and death from a cellular level right through to the rise and fall of health of those we love. We are not perfect, no such concept really exists. When we can embrace and love our own messiness, and learn about our comfort zones and our edges, then we can increasingly accept who and how we are, and so set ourselves free to evolve and grow.




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