The self-help gurus want us to believe that we can reinvent ourselves. We are sold the dream that we can press a RESET button, and somehow a new person will emerge who doesn’t procrastinate, believes in herself, meditates every day, and lives in the moment, not to mention that she is a superb writer and an accomplished painter.
We tend to forget that the person attempting to leave the past behind by making a fresh start is one who’s been completely shaped by that past. The self we're seeking to transform is the same one that's doing the transforming. So like Baron Munchausen, we are trying to pull ourselves out of the swamp by yanking on our own hair.
We can’t start life afresh because we're hopelessly stuck in this life. There's no way to break out of it. You can get rid of the past, not even by becoming a monk and going to the mountains.
The only way personal change ever really happens is by acknowledging that it is a matter of rebuilding the ship mid-ocean, making adjustments to a life you can’t ever take back to port or trade for another one.
Rather than reinventing a perfect self, we can work on mending it. Using the Japanese art of Kintsugi, we can fill the cracks with golden resin and make our lives unique rather than perfect.
Kintsugi art was born from mottainai - the feeling of regret when something is wasted - and mushin, the need to accept change. Filling the gaps in our competencies and apprehensions with lacquer resin and powdered gold will create a unique being rather than a perfect being.
Give up an exhausting struggle to perfect yourself, and steer it in a new direction. Learn to accept your imperfections and mend them to create something imperfect but unique.
The same goes for everything else you are seeking. You will never find a perfect time management system, or perfect relationship, job, neighborhood, etcetera. So relax back into the inescapable chaos and muddle of the one you have.
I have learned to create golden patterns in my chaotic life by filling gaps with 100 days challenges. This week, I have started another one - Focus on Fiction, where I am going to find my way to get back into fiction writing for the next three months.
It will impact my article writing, but that is something I need to accept. I will start from the bottom again, and my work's productivity and quality will suck, but I need to accept that too. I will wait for the unique pattern of work that will emerge at the end of this challenge which will determine what kind of writer I want to become as the year ends.
Here are the links to this week’s articles on Medium.
That’s it from me this week.
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