Permission to be Unfinished

If you’re reading this, and you care to read this, you’re someone who wants to look deeply at life. Who wants to live and show up as your true self more and more in your world. Who has an inkling that there’s more to you than the patterns that tend to surface in your day-to-day life. You’re curious about exploring your deeper self.

Actually, no, not just curious. It’s an imperative for you somehow. You feel drawn to that exploration as a deep calling.

I’ve been wanting to write to you for so long, to find you and connect with you. To walk this journey alongside you. To explore together, to learn together, to share with you the insights I’ve had, and to listen and learn from you in turn.

Because this journey is deep. Sacred. And sacred journeys deserve to be witnessed and seen, honored and celebrated. I want to celebrate with you, as our journeys unfold together. To marvel at the glimpses, or the huge uncoverings, of truth that you and I each discover along the way. To pause together and receive those moments that take our breath away in their beauty and simplicity and complexity, like a startlingly radiant flower on a trail, fresh, miraculous, fleeting, covered in dewdrops and surrounded by magic.

And yet, I haven’t written to you. I’ve been, at best, waiting, wanting, yearning. But more often, I’ve been avoiding, doubting, analyzing, judging, filtering away my bursts of spontaneous insight and my desire to share them with you, because I felt unfinished, unpresentable. And because I felt like what I had to offer wasn’t enough, somehow.

Every time I turn a new corner in my own personal journey, my first thought is something like, Wow. I’ve been holding on to this old limiting story for so long…since I was 25…20…15…10…5 years old…since I was born. (Or even, This story has operated across the storyline of my ancestors.) I experience an initial feeling of joy and relief, of being able to breathe anew. Of healing. Of peace. Even though I know that the story might, or most likely will, come up again in the future (heck, it has repeated itself so many times over decades), I find some new measure of peace with it, of acceptance, of perspective, of letting it be, and not letting it define me.

My very next thought is always, Hey, this discovery would be an awesome thing to share with someone, with anyone who cares about this sort of moment. I’d love to share this with someone. Someone would want to know about this!

But then an hour would pass, then a day, then a week…and I wouldn’t share. I’d start thinking, how could I possibly share this deep part of myself with everyone else? The problem with insights like this is that, on their face, they seem so…obvious. My initial excitement would be replaced by shame that I hadn’t discovered it sooner.

Or, knowing that this discovery was just the tip of some iceberg, I’d convince myself that my discovery wasn’t really worth telling until I’d uncovered a bigger chunk of what was underneath, over time. So I’d bide my time, waiting to discover something even bigger and more worthy of being presented to you.

The problem with all this waiting, I realize, is that I’ll be waiting for the rest of my life! Like walking down that hiking trail, the richness isn’t in reaching the end of the trail. The richness is in all those beautiful, startling, seemingly small but precious encounters with the truth of nature along the way.

And I also realize that, none of these writings I create will ever be a perfectly finished product–because I’m never going to be a perfectly finished product.

When I first wanted to start a blog, I signed up for multiple classes by blogging experts. Whether they intended to or not, the message I took away from these classes was that I needed to convince people that I had the answers to their deepest desires and fears. I had to define a clear problem of theirs that I was solving. I had to draw them in and feed into their sense of lack, of want, and offer something of value in return, put them through a sales funnel of sorts to draw them into the action I wanted them to take.

All of this felt…manipulative to me, and against some deep value I held that I couldn’t quite put my finger on at the time.

As my exploration of mindfulness and Buddhist teachings on acceptance and spaciousness have really landed deeply for me, I now get why these blogging experts’ perspectives turned me off and literally kept me shut down for so long from sharing this writing journey with you.

Because the fundamental “sales” approach relies on convincing you, convincing me, that being unfinished or incomplete is not okay.

Am I feeling less than confident or clear about how to structure my blog? I just need to buy this blogging course, and I’ll get that confidence and clarity I’ve been after.

And I was supposed to somehow structure my blog to say, Are you feeling less than happy or satisfied with how you’re showing up in your life? Then you need to read my blog, because I’ve got the answers for you right here.

There’s a certain, subtle violence in speaking to myself, and to you, this way, that I couldn’t reconcile. And it has taken me a long time–years–to get over the idea that THEIR way was the only way I could engage with you through this medium.

But today, I throw off all of this nonsense about needing to be “finished,” and instead choose to embrace and celebrate with you all the power that comes from being allowed to be unfinished.

Here’s an impromptu list of just a few great things about being OKAY with being unfinished that come to my mind right in this moment:

  1. If I’m unfinished, and that’s okay: then I get to start this writing journey with you before I know exactly how to do it the way I want to. I might come across as too preachy one day, too passive the next, and that’s okay. Writing becomes not a product I’m placing on the shelf, but a living, breathing practice that I can keep engaging with and learning from over time. And that feels way more exciting than trying to pump out perfect widgets of wisdom and insight for mass consumption.
  2. If you’re unfinished, and that’s okay: then I don’t have to try and fix your problems for you either. You can just show up as you are, you can hate what I’m saying one day, find it interesting the next–and that is great too. You can take what you want from all this, and leave what you don’t. I honor you more by trusting that you have the resources you need to guide your own journey.
  3. If I’m unfinished, and that’s okay: then I get to share insights with you that are still unfolding. Not only does this free me up from procrastinating until I’ve “figured it all out,” but it also lets me be more real with you. And hey, maybe it will even be a way for me to model being unfinished with you, and encourage you to feel more free to show up that way too.
  4. If we’re unfinished, and that’s okay: then we get to (I hope!) have real conversations with each other, where I get to learn from you, and you get to learn from me, and we get to wonder about the unknowns together, and gasp in awe together when one of us sees something clearly for the first time.

So I hereby give you, and me, permission to be unfinished, in process, imperfect…and not to have to do a damn thing about it that doesn’t feel true and wholesome and like it’s coming from a place of self-love and self-acceptance.

Take that, 2018!! 🙂

Love,

-Cindy

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