Total acceptance of yourself can be tough. While I was doing the Penninghame Process there was this moment when I felt like a total grubby disgusting piece of shit (as you do). Actually, let’s be very honest here, when I say ‘grubby’ I mean I actually felt like a grub – no offense to grubs (isn’t that a great word?) but still…I hated myself; I felt total utter disgust at myself. It felt like my body were turned inside out and my guts were flopping around on the outside. It felt like my brain had been opened up and dirty effluent were seeping out, creating a vile stench.
And Ray, one of the course leaders read this out to me:
A Morning Meditation
“There is a middle point in your life that you have to appreciate.
It is called ALSO.
You can feel that you are the greatest arsehole in the world
And when somebody says that ALSO you are very beautiful
You have to accept that too.
ALSO lets you slide between being beautiful and being ugly.
If you learn to appreciate ALSO, it is like an insurance program for being enlightened.
People tend to forget about ALSO.
They think it is either one or the other.
No. It is ALSO always, whatever it is that is coming.
You are ugly-you are beautiful. You are confused and fucked up.
You don’t know what you are, ALSO
You are ALSO sometimes turned on
Or absolutely a fucking drag to be with, ALSO
ALSO sometimes you are just floating
It is beautiful and there is nothing to say.
Never ever exclude anything. Everything is always ALSO
Because if you exclude anything, you are a poor human being
You don’t allow
ALSO, ALSO, ALSO that’s who you are.
We only have this much time to live.
Within that time include everything:
I fucked it up. ALSO
I felt great, ALSO
I had the greatest orgasm. ALSO
I blew it, ALSO.
When you allow that, it is beautiful.
I am beautiful because I allow the ALSOs in me.
I am beautiful because I accept my ugliness
And I accept fucking it up, I accept feeling guilty
And I accept wishing I could do it better.
That means I accept who I am.
If you ever come in a situation when you don’t accept ALSO,
That is an ALSO
I like that. After all, who can be perfect, gorgeous, bright, up, sensational all the time? We all have times when we’re crappy or grubby or boring or, yes, a fucking drag. That’s life. And yes, sometimes the people I love the most can be right royal pains in the arse. Does that mean I love them less? Nah. Often it means I love them more, for their imperfection, their beautiful imperfection.
And, as I was pondering this, I was idling scrolling through Pinterest, as I do when I have a rare moment in which I’m not frantically scribbling and chasing my tail. And I came across this, from the author Libba Bray:
“In each of us lie good and bad, light and dark, art and pain, choice and regret, cruelty and sacrifice. We’re each of us our own chiaroscuro, our own bit of illusion fighting to emerge into something solid, something real. We’ve got to forgive ourselves that. I must remember to forgive myself. Because there is a lot of grey to work with. No one can live in the light all the time.”
And then this from poet and writer Dejan Stojanović:
“There is something perfect to be found in the imperfect: the law keeps balance through the juxtaposition of beauty, which gains perfection through nurtured imperfection.”
And then this, from a long-time favourite of mine, the Jungian analyst James Hollis:
“Bestow love on the unloveable parts of you. Accept that fact that we all are flawed, which does not mean that we are not worthy of love, of respect, and of the power to redo our lives.”
Three’s the key, so I left it there. So, today, let’s just love ourselves and each other in our beautiful, fucked up, messy imperfection, eh?