Thoughts on perfectionism.

I shared the following story in class this week, dedicated to all the perfectionists we have amongst us.

A monk was tendering the garden making it perfect. Japanese gardens are always just so. They have perfectly raked sand and pots in just the right spot. When the master arrived the monk said that he had tried to make it perfect but something just wasn’t right. The master looked down at the pile of leaves the monk had swept up. He picked up the leaves and threw them over the garden, smiled and walked away.

Ben, a student at the London school, emailed me afterwards with these thoughts. I thought it was so lovely I wanted to share it. (Permission was given for me to use this quote)

(The Lecture) reminds me of a thought I had on that, that stems from Ki seminars and other comments you've made about the illusion of permanence. That striving for a state of perfection is like holding ice in your hands. No state is fixed forever. Ice melts to water, just as leaves and flowers in a garden grow then fall to the ground, only to grow and fall again. Such is the cycle of life. Each of us and everything is here today and gone tomorrow. An appreciation of impermanence can free us to see things as they are. We remove the lens and reveal the truth. Which is all great in theory! But a better aim to strive for at least.

About Master Tammy Parlour

Head instructor at Chang's Hapkido Academy UK, a London martial arts school.
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