My grandmother had hundreds of salt and pepper shakers; hippos, chickens, dutch-girls and boys, cows, windmills. I once asked her, “why do you love these?” and she said, “People just kept giving them to me!”
The same thing is true of my card collection. What started with art cards/ and airline playing card decks, has now mushroomed with the gifts and tokens of friends, students, clients. Often I get a deck that I wouldn’t get for myself or wouldn’t pick on my own – over the next few weeks we’ll look at some of those!
Such is the deck gently illustrated by Sulamith Wulfing for this week’s card – evoking Gustav Klimt, the painting features a couple in an embrace:
on the reverse it says:
Love is perfect, even when you are not
What seems to be a cornball sentiment about the perfection of love on the surface, might just be too good a bit of advice to ignore this week! I constantly see evidence that we’re just about constantly trying to “perfect” ourselves for love, operating under some delusion that if we were just handsomer, thinner, smarter, cooler, more dynamic or had a better stock portfolio, that more “love” would be on the way. This feeling is not just for the naïve either. In one week I witnessed two successful, smart, professional women turn back the hands of time to their insecure teenager years as they sprouted anxiety wings in an effort to run all over town finding the right costume for a party or some way to be more impressive to the object of their affection. I know men who waffle on progressing their interpersonal relationships because they just haven’t slain enough dragons or built enough empires yet and feel worthless.
Those neurotic manifestations of the false belief about being “perfect” for love involving shoes or nose jobs are the easy ones to spot. Harder to see within, are all those times we decide that we’re too clingy, too upset, to fearful or too “Broken” to join the relationship we’re in (or could have).
How many times have you pulled away from relationship because you were on a mission to “fix” something about yourself? I need to read more self-help books, I need to take a seminar. I need to heal all these deep-seated intrinsic issues I have about trust and intimacy… THEN, and only then, when I somehow unlock that magical secret to solve my issues, love will walk into my life bearing a freshly baked cherry pie.
Perhaps you’re knee deep in a relationship conflict with someone and you feel that if only things were “perfect” in some way (if we had more conversations, if we could get over our issues, if we could commit to each other, if we could spend more time walking the dog) that love would find its way back in.
The trouble is, relationships are not meant to be approached only from a state of zen-like purity and spiritual equipoise. You are not perfect!! You never will be perfect. That is a fact. Likewise, your partner will never be perfect…. (and on certain Saturday afternoons, jumping up on and down on your last nerve, they won’t even come close). That means that relationships and the perfect love that is found within and from opening your heart to understand, love and embrace other human beings, are NOT the province of “PERFECT” but of flawed human-beings.
The entire adventure of life and purpose of JOINING others is to make a fabulous stew of all the flaws and issues that you have and learn to communicate with your partners to understand yourselves and to grow, change, learn and create new patterns. If everyone waited until they were “perfect” to join, the planet would shrink and die due to population collapse …. because if we take an honest account of our emotional warts; we all have ‘em!
Have you heard this one? “My life is complicated and my family is a mess… I feel guilty for bringing someone into that.” or how about, “I just don’t feel good enough about MYSELF yet.” — I could go on and on, writing this post for days. In short? Knock it off. Be IMPERFECT this week. Realise that you don’t have to be WITHOUT FEAR to join a relationship or be open to love. Your socks don’t have to match, your nose doesn’t have to turn up at the end, your outfit doesn’t have to be “cool” …. none of that matters. Without your open heart, without connecting to yourself (or others) none of the cool so-called “perfect” stuff even matters! If you wait until your relationship is “perfect” to commit to your partner, you may sadly find yourself at the end of some road looking back, wishing you had one more night of snoring from your hubby, or just one more day of hearing your mom quibble about food. Life is short. We don’t have time for this nonsense.
Love itself is perfect and you, because you contain love, are too (even with your many flaws). LOVE ITSELF asks nothing, forgives everything, understands it all, and thinks that everything is perfectly as it should be.
Remember this quote by John Wayne:
Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.
About this deck: This week’s card is from the LOVER’S ORACLE, published by Bluestar Communications. Artist SULAMITH WULFING, as student of Jiddu Krishnamurti, had an intense and semi-tragic life. She fled with her family from the Nazis in WWII, and went on to become an influential artist painting gentle, luminous paintings that are featured in this small deck of 40 cards. The backs have old chestnuts of wisdom on them, while corny, nevertheless are often true. They are like little tiny hallmark “inspirational” cards. It’s not my usual cup of tea, but it’s a very sweet deck – something grandma might have had on her table to look at and admire alongside her salt and pepper collection.