When I hear “progress, not perfection”, I understand the words intellectually. Yet, I disconnect from the concept when I evaluate what I have done, or not done, in Flying, decluttering, relationships, career, exercise, diet…everything. Did I make enough progress today? Could I have made more progress?
Flying has taught me that intellectually understanding perfection has nothing to do with emotionally releasing perfection. Perfection, is a measurement of how I expect to feel when certain things happen. When a future moment arrives. When his behavior changes. When she apologizes. When I finish all this work. When I am promoted. When the mortgage is paid. When this room is emptied of all this clutter. The perfection is always linked to the future’s promise of feeling pride, love, vindication, relief, financial stability, freedom.
The satisfaction of progress, when it’s aimed at perfection, is as hollow as perfection itself. I block the release of perfection by attaching perfection to my progress.
Flying asks me – why do I have to wait to be happy? Why am I not living fully, why, am I not finding contentedness in this moment? In what I have done? Where has my heart been, today? What am I waiting for to give me permission to love myself? Why does only the ending matter? What is my worth, today?
And in these questions, I am learning to change my definition of happiness. It’s not “way out there”. It’s not in what will or won’t happen. Real progress is not what I have accomplished on the way to future perfection. Real progress is what I’ve released, of perfection. Real progress is what I gave to my life today, from love, and what I’ve released of tomorrow, to God.
I thought that progress was the path to perfection. Flying, I have learned, progress is the path to release.