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Perfection or Acceptance

On Christmas Day, one of my son’s friends gave me two beautiful candles, nontoxic coconut wax, with a very delicate, almost imperceptible natural scent.


I have found that I have a tendency to be what we call “a perfectionist”. During Elementary School and Junior High School, I couldn’t stand having a grade that was not perfect, and I very rarely had one. Like all of us, I guess, I have gone through different events in which attaining perfection is not the task, but the acceptance of things being imperfect, beginning with accepting myself as I am.


I lit the first coconut oil candle and placed it on my altar, lighting it before my personal practice, blowing it out at the end.


After some time, of course, the wax was no more, which was fine (I have been growing!). With a lot of care, I slowly removed the rest of this warm, soft, oily wax with my fingers. A delicate, easy and agreeable endeavor.


The moment I felt I was attaining perfection, cleaning the glass so that I could use it in the future, it slipped swiftly from my hands, hit the table with an intense sound, then fell to the floor. To my surprise, it was not broken.


What took me a couple more seconds to realize is that the other candle, the new one that I had never lit, perfect and untouched, was on the table right underneath the one that fell. That one … yes … it was broken.


I remember yelling a word that I will not write here, my world falling apart very very quickly - something like when Alice in Wonderland falls into that deep deep hole.


Very very quickly, deep deep hole (My computer tells me that it is incorrect to write “very” twice, and “deep” twice, I guess it may have a little bit of a problem, just like me, when things are not the way they should be.)


All of that happened very fast. A split second after I yelled, Leonard Cohen’s words arrived with force, like a projectile, into my mind, slamming my face and at the same time opening a big smile in it:


Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything) That's how the light gets in



Watch Leonard Cohen singing "Anthem" clicking here




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 Belmont, California. U.S.A. 
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© 2020 by susanaprana Susana Laborde-Blaj 

Photography & design Susana Laborde-Blaj