Adequate Zen

Atelophobia: fear of imperfection

I decided this morning that I’m adequate. It’s not a bad place, not the horrible demeaning position of “less than others” that I thought it was, not at all. Adequate is meeting life in the middle, it means I have this much energy, this much to give right now, and that’s it. I’m adequate. I’m OK.

Where did I ever come up with the idea that I had to more than I am? Isn’t that odd? Despite the fact that in this minute, I am all I can ever be. Of course the “I” is a convenient story isn’t it? The “I” that decides it’s not enough doesn’t realize it’s telling itself a story. A story of not enough. A story of becoming. But when the story fades, and I stand naked to the universe, I find I’m enough, it’s my default position. Adequacy.

I believe I am the stories I tell myself. (A cycle that’s insanely hard to diminish, the “I” driving the “I” to believe it’s own tales.) I must do this, I must do that, I must have my and others approval, I must meet a conditioned standard that is never the same one from one minute to the next.

Then later that day, when the “I” is now another variation with different emotions, feelings, and streaming thoughts, I can very well believe an entirely different story, one that says I am enough, and life is good, and I’m OK. (A strange process of human life, that when seen directly and clearly, is very disconcerting. Each variation of “I” believing it’s the only one, and completely ignoring that “I keep changing perspectives” over and over, winging my way from one end of a continuum to another. And acting as though it’s somehow “normal.” The “I” is insanely happy and insanely upset, and can be either within seconds. It reminds me I’m not controlling the rising emotional states.)

But whether I’m driving myself crazy trying to meet my expectations, or feel like the greatest failure, I am always adequate to the next task, the next exchange, the very next breath.

Zen is weird. But explains a lot in it’s weirdness. There is a saying, “The freedom of not bending the elbow backwards.” The things I am not, also define my freedom. But we are conditioned to be happy when we add something to our lives, get better, be seen and acknowledged. We never learned to find the joy of just existing. The joy of “just this.”

It’s another way of saying there is enormous freedom in embracing being adequate, surviving, getting through the next minute, attending to the mundane, not being able.

So today I will march proudly through life being totally adequate. Not special. Bravely meeting those absurd expectations directly and saying, “That’s all right, I’ve decided to be adequate and just enough today, perhaps tomorrow, or later today, I can go back to trying to be more than I am today.

Or not. Perhaps I’ll embrace adequacy. Perhaps I’ll be acceptable to myself for while.

Today we are enough, just as we are, we always were, and now we know.

Bryan Wagner

(If you find this useful please share it with others. ❤️)

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