What happens in the spaces in between?

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A friend recently told me about this lovely poem:

I would love to live
Like a river flows
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.
— John O'Donohue

This got me thinking about how our rigid ‘black and white’ and ‘all or nothing’ thinking patterns can prevent us from living in this way.  In my Mentoring role I find myself supporting University students who set themselves incredibly high standards.  They feel if they do not get the highest possible grade then their work is no good at all.  Similarly many counselling clients are striving to be ‘perfect’, often to overcompensate for feeling unworthy or not good enough.  We often bind ourselves with these unrealistic expectations, leading to harsh judgement and self-criticism when we inevitably fail to meet them. 

So rather than focusing on the extremes, on the 0% and the 100%, it may be helpful to ask the question ‘What would the 50%, 60% look like?’.  Spending more time in this ‘good enough’ zone may help us to pay more attention to the unfolding’ of life, to the ‘spaces in between’.  And if we allow ourselves the freedom to ‘flow with the current’ rather than rather than hurtling towards an unachievable end result, we may discover increased acceptance for ourselves as imperfect beings. 

Caroline O'Keeffe