Practice Makes Peace with Imperfect

Okeeffe Country 8 min. finger painting.

O’Keeffe Country 8 min. finger painting.

When you do something over and over again – daily, weekly, monthly and the year, you tend to get pretty creative about the rules. Standards mean about as much as a cold bubble bath.

Perfectionism, at least my 2nd grade version of it was a pain when cranking out a painting in a New Mexico lightening/hailstorm, no electricity or matches. I was stubbornly determined to prove that no matter what I had claim on at least 30 minutes of my day to paint. In this case I remembered that I had purchased some matches that day in the bookstore because they had a cool etching on the cover.

I lit a candle, calmed the bunnies and finger painted what I remembered of an image of O’Keeffe country in a magazine. I posted by iPhone before midnight and slept peacefully. I didn’t really know what it looked like until the next day online. I remember working fast and feeling nervous. Electricity in the air, the unfamiliar earth trembling, my elderly rabbits freaked. It seemed a bit silly at the time to hold fast to such stubbornness. As I look back I feel a bit thrilled and romanced by the aliveness of the moment.

As I look back now on the project of painting daily as a whole, I realize practice gave me creative license to rewrite my relationship to perfectionism — to make peace with it by practicing awkwardness daily. Perfection, it turns out has a lot of room for redefinition.



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  • judith westerfield August 30, 2014  

    I lOVE the finger painting and your post.

  • niya christine August 30, 2014  

    Judith – thank you so much for posting this. Very nice to know. ; D

  • Deborah Gavrin Frangquist August 31, 2014  

    Niya, I love this post (and the picture). What a great description of the feelings of being stubborn about a healthy practice, no matter what. I’m sure even the bunnies were calmer because you were calm and focused.

    • niya christine August 31, 2014  

      Thank you so much Deborah. Always love your presence here. Yes, bunnies do respond that way. Animals in general I think. No matter what was the mantra. And it is infecting this year too. Thanks again!

  • Sherry Richert Belul September 1, 2014  

    Beautiful post. I have learned so much from your practice. And your freedom. 🙂

    • NIya September 1, 2014  

      I LOVE that you stopped by to leave a comment. Thank you. And YOU learn from me? Wow. ; D