Monday, May 4, 2015

The Perfect Week

Last week I attempted an impossible feat. But I think it is important to attempt the impossible. I tried to have a completely perfect week. I didn't even have in mind exactly what that would entail. But I knew I wanted an excellent seven day period full of triumphs, new friendships, unforgettable moments, with only a modicum of folly. I wanted to minimize error while maximizing joy and efficacy. I scribbled down a handful of specific goals, and thought about my basic loop of things I need to accomplish. But then I started to think more abstractly. I thought about the experience of the week in lieu of a check-list of accomplishments. I decided the first step in achieving a perfect week was in realizing that it could be perfect. I had to change my thinking. Instead of dreading the idea of waking up and going to work, I looked forward to the moment the day could start, another fresh canvas begging to be painted. Adjusting my attitude didn't change facts. Work is work, and any problems I have in my life are not vanished from existence just because I look at things differently. But the experience is wonderfully better with a slight change in perspective.

Monday started out great. I got a large amount of things done, and managed to toss in some fun. Tuesday and Wednesday came and went with even more victory. I met some wonderful people, and found tiny moments of joy that I would not have even noticed had I not been in the search of a perfect week. For a perfect week, to me, was more than making no mistakes and dominating to-do lists, it was about observing and appreciating. A perfect week can be much easier than we think.

Thursday and Friday as one could expect brought a few moments of weakness, some tarnished edges to the painting I was creating. But I quickly jumped out of the gulch I had slipped into and decided that perfection was not about endless bliss and cloud-hopping, it was about learning, about growing, and about being better.

As the week came to a close I stepped back and looked at what I had. I stared into the canvas now rich with thick and vibrant colors. It wasn't perfect, but it was beautiful, and it was something I created.

The great expert of meditation Burgs speaks so eloquently on the subject of experiencing, and observing. For these are the things that really give us happiness and open our eyes to the greatness around us. He reminds us that,

"The invitation is not to show how inventive and imaginative you are, but how much you can notice what you're already part of. And appreciate it and share it, and care about those that are around you, look out for their welfare while looking out for your own. That's it. Then you'll come to the end having had an awesome time."

He goes on to explain how most of us came to earth and in the chaos of life we forgot what was most important, and started focusing only on ourselves and our own problems.

"When you came here, you came here with a sense of awe and wonder, dying to just see what it's all about. Like, 'What would it be like to be down there, to be a part of it.' And you came here with that sense of wonder, and somehow the wonder of it wasn't enough or you stopped wondering, and started wondering about yourself, and in your wondering about yourself you forgot what you came here for, what you came to be a part of."

I guess for me, the key to this "perfect week" is not in all that YOU accomplish, but it is in seeing things like you never did before, and experiencing each day as a gift. And I hope you can realize that a perfect week does not have to start on Monday, and it doesn't have to start when you wake up. It can start this instant. And maybe you just search for the perfect day first, and move forward from there. At any rate joy and goodness create momentum that can carry you much further than you realize. A "perfect" day can turn into this "perfect" week, which over time can become a "perfect" life.

I will end with one of my favorite quotes by Neil Gaiman. This is the sort of quote you read over and over as you start your New Year's Resolutions. It pertains to the future, but I think it can be broken down to weekly and daily increments as well,

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks your'e wonderful, and don't forget to make some art--write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can and I hope somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."