Humble Pie

“O Lord, it’s hard to be humble/When you’re perfect in every way…”

This old country song by Mac Davis has been running through my head lately as I have recently experienced a newfound humility borne out of an old way way of behaving.

The word “humility” is often confused with the word “humiliation” and yet they are not the same. When I am humiliated I feel bad or ashamed about myself. When I am truly humble I am teachable, right-sized and grateful.

When I am trying to be perfect “in every way” I am hardly in a teachable frame of mind. What can I learn when I already know everything? I am not the right size for my skin because I am ten-feet tall and bullet proof. And how can I be thankful when I am judging everybody else for not being as perfect as I am?

I often say I am a recovering perfectionist. Perfectionism is its own form of addiction. I am consumed by the need to be right and I will go to any lengths to sustain the illusion that I have the power to control others and outcomes. Like many addictions perfectionism is coming from a deeply wounded place. I’m not a perfectionist because I’m an exceptional person I’m a perfectionist because I am a broken person.

Last week, after trying to win my way through a discussion and coming up against brick wall after brick wall I was finally confronted with my own self-righteousness. It was not a pleasant feeling. The worst part about it was that I thought I was being very spiritual the whole time I was engaged in the battle! That sounds frighteningly similar to the terrorist who attacks others in the name of God. (I’m being hard on myself. And yet if we are not examining our inner assassins we are hardly in a position to condemn the “real” ones. I feel another post coming on…)

After it became clear that I had been acting like a hypocrite I had no other recourse but to admit I was wrong and make amends. The response from the other side was silence. No more fighting. The interior response was peace. I am dumbstruck by the complete paradox of this simple formula: We diffuse the bomb through surrender. (Would this work as a tactic at the political level? Declaring peace? There’s that other post again…)

As the shame from my humiliation gradually transformed into humility I began to see a wider view. I remembered that my self-centered behaviour is not actually who I am. It is merely the action that comes forth from my woundedness. I reconnected to the unbroken, untouched Sacred Centre that is the True Core of Who I Am and what do you think emerged? Gratitude.

Inspiring Message of the Day: Accepting my imperfection is an ongoing process. I will give thanks for my humanness, which allows my Whole Self to continually emerge.

Bonus Points

Dearest Readers,

Today’s post is a shout-out to the Universe, specifically the God of In-flight Services.

Very recently, after traveling for two months, two full months of adventures and misadventures, challenges and mishaps, personal victories and physical pain, spiritual revelations and selfless service, walking through fear and cultivating courage, acting “as if”, faking it ’til I made it, surrendering Old BS, loving unconditionally, responding with compassion and generally putting myself out there in every and all possible ways in order to grow and stretch my limitations, I was given a First-Class Gift.

For some unknown reason, the woman at the check-in counter assigned me to a seat in Business Class on the flight from Montreal to Vancouver. So unexpected was the surpriseĀ I walked right passed the seat she gave me when I got on the plane. I had to wait to get back to it, tucking myself out of the way as people streamed on board the plane.

The most amazing part about this story is this: that morning, I had planned to make myself a meal for the flight but my mother had tossed out the food with which I was going to make it. (I blogged about it.)

I was incredibly angry. I could have blasted her with a tirade about her control issues all the while ignoring my own. A few short years ago, I would have. But I didn’t. I let it go. It was not easy. But I said a little prayer, surrendered and trusted the fact that there would be food to be found elsewhere. I would be taken care of.

And was I! First Class, folks. Mixed green salad with tomato and bocconcini, baked salmon with lemon ginger sauce, vegetables and rice. Ice cream and cookies for dessert. (I don’t even eat dessert but you get the idea.)

It was hard to believe. I kept thinking someone was going to come and say, “We made a mistake. Get outa here.” But no one did. And I slept soundly in the big, comfy, spacious seat, full of wonder and appreciation.

So a BIG shout-out to the One Who Gives Us Gifts. Thanks for the abundance, the luxury, the beautiful ending to an astonishing voyage.

Inspiring Message of the Day: When I receive an Unexpected Gift I will remember to give thanks.