The title to this post is part of a longer quote by Marion Woodman as a speaker at a psychotherapy conference at Kripalu Yoga Center. Her full quote is “As long as we try to transcend ourselves, reach for the sky, pull away from the ground into the spirit, we are heroes carved in stone. We stand atop a pillar alone, blind to the pigeon’s droppings. Don’t try to transform yourself. Move into yourself. Move into your human unsuccess. Perfection rapes the soul.” There is a lot of insight in those few words that I think needs to be explored and if followed, can help people in profound ways.
Let’s look at the first sentence. “As long as we try to transcend ourselves…” The key word there is “try”. That’s all we can ask of ourselves and each other, just try, give it your best. And what should we be trying? To “…transcend ourselves, reach for the sky, pull away from the ground and into spirit…” We should always strive to better ourselves, to transcend ourselves. “Don’t try to transform yourself.” We should never try to transform ourselves into something we are not. But, by constantly making small, incremental improvements, we can rise above who we were yesterday. That is transcendence. Be someone that others look up to, and someone who you can be proud of. “As long as we try…we are heroes carved in stone.” That’s right. We don’t have to pass trials like Hercules, or survive an epic, death-defying journey like Odysseus, or save someone from a burning building to be a hero. All you have to do is try to transcend who you were yesterday today. That is someone I would be proud to call a friend.
“We stand alone atop the pillar of stone, blind to the pigeons droppings.” That’s right, the only one who can improve you, is you. Sure, others can support you and inspire you. But they can’t do anything for your soul. And the naysayers, the haters, anyone who would stand in your way are just pigeons leaving droppings on your head. But you know what? Droppings wash off, they are not permanent and they mean nothing. The only words you should heed are those of honourable people. And someone with honour will never naysay, never hate. Their words will never be akin to bird waste. Who you associate with is your choice. You don’t need everyone to like you, and you don’t need to please everyone. As long as you are honourable, and stay true to yourself, you should never apologize for who you are. And if someone demands that of you, you don’t need to acquaint yourself with them. Who you choose to associate with says a lot about who you are. Sure, they say opposites attract, but more oft than naught, like brings about like. Sure, you can’t necessarily choose who you work with, or who joins the same club as you, but you have the power to direct where your relationships go. So, will you choose to acsociate with pigeons who leave droppings everywhere they go? Or will you choose to acsociate with honourable people, heroes they never wrote an epic song about?
“Don’t try to transform yourself. Move into yourself. Move into your human unsuccess.” We are not caterpillars. We can’t wrap up in a cacoon and turn into a butterfly in a few months. We are human. It takes time to make those kinds of changes. So, instead of marveling at all these caterpillar to butterfly stories that you see and wondering why that’s not you, remember, it took small incremental improvements one day at a time for them as well. Remember, they weren’t really a caterpillar. They walk on two legs just like you, and all they did was put on foot in front of the other. They just were very decisive about the direction they walked. They chose to end the stagnation that many fall into and to walk into a better tomorrow. Its not really that hard to be better than you were yesterday, that’s what our bodies evolved for. Our bodies take stimulus and will build itself up based upon what is pushed through. Whether that’s a few more pushups, or running a few more steps, or reading something that makes you think, your body will respond and wake up stronger, better and smarter tomorrow. Just don’t expect to look into the mirror and see a butterfly. Accept your innate humanness. Accept yourself. Embrace yourself. You have to live with yourself. That you can’t choose. So choose to be someone you are proud to call a friend, and take one more step in the right direction today.
“Perfection rapes the soul.” That’s a very weighted statement. Let’s think about that because on the surface it seems counterintuitive. Well we know perfection is impossible, there is always room for improvement. So if there is no such thing as perfection, how can it rape anything? The answer is actually very simple. It’s the belief in perfection. If you believe you are perfect, you stagnate and stop moving forward. That’s when you start to rot from the inside out. Many times professional athletes will hit the top and drop right off. They stopped trying to improve. Everyone below them knew what they had to beat, and they kept walking towards that goal. But every now and then, we see someone who redefines greatness. They reach the top and they stay there, sometimes completely redefining their sport. That’s because they kept working, adapting, and improving. As soon as someone becomes as good as the best was, the best is now better and still the best. Don’t necessarily strive to be the GOAT of your area, just be better than you were yesterday. If you do that, you are already better than the masses. Besides, unless you are a professional athlete, does your ranking really matter? NO! Leave the stick measuring to those who get paid to do it, and make today’s you better than yesterdays you. Don’t stagnate and let the rot set it, do something to better yourself today.
Categories: Andrew Massoneau