Life is Perfect

Life is perfect. Everything is exactly as it should be. You just don’t know why… yet.
Last month, I mused on the perils of perfection and urged readers to focus instead on progress. This month I have a few things to say about how life is perfect, exactly the way it is. Especially in early recovery. Recovery from an addiction or self-defeating behaviour can bring you face to face with challenges and surprises that aren’t what you had wished for. Your life feels out of control and far from perfect. Successful recovery can depend upon shifting your attitude to the opposite of what it was while in active addiction. This often means accepting that everything is perfect, exactly the way it is. It’s perfect because it presents you with opportunities to learn and grow. It’s perfect because it sets the stage for something better. That something is a life in recovery, once day at a time.

let go of what you think you knowPeople new to recovery are often stunned to hear others express gratitude for their addictions. Longer-term recovery brings with it a perspective based in gratitude and acceptance. Gratitude that their recovery has been possible. Acceptance that the many gifts of recovery were only realized as a result of experiencing an addiction.Can you take a step back from the daily, sometimes hourly challenges of early recovery and imagine that everything will turn out for the best?

Hindsight often shows us that what we wished for was not nearly as good as what eventually transpired. This translates to everything happens for a reason.

Or, put another way, we make plans and the universe laughs.

best dayThink of something in your life that isn’t the way you want it to be, that doesn’t fit with your idea of how your life should be. Now, consider how this something might actually be perfect. What is it teaching you? What lessons are you learning, perhaps for the first time or perhaps again (and again and again)? If the answers aren’t clear right away, give your self some time to percolate the questions. Breathe into them, live into them and see what happens.

What screws us up the most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.

perfect tiltWhile you may be tempted to see addiction as a terrible thing, it has brought gifts. For some people, the addiction may be what actually kept them alive for a period in their lives… allowed them to numb their pain in order to survive. Moving out of addiction and into recovery is by its very definition a life-transforming experience. Recovery brings gifts for many years to come, gifts that cannot be anticipated or imagined. Examples include healed relationships, restored health, clarity in perspective and purpose. What are the gifts in your recovery?

everything I needThe next time you feel yourself struggling, see if you can ask yourself the question, how is everything perfect in this moment, right now? This reflection can help you to stay in the present – a much safer neighbourhood than the past or the future. It can help you to move away from how things should be toward acceptance of how things are.

Acceptance is a much more peaceful and effective foundation for Life.

In fact, acceptance is perfect.

To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.
Walt Whitman


Pema Chodron is a wonderful resource for many reasons. She often writes about acceptance of life just as it is; about seeing the perfection in the present moment. I recommend pretty much anything by her. You might start with When Things Fall Apart.

If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher. Pema Chodron


Imagine that it is ten years from now. Looking back, how will you know that Life at this moment in your recovery was actually perfect?