I have a series of frames in my bathroom. One holds a picture of a glass half-full, a cover from the New Yorker on my mother's birthday the year after she died. Most of the rest of the frames are empty, or hold the "For Display Only" shots of nameless brides and sunlit couples and price tags, not because I am lonely and friendless, but because I was always waiting to find the perfect item to place within them.
Similarly, I had long been in possession of a striking, horizontal frame filled with black-and-white shots of attractive people from the 1940's and 1950's. For at least six years, it has stood propped up against various walls. I almost consigned it to the Goodwill pile a few times but something stopped me: mainly the fact that I am a congenital pack rat, but also the charm of this frame, which I just knew would look perfect when it finally displayed the exact perfect black-and-white shots of my own attractive family members from the 1940's and 1950's.
Then two weeks ago, crisis struck in the form of a video shoot at my apartment. My office area, one of the "locations", was looking very dingy and cluttered and needed some set dressing triage, stat. I cleared a few postcards off of the wall and, on a whim, laid them out on the frame. Not bad, they were sweet, childlike illustrations of animals and worked together thematically. But there were two spaces left.
Over and over in my life, it seems that the right thing will fall in my lap when I least expect it, but only when I am ready for it. Sometimes my guard is down or my spirits are high (same thing, really) and I let that sucker waltz right in; sometimes I have an agenda and the thing couldn't penetrate my well-intentioned defenses with a battering ram.
On this particular day, I was preoccupied enough with my task to get out of my own way. And as my eyes swept the imperfect wall, they lit upon my beautiful calendar by Nikki McClure. I remembered that I'd saved an old one, loving her perfectly imperfect woodcuts too much to dispose of it along with the year (and, yes, being a pack rat).
Sure enough, there were two months with animal scenes which, with a little (gasp) hacking away at their structural integrity, would fit...perfectly.
I've been enjoying the feeling of flow more and more in my life, so much so that I now look both for ways that I might be stopping it and ways of letting more of it in. For me, a huge part of getting with the program is patience, and learning to live in process. But I'm realizing now that a perhaps huger part is letting go of some ideal of perfection. Because some really great things can happen when I'm not busy steering my boat towards the mist-enshrouded, golden shores of the Isle of Perfection. And when I let things just "happen", they tend to unfold in a way that I'd describe as...