Progress Not Perfection

A little sweet slogan that comes to me from time to time, because of hearing it often for many years, is “progress, not perfection”.

You may have heard this at a 12 Step meeting….that’s where I first heard it about 25 years ago.

The other day I was making my way to the kitchen (hauling myself there with crutches). I paused, set my crutches against the counter in a corner so they wouldn’t slide and clatter to the ground. I leaned against the sink.

As I was drinking a glass of water, I stared out the window at the rain, heard the wind chimes clanging, gazed at dust on the half-opened wooden blinds.

Suddenly that saying was floating through my mind and I considered “progress” and then “not perfection”.

Progress? Does that mean I must always will myself to move forward, strive, build, gain, gather, improve?

I LOVE progress, want progress, crave progress.

As long as I’m using my will to get to perfection!

Now… that moment…..the awareness that will wasn’t necessary at all. I felt thirst. It (me) got up.

In that situation, staring out the window, drinking water, hearing the bells of wind blowing chimes….

…I could also see some part of me with the thought “About those crutches…..this is not enough, I want to walk with both legs” like it was perched there up on a ledge, available if I grabbed it.

These kinds of thoughts enter the mind off and on all day, that there might be something better, some progression….some improvement happening just around the corner. 

Great time for the work.

This situation is too slow, quiet, non-progressive….I am not making fast enough progress. 

Not only with walking, but with my business, my writing, my success, my adventures.

Is that true?


Such a big world! So little time!

Are you absolutely sure? You’re not progressing? Like even with awareness, enlightenment, satori?

But! If I don’t “work” on myself I won’t…..make progress! Towards perfection!

How do you react when you believe the thought that you are on a journey, and this particular spot here, now, is not THERE there?

The way I react is I press on. Determination. Try everything. Flip over to the other side and give up. Flop back again.

I “work” on myself. I take work-shops. I seek.

And who would you be without the belief that you gotta get that “x” handled to make progress? Without the belief that you need improvement?


Lighter though. Kind of like putting down a heavy rock.

“We don’t need the power to carry out God’s will. What we need is the humility to see that we already are God’s will, that we’re sitting right in the middle of that will, that what’s going on is that will, and that there is not, in fact, anything other than that will.” ~ Fred Davis in Beyond Recovery 

Oh! Wow!

I stand still, stare out the window, have the use of only one leg, and again….a flash….there is not a huge feeling of resistance.

There is not a terrible problem.

The turnaround is alive!

And I notice, there is always progress, even if I don’t know in my mind to what end, there is change, things get damaged, then repaired, then born, then die, then built, then fall down, then it’s very still, then it’s very busy, then….

I see that I don’t have to do anything (I actually can’t) about my injury, my healing.

I have the thought to go swimming and it delights me and my mother takes me to the pool.

Every day something tiny changes in my leg. I am not doing that.

Every day I move a little more, have less pain, or practice relaxing with what is here.

I am not in control. I am not running this reality.

“Rushing into action, you fail. Trying to grasp things, you lose them. Forcing a project to completion, you ruin what was almost ripe. Therefore the Master takes action, by letting things take their course.” ~ Tao Te Ching #64

With much love,

P.S. Eating Peace starts next Wednesday 9-10:30 am. All are welcome who feel confused, upset, stressed, despairing about their relationship to food.



2 Replies to “Progress Not Perfection”

  1. Well said Grace. I’m so happy you visited this concept of needing to progress this morning. Living with a body that is unwell alot of the time (and well alot of the time) allows me to feel these feelings and have these types of thoughts often as well. The resistance to accept what is is strong in me during these times. Yet so is the opportunity, a you bring out, to let God’s will be done, and how sweet is that. Yes, my mind thinks I should be more productive and be making money and be ‘provressing’ more… yet,here I am, my body doing what it is doing.

    When I sink into allowing my body grace, I feel peace, understanding, and a simpleness of being. I see how I am supported and how much is coming to me and what I can contribute and do. I feel thanksgiving and humility.

    Thanks for this piece today. I understand.
    Your work is so amazing to me Grace, your contributions huge.
    love you,

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