I am no longer the perfectionist I once was. Occasionally, I still notice when a picture frame is not sitting at the exact angle that I had placed it on a shelf. But, thankfully, I no longer have insomnia when the dining room table is covered with mail and miscellaneous papers. Still, one of my favorite quotes is by Antoine de Saint-Exupery:
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
To a certain extent, I use this philosophy to simplify my life. I eliminate that which seems unnecessary. I frequently de-clutter objects from my home, as well as relationships from my life. I am not always tactful with this process. I’ve been known to sell gifts at garage sales days after receiving them. And let’s just say I am not good at keeping in touch.
I am certainly not advocating perfectionism – or my method of occasionally cutting people out of my life. But a recent blog post on the Sparkle Stories website made me feel slightly less guilty about my behavior.
“To make something strong, something authentic, something vital – we must actively let go of what is not thriving, serving or is relevant. Perhaps there was a day when a branch, a mental dynamic, a narrative twist or a relationship was important. It offered just the right thing at the right time. And then, some time later when growth has taken place and the unexpected becomes part of the story, that same branch is now in the way. Well, you have a choice.
You can keep the branch and work around it. This is not a bad thing – but it may not be the one that yield the most fruit. And, lets be honest, sometimes it can threaten the whole tree.”
The Sparkle Stories post, titled “Pruning: Apricots, Neural Pathways and Stories,” manages to link three of my biggest interests: children, gardening and writing. From the media choices that children are exposed to, to the health and abundance of a garden, even when communicating, pruning is essential. Removing extraneous details often strengthens what remains.