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Pavel Somov, Ph.D.

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Life: Completely Incomplete

Posted: 10/22/09 03:43 AM ET

Everything that can exist - at any given moment - exists. Reality is entirely complete. It has no holes. Nothing, absolutely nothing is amiss. The discrepancies that we see are the differences between the ideal reality that we have dreamed up and the actual reality that has manifested at a given moment. Whether we like what we witness or not, whether it matches our definitions of perfection or not, it is what it is and it is continuously changing.

This is the mind-boggling perfection of reality: it is ever renewing, progressing from one state of completion to another, with or without us, with or without our consent or approval. This stubborn independence of reality rubs you the wrong way. It threatens your sense of control. You don't like this constant change (and resist it), you like status quo (and try to preserve it), and you struggle with constant succession of unfinished business (and seek closure). Your boss tells you to drop the project you've been working on for months - unfinished! - and to start a new one.

The car you just spent your Saturday morning cleaning and waxing is already covered with your kids' palm prints. Your MBA night class professor puts you on the spot with a think-off-the-cuff question that you cannot possibly know how to answer. Life's like a batting cage and each ball is a curveball. As you try to pause to analyze why you missed the previous one, the new curveball is already on a collision course with your forehead. You feel there just isn't enough time to be perfect all the time at everything. And just being good enough isn't good enough for you. So, you double-up your efforts, get up earlier, work longer, take care of yourself less often, doggedly trying to catch up with this incessant flow of reality, feeling that you are falling farther and farther behind your vision of how your life should be...

The challenge is to embrace this inevitable, unstoppable stream of life and to flow with it rather than try to swim against it. If reality is a story, it is narrated in its entirety and yet is never finished. It is completely incomplete, and so are you. This too is the ordinary perfection of what is! Change what you can. Accept the rest.

Pavel Somov, Ph.D. is the author of "Eating the Moment" (New Harbinger, 2008), "Present Perfect" (NH, 2010), and "The Lotus Effect" (NH, 2010). He is in private practice in Pittsburgh, PA. For more information visit www.eatingthemoment.com and sign up for Pavel Somov's monthly "Mindful-not-Mouthful" Newsletter