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In search of the perfect Christmas tree.

How do you see perfection? The perfect Christmas. The perfect tree. The perfect life. Many times, particularly at this time of year we get wrapped up in the mentality of perfection. We want everything to be just right. Because we just want everyone to be happy. Ironic, isn't it?

Recently I had the opportunity to travel to the Philippines. Manila to be exact. Eschewing recurrent advice, I didn't stay in the hip part of town. Rather I spent my time soaking up local life, eating local food, wandering through local street markets and back streets, and travelling round the city in one brightly coloured jeepney after the other. I almost couldn't get enough of the jeepneys! But what I saw each day as I walked through different neighbourhoods touched me very deeply. Very very deeply. Things I knew about, had read about, had seen pictures and films about, I was now seeing for myself with my very own eyes. And all five senses too. I may not fully realise it yet but it may very well prove to be life changing. It would be very easy to write here about the radical difference between rich and poor. And ask how the two can live in such close proximation. But I would like to talk about something much much deeper. Something I am still fathoming out in my mind. Something that can apply to any city anywhere in the world.

And it revolves around balance.

I see life as a circle, where key elements are needed to keep everything spinning in perfect harmony. Remove one of those elements and things start to fall out of sync. Remove several and the system starts to collapse.

Too often in the pursuit of perfection, we follow a process of elimination. If something is not perfect, we eliminate it. If something can't keep up, we kick it out. Pests are to be avoided, intruders are to be feared.

Anything which might tarnish our perfect little circle.

My question lies on the opposite end of the spectrum.

  • What if, instead of following a mentality of exclusion and elimination, we started to embrace and include what is rejected?

  • What if instead of seeing our weaknesses as a source of shame and something to hide, we turned them into our strong points and reason to move forward?

  • Instead of trash just building up as trash, what if we actually turned it into something of value, and instead of it lying round attracting vermin, it becomes a source of lucrative income?

How would the cycle change? How quickly could balance be restored? How many more could feel a sense of value and pride, as cherished members of society?

Which brings us back to perfect.

How do we define perfect? How do you define perfect?

Every hair lined up and in place? Or a thriving circle of diverse harmony, one supporting another, the good and the bad side by side, each serving towards the other?

This year I spent many weeks looking for the perfect Christmas tree. After many videos and even more pictures, I found it in the back streets of Manila, in one of the poorest areas I came across. Made by the community, for the community, you could see the work and pride of many hands. Even Santa gave it a thumbs up. So do I. It was perfect. My type of perfect. Wishing each and everyone of you an equally perfect Christmas! Love you all and thinking of each of you wherever you may be xxx


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