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Wholeness is The Goal Not Perfection

Parker Palmer’s words:

“Wholeness is the goal, but wholeness does not mean perfection. It means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life.”

This week’s On Being guest, physician and storyteller Rachel Naomi Remen, is another healthy critic of our perfectionist culture, which she calls “a major addiction of our time.” I was so struck by the way she articulated how we all relate to wholeness. She writes:

“Wholeness is never lost, it is only forgotten.”

What a wise way to frame wholeness — not as an achievement, but rather as the reality of being present to who we are, in its entirety, at this very moment. If only that were easy! As Parker writes:

“There are no shortcuts to wholeness. The only way to become whole is to put our arms lovingly around everything we’ve shown ourselves to be: self-serving and generous, spiteful and compassionate, cowardly and courageous, treacherous and trustworthy. We must be able to say to ourselves and to the world at large, ‘I am all of the above.’”

[Read more at On Being]


Rachel Naomi Remen RACHEL NAOMI REMEN is founder of the Remen Institute for the Study of Health and Illness (RISHI), clinical professor of family medicine at UCSF School of Medicine, and professor of family medicine at the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State

Rachel Naomi Remen

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