Monday, July 27, 2009

Good Enough

At one point during this past weekend's consensus decision making workshop, one of the participants expressed concern about some deficiency or other. Our workshop leader pointed out our time limitations and said that, under the circumstances, things were good enough.

The concept of "good enough" was one of my take-aways from the workshop. It was a term I had heard before, but this time I got it at a new level.

The single incident that illustrated it to me most powerfully was our attempt to assist a blind man who participated in the meetings of our host community. A volunteer from our group sat next to him and reported to him what was happening. The idea was to help him as much as possible to access the information that was available to everyone else from non-verbal sources.

In chatting with the volunteer afterwards, the blind man expressed appreciation for her assistance. He described to her how isolated he felt and how, even with her help, there still had been some pieces of the meeting that had been missing for him.

When I heard the volunteer's feedback, I felt sad. Although I hadn't consciously put it into words, there must have been some part of my mind that had been in denial. It was as if I had been under the illusion that, if I just learned the correct protocol for interacting with a blind person, I effectively could give him eyes.

According to this world view, there was a magic wand that could meet every challenge. If I had just found the one perfect book on parenting and had read it from cover to cover, my kids would have had happy childhoods. If I could just get my hands on a book called Cohousing For Dummies, I could ensure a blissful future for my fellow cohos and me at Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community.

This weekend the realization sank in that I was not perfect and that the magic wand that would make me so did not exist.

Oddly enough, I felt relieved.

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