"STRIVE FOR PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION"
I rolled out my purple manduka yoga mat last Friday morning.
The lights were nice and dim in the yoga room as the other students entered to get settled. After a long and full week, I knew I needed to get on my mat and unwind.
I gazed down towards my hot pink toenails as we took our first forward bend and I let out a big exhale. "I am so glad I am here" I thought to myself. "I really need this time for myself today".
As we began our yoga practice, my dear friend and teacher read a quote to the class. It was just perfect for me on this particular day– almost as if it was written just for me.
I want to share it with you today:
"LIFE IS AMAZING.
AND LIFE IS AWFUL.
AND THEN LIFE IS AMAZING AGAIN.
IN BETWEEN THE AMAZING AND THE AWFUL,
LIFE IS ORDINARY AND MUNDANE.
SAVOR THE AMAZING.
HOLD ON DURING THE AWFUL.
EXHALE DURING THE ORDINARY."
The truth is, we are all human. We all ride the waves of life as best we can.
Most of us strive for health. Most of us strive for peace. Most of us strive for success, financial freedom, love, support, and purpose.
Sometimes, things go our way and we feel on point, satisfied, and fulfilled. Other times, things fall apart. Life gives us challenges (some big, some small). In response, we don't sleep as well. We get tired. We get stressed out. We worry. We stew. We judge ourselves for not being perfect, and our lives for not looking perfect.
Like most of you, I can pinpoint many of the big and small moments of challenge that have come my way. Life is an ever changing dynamic array of ups and downs: From flat tires to hospital visits and from disappointment to financial distress.
When things fall apart, we often find ourselves stuck in coping skills and old habits that don't do us any good...
Being our own worst critic and berating ourselves for 'messing up'.
Numbing ourselves through alcohol, sugar, TV, sex or emotional eating.
Self medicating our exhaustion with caffeine and stimulants.
Over spending, over eating, over indulging, over exercising, over sleeping.
Throwing our self-care out the window because we are too overwhelmed.
... and then whole cycle starts over.
Perfection is our (collective) problem. We want the perfect life, the perfect body, the perfect job, the perfect kids, the perfect bank account, the perfect house, the perfect partner, or the perfect ___________. This is our humanness, a consciousness that we all share.
And when we don't get it (none of us ever really do), the endless chase leaves us exhausted and empty.
The antidote to our addiction to perfection is progress.
Progress is looking back and seeing where we have come from, and the baby steps we have made towards our own definition of personal success. As well, the milestones we have crossed, the hard life lessons we have learned (those one that surely have made us stronger) and the new positive habits we have formed with an eagle eye view on how we are creating an imperfect life we love.
Take a big step back.
Look at the big picture.
Take care of your important self.
See the good.
Lean into your support.
Nourish yourself well with food, rest, exercise and self-care.
Take a break.
Talk yourself through it (just as you would your own best friend, sister, or child).
Stop comparing yourself and your life to those around you. (never a good idea)
Surrender to the process, and mark your progress.
Most of all, let go of perfection.
If you are needing a moment, a pause, a break, some support, some perspective, and some time to deeply nourish yourself, I am personally inviting you to join me on retreat this fall. We have some amazing opportunities for you to come home to yourself HERE (locally and internationally).
These retreats support you in strengthening your relationship to yourself, the daily practices that help you along the way, and the customized ways in which you can surf the waves of your life with just a little bit more ease.