Oh Universe…you have one funny sense of humor, alright! I know you know I’ve been struggling with this resurfaced need to be perfect. I thought I’d moved past this…or at least made some peace with it…when I left my job. Things seemed to be going along fine. I had gotten comfortable being imperfect via my writing…for all to see. Or had I?
I mean, everything I write…I write. So while I’m sharing deep dark secrets and being vulnerable, I’m doing so in a very controlled manner…with my own words…my own edited words. Even when I bang it out really quickly, it’s still me communicating what I’m comfortable communicating. And even if I look like a mess doing so, it’s a mess I’m comfortable sharing.
What I’m slowly realizing I’m not so comfortable with is the uncontrolled messes and imperfections…and I’ve had quite a few of them lately. When I write about them, though, it’s in a controlled manner even though my emotions may be all over the place. But you can’t see that.
I wasn’t aware of how pervasive this need for perfection had once again become until a friend subtly pointed it out (ok, not so subtly actually, but anyway). He brought it to my attention and asked me to sit with it for a while and just notice it. Holy cow!
It was only fitting that the Universe got the biggest laugh last night as a way to drive home this point. We hosted our first monthly Yin workshop Sunday evening. It was called Liberate Yourself and focused on identifying obstacles and fears that hold us back from achieving our goals, identifying the actions and/or intentions that can help us move past these fears/obstacles, and then developing a persona mantra to serve as a constant reminder of what we deserve to accomplish. (Yes, I did just say that that’s the workshop Laura and I led…and yes, I see the irony in that. But wait…it gets even better!)
As I walked into the lobby of where the workshop was scheduled to be held, I was shocked..SHOCKED…to see a music video shoot taking place. Just right down the hall from where we were to hold a two hour, quiet, introspective Yin workshop. Just right down the hall from us was were 50 people dressed in 20s attire and a jazz band. Surely they were just wrapping up, right??? Um, no.
As a matter of fact, 5 minutes before we were scheduled to start…with a mediation no less…I heard someone holler out “5 minutes till we start shooting”. Seriously?!? We were on the exact same schedule? This was a nightmare. Our very first workshop…which we plan to hold once per month…and it was going to be ruined by all the noise in the fucking lobby. I was pissed!
Sure enough, about 10 minutes into class as Laura guided the students into their first mediation, the swing music started up…at full blast. All we could do was laugh. Thank goodness the students had a sense of humor.
Sitting there watching the students and listening to the music, it hit me. The Universe had played the ultimate joke to make her point. There I was…leading my first workshop…a workshop dedicated to finding obstacles/fears that hold us back…and our workshop was completely disrupted by noise that we…I…couldn’t control.
I could physically feel my body reacting. I didn’t even need to be in a Yin pose…just sitting there on my mat, it was rising up…settling around my heart. The anxiety. The realization that this was so far from what we had planned. It was completely beyond my control to fix…the workshop wasn’t going to be perfect. O M G
When it came time to instruct the class on their second journalling exercise, I decided to ditch the planned example I had and share exactly what I was dealing with…in that moment. I admitted to having a deep seeded need to be perfect. To be seen as being in control…so much so that I usually have a plan B and C, in case A doesn’t work out. Yet here I was with no ability to control or stop the music. No plan B or C because I didn’t think I needed one. Our perfect workshop was a mess…no, I was a mess.
So, what could I do to move past this fear? I could continue beating myself up about it but that wasn’t going to change it…all that would do is take me out of the moment. I’m so far in my head trying to work all the angles that I miss the beauty of the moment far too often. And I don’t want to do that anymore.
I need to work on going with the flow. The tightness in my body was around my heart. What’s the heart do? Pumps blood…so it can flow through the body. I was constricting the flow physically, literally, and emotionally.
I need to treat myself with kindness, like I would a friend. If Laura were talking to me about the situation, I would speak to her kindly…with compassion. Telling her how it wasn’t her fault…there was nothing she could do. To just roll with it and find the humor. Everything I needed to say to myself.
Simply saying all that out loud released the tension in my body. I was still irritated but not with myself. That was a relief.
As we moved into the third exercise — creating a personal mantra — I shared what I had written down. I started with “I’m perfect in my imperfections”…too wordy. Moved on to “Perfection in imperfection”…maybe but it still didn’t resonate with me. Finally I landed on “I am enough as I am.” That was it!
A mantra is a few words strung together that are easy to remember and feel right when you say them. It’s a short sentence with a huge meaning that can encompass numerous layers. By repeating “I am enough as I am”, I reminding myself that I’m not only perfect in my imperfections, but me…with all my flaws…am enough. I don’t need to show up with 10 plans for the day…I just need to show up. Because me…just me being me…yah, I am enough as I am.
To close the class, we collected everyone’s mantras in a bowl and passed it around so everyone could bless the mantras. Putting the power of the collective into the Universe to love and support our fellow yogis in pursuit of their dreams.
In a couple of days, I’ll burn all the mantras during the New Moon. Setting them free via smoke and ash to gain strength and purpose amongst the power of the Universe.
So even though the workshop didn’t go according to my plan, it went as it was supposed to…and it was beautiful on so many levels. I was finally able to see…really see how crippling this need for perfection is. I guess I had to learn the lesson the hard way…in a very public way…for my eyes to finally be opened. You win, Universe….you win.