Confessions of a Recovering Type A.
There’s no such thing as perfection. Perfection is an ongoing struggle. It is a battle that can never be won. Trying to achieve perfection is like trying to make pasta sauce that tastes better than your mom’s. It’s never going to happen. It’s never going to happen because you don’t put the same measurements of love, passion, and “taste test” saliva on the spoon as your mom does. You both have different definitions of “a pinch of oregano” or “a handful of fresh basil”. And so, no matter how hard you try or how many batches you make, you can’t manage to even come close to replicating it. Sometimes we become so focused on achieving that perfect taste that we forget all about the love that goes into it. We forget that’s it’s not about the taste of the sauce as much as it’s about enjoying the time slurping spaghetti noodles with your friends and family. Like my cat who can’t ever seem to remember that the fire place may look pretty but sniff it a little too closely and you wont be sniffing anything for a while - I never seem to remember that focusing on achieving the perfectly timed and structured schedule, or achieving a perfect sun salutation is not the point. It’s about improvement, it’s about the bigger picture, it’s about enjoying the moment for what it is and not evaluating every inch of it.
During my practice today I had to remind myself to slow down. I had all of the symptoms of what I like to call my own personal LAFY syndrome. No, unfortunately this doesn’t have anything to do with laughing, It stands for lethargic, frustrated, inpatient, and angry. I’ve come to recognize that when I come to my mat projecting these emotions on myself and blaming some on others – it’s time to be patient with myself and simply ask without judgment what’s going on. I have to say - the more I focus on being aware of my body within my practice, the more I’m coming to realize that I’m pretty bi-polar. Some day’s I come to my mat and am so full of energy and gratitude that I can hardly sit through my morning meditation. Other days I feel so frustrated and impatient with myself that meditation or asana’s just never happen. From this I have learnt that the body and mind are beautiful things that sometimes forget how to talk to each other. Focusing on trying to achieve perfection for me, is a big trigger that tells me my mind is trying to talk to my body again but my body isn’t answering. It tells me that I need to start paying attention because there’s something to be said and for some reason the line has been busy.
Now if there is one thing I know it’s that opening this line is not an easy thing to do. It’s uncomfortable and scary. It’s like the line isn’t just busy, it’s busy because your big sister is on it, and freeing the line means you have to go upstairs and ask her to get off. But she’s not so easily convinced and you just know that it will end in a screaming match that only mom can resolve but not before scolding the both of you for fighting in the first place. Yes, that’s my best explanation of what it used to be like when I got on the mat and I could feel the symptoms of LAFY syndrome bubbling to the surface. I would allow myself to take a deep breath, I would say “here we go again” and I would try my best to feel every minute of that screaming match. Because no matter how loud we yelled at each other, no matter how perfect the dance of our argument played out, no matter how badly the consequences, at the end of the day - the line was free.
I have to admit – some day’s I don’t have the energy to deal with my frustration or drive for perfection. Some day’s I just want everything to line up perfectly. I want to have everything figured out and I want my warrior pose to be on point. But on those days I just remind myself that my ego is coming out to play. I say hi to him and then I try my best to live in harmony with him.
In the middle of today’s practice I decided that I didn’t want to be uncomfortable when facing my frustration and impatience anymore. Not all day’s are going to be filled with extreme gratitude and energy, and that’s okay. Sometimes freeing the line between our body and soul doesn’t have to consist of an argument. It doesn’t have to end in a screaming match. Sometimes we can just recognize that there’s a call waiting, observe that the line is busy and know that that is okay, because it happens and all we have to do is keep checking in. We just have to keep paying attention with the intention of freeing the line. Sometimes we don’t have to dig and we don’t have to kick and scream. Sometimes the answer is simply in grounding ourselves and surrendering to the anger.
For me, a girl who’s had to fight her whole life, a girl who’s never left the ring, who knows how to bob and weave for days, who knows how to throw a hook and follow it with an unexpected uppercut, simply surrendering is not an easy thing to do. The word used to be terrifying in fact, because even if surrendering was the right thing to do, the smart thing to do, what happens if for that one moment you drop your guard, boom, another contender hits you as you’re taking a sip of water. For the first time, I’m being told it’s okay to leave the ring. That’s no easy feat. I’m comfortable in the ring. I know every square inch of the mat, I live and breath the rules of the ring. It’s rough and it’s bloody but it’s home.
And so the question becomes, what have I learnt from my stint in the ring and how can I bring this lesson it to my own students one day? Well I’ve learnt that just because I’m not in the ring, it doesn’t mean I’m not a fighter. Just because my swigs and kicks are not as sequences and perfected as they once were it doesn’t mean I’m not strong. Sometimes we need to hang up the gloves for a while and remember that whatever we’re feeling is justified and it’s no threat to us. It doesn’t need to be analyzed or beaten to a pulp. We don’t need to have it all figured out and that’s okay.
I’ve learnt that it’s okay that you can’t replicate your mom’s sauce, because the sauce that you make is perfect simply because it’s your own. As long as you’re putting your passion into it and sharing it with loved ones, you’ve grasped the bigger picture, and the attachment to perfection slowly fades away. It is when this happens that we open the line between our mind and body; and it is when this happens that we unlock another door to our soul.