On Letting Go of Perfection
For the last few months, I’ve been slowly doing the work to figure out what it is that lights me on fire and come alive. We talked a lot about this in my yoga teacher training I did in 2016-2017, but instead of journaling, this self-inquiry involved a lot of late nights not sleeping, asking for advice, Google, lots of wine, more wine, and number crunching. You see, I’ve been fighting that little voice inside my head for the last year telling me to make yoga my full-time job. I could list the reasons on and on, but honestly have felt like I’m throwing away a great full-time job with benefits, vacation, and steady pay. I went to college and therefore need a job that shows that, right? I can’t just tell people I’m a yoga teacher. People will think I just stretch all day and wear yoga pants (full disclosure: that is exactly what I want to do.)
My whole life, I’ve played it safe to make myself feel better because feeling safe is way better than taking any risks. Especially risks that involve failure and bring feelings of shame. I played soccer my entire life and was pretty good but couldn’t stomach the thought of rejection. Instead of trying out for the Varsity team like I should have my junior year, I skipped tryouts, knowing it was better to be safe than sorry. I didn’t particularly like rejection (newsflash: who does?) Besides, I wasn’t the best and wouldn’t even see any play time because everyone else was better than me.
Instead of focusing on the good stuff, like I was also really good at field hockey and a speedy runner, I focused on always being the best. And if I wasn’t the best (at sports, school, etc, life.. in general), I’d tell myself all the reasons why I didn’t belong or was deserving of X, Y, Z. So when I was recruited to do both at a smaller school, I gleefully accepted. Fast forward to training and I was in for a rude awakening: I wasn’t the best. Because every girl who was there on the field or track was the best from their school —or close to it. I immediately threw in the towel, too embarrassed and did not even want to see whether or not I’d get playing time or hit my PR in my running events. I quit both within the first few weeks of school.
Living life like this is not a way to live. At least not for me. To always be fearful of not being the best or trying to live up to perfection. To stay small, even when you know you have so much to give. It’s exhausting, and I know this because it’s taken me almost 30 years to figure it out and sometimes I still don’t get it right. As a student, yoga has taught me that just by coming to your mat —with whatever it is you have— is a victory in itself and should be celebrated. Perfection isn’t necessary. Even asana (poses) aren’t required. Just bring yourself and your breath.. As a teacher, I want students to feel safe, empowered and unapologetically themselves. I want them to feel joy and solitude and know that sometimes, just like life, yoga can be messy or imperfect. But yoga can also be so much fun and bring you joy (hello, handstands!) and allow you to push your edges.
And so it is with great joy and also a ton of freaking fear that I am transitioning (eventually) to full-time yogi status. ::Insert champagne bottle popping:: Starting in May, I will start working part-time with my current job for a few months (or until they hire someone) while adding more classes to my schedule and building my vision for the next year, two years, and three years. My hopes are this will also provide me with more time to decompress, be a great wife and friend, and also return to my mat more. And yea, I know, sometimes it goes the opposite — I’ve heard conflicting arguments about full-time vs part-time yoga teachers. I just know that even if this is a huge failure, and decide full-time isn’t for me, that I will be OK. I also wholeheartedly acknowledge the privilege it is to even have this opportunity.
I am ready to stand confidently and proud in this next chapter of my life. The good and the bad. And be proud for who I am as a student, teacher, friend, wife and daughter. To look at my insecurities, fears, and imperfections and letting them all go. Living in fear isn’t a way to live and I don’t intend to stand small any more.
Finally, I am filled with so much gratitude to my partner for being my biggest cheerleader, my family for their support, my friends for putting up with me for talking about yoga 24/7, and my current job for believing in me and my crazy dreams while still keeping me on board while I transition. I’ve said this before, but sometimes you need an amazing support system to lift you up to realize your own potential.
I am so excited for what’s ahead but planning to enjoy the present moment. Right here. Because sometimes even the scariest and fear-riddled transitions need to be celebrated.
With so much love,