There is an expectation as part of living in this human experience that at some point we will achieve perfection. Perfection is an interesting concept, because you can’t measure it, you can’t physically see it and it can be such a fickle concept constantly in fluctuation. When I was 14 years old in year 9, I was asked to participate in a debate on discussing a quote around this topic. The quote stated that “perfection is an impossible dream” and my team were allocated speaking against the quote arguing the notion that perfection is totally achievable. When I found this out I felt like we were given the short straw. I’ve always been very hard on myself. I’ve lived with having a very loud and screaming inner critic constantly telling me I wasn’t good enough so I didn’t believe there was anything in my world that had the ability to be completely ‘perfect’. How on earth could we prove perfection is possible when it’s simply not? I didn’t believe it existed.
I was the first speaker in this debate and this was my first big public speaking event. I can remember feeling so nervous, the butterflies filled my stomach. Although I was always very loud as a child ensuring I was noticed, I remember being afraid of being truly heard. I became very withdrawn when things didn’t go to plan or when I felt insecure. I had a lot of trouble writing my speech because I didn’t want to start for fear of failing and on some level I didn’t believe in what I was writing. I wrote the first paragraph at least 100 times and I remember sitting at my computer crying because this quote was something I couldn’t un-hear. I knew deep down it meant more than this debate but I had no sense of why and no ability to find out just yet. I asked my sister to help me get the ball rolling and she sat with me while I spoke some ideas out with her. I literally needed someone to hold my hand because I craved the reassurance that I could maintain my own dignity speaking about this topic in a room full of teenagers who can be so cruel. Aside from all of that, I think I was truly scared because I wasn’t speaking the real thing I felt at the time. I honestly felt perfection was an impossible and unachievable dream.
This morning’s revelation had me notice that this is a debate I’ve been having throughout my 23 years living in this human experience – consciously or unconsciously. This is my classroom a place where I am longing for clarity. Longing for a chance to distil all of the clutter and to strip away all of the barriers to find my deepest truth. Why did I feel so incomplete being who I was? What did I need in order to allow myself to feel the beauty in the uncertainly of this process? Where was my inner coach helping me to trust my intuition telling the inner critic to go to sleep? I can remember feeling so very grateful and appreciative for everything that I had at that time in my life. I knew it wasn’t perfect, but I knew I had been truly blessed with a loving, supportive family. I’ve had countless opportunities to grow and learn, to express myself and to be heard. I had never gone ‘without’ so I also felt a sense of guilt around not feeling satisfied. It didn’t make sense why I felt my idea of perfection was out of reach.
With the new moon tonight, I felt a new and fresh energy this morning so I decided to be brave and I taught a completely different yoga class to my normal. I taught a mandala flow themed on fluidity, new beginnings, and new possibilities with the universe organising around our individual success. I wanted to invite an opportunity for myself to explore feeling out of my comfort zone and to learn where I show up in this different way of teaching. I wanted to model what I am trying to convey through my class and of course as it was the first time I taught a circular flow I made mistakes. I kept going and didn’t drop the bundle but there were times when people got confused and went in the wrong direction. I got mixed up with left and right cues and at the beginning I clearly stated I was feeling nervous so the participants might feel that energy from me. I was being raw, real and vulnerable in front of the biggest yoga class I had taught with quite a few of my friends who I care deeply about being present in the space I was holding. It was a big deal for me. Yet as I asked people to take a breath in downward facing dog I felt for the first time even though this class was riddled with mistakes and moments of my own panic, even though I was scared about how it would be received and of not being enough for my clients, for the first time I felt truly perfect in my imperfections.
Back in year nine I came up with the tag line for our team that “Perfection is only perception and perfection is not an impossible dream for dreams lie in the eyes of the beholder”. The words of my 14 year old self came flooding back into my body this morning and for the first time in years I realised just how long they had been forgotten. We won the debate back in year 9 and as the moment came and went, I felt a sense of celebration around my achievements both this morning and 9 years ago. I felt proud that both times I had the courage to try something new that scared me. I chose to be brave in displaying my vulnerability and irrespective of fear I found the ability to speak my soulful truth in front of a room full of people. Perfect in imperfect messy glory, I’m counting these as big wins. Life is a process that ebbs and flows. I know this feeling won’t last forever, but even in the face of uncertainty and discomfort I have trust that the universe really is organising around my success. My wise, competent and most resourceful self knows the way and whatever shows up in my path is imperfectly perfect in entirety.