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The Elephant In The Room

We all have our struggles and our areas for growth. One of mine is that I become hyper focused on a goal and forget about the other parts of my life that I enjoy including writing. My friend, Resilient Strength, keeps tabs on me through my blog and since I had not posted in a while, I figured she was worried about me! I knew I had to call her and I did. She is amazing and keeps it real for me even though most times it goes in one ear and out the other. She worries about my business travel, she worries about my hips and she worries that I push myself too much. She worries about me like a mom! I don’t think we’ve ever really, fully addressed that my biggest cross to bear is that of perfectionism even though it is the big, gray elephant in the room.

Part of my issue, I think, is that I was the oldest of three and I was just born wound up. I was very shy growing up. I always was the student that would ask any and all questions at the end of class with my teacher as I was confident my question was a “dumb” question. In spite of that shyness, I constantly pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I challenged myself. As I prepped for college, I participated in as many of the high school activities as possible that would still allow me to keep my GPA at a high level.

  • Student leadership..check

  • Band..check.

  • Track…check.

  • Cross-country…check check.

I hated all of them, but I did them because I felt that it would cast me among other college applicants as well-rounded. I got into all of the universities that I applied to. I tried different things in college as well with the idea of that perfect resume. One of those not so brilliant ideas was ROTC. I gave it a year which, I have to admit, was a stretch. This Hopeful Hippie was not cut out to clean latrines with a toothbrush and eat an MRE for dinner. I did rappel down a 10-story building and shot a machine gun which scared the hell out of me. I had sunburned and blistered ears for days from marches in Monterey’s historic, Fort Ord, and a major crush on one of the seniors. In spite of that crush, I did know that this was not my gig.

From that departure, I learned that it is okay to step back, re-evaluate and re-create. My area of strength is that I know and respect my area of weakness which is why I love this idea of mindfulness. Mindfulness is this concept of being self-aware, intuitive and providing grace to yourself and those around you. When I am on fire, you do not want to be around me. I have a to do list a mile long with each line item needing to be crossed off . My husband hates it. As I have prepared for all of these hip surgeries in my past, I have things I “have” to get done. From painting a bathroom to gardening to meal prep. Are all the bills paid? Do I have enough product abcxyz to get me through the next weeks? Have I prepared myself for all possibilities? It is at those precise moments that my mindfulness practice has gotten away from me. In fact, it has sprinted away from me! Fortunately, I have some time off this week and next to be able to take a step back and to grab that mindfulness that will restore me and my wholly imperfect body and I am writing again!

And, just like that, I opened the mail today and the recipe for that mindfulness refocus was in the form of a story book called, I AM YOGA by Susan Verde.

“I tell my wiggling body, be still. I tell my thinking mind, be quiet. I tell my racing breath, be slow. I close my eyes and make room in my mind, in my heart, to create and imagine.”

That space in my mind allows me to be okay with stillness for a time. With that thought, one of my friends told me, “there’s an art to doing nothing.” My sassy response was, “I’m not an artist!” But what I am is a Hopeful Hippie full of ambition, hope, determination, stubbornness all wrapped into my yogi perspective where it is okay to be imperfect. So the elephant has now been spoken about and it’s off my to do list! Embrace your uniqueness, your struggles, your strengths and your value. Find what speaks to you whether it’s a song or a poem. A glass of wine or a piece of chocolate. The hope of a new day with the sunrising or the sense of accomplishment from a day well spent.

Treat yourself by giving grace to your body and soul. Love yourself. Embrace the strength that you have to get through the challenges you have. Embrace your weaknesses as they are what make you human.

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