I cannot believe I have made it to the 8 week mark! While I still continue on the highs and lows, the most current lesson is the one which made the biggest crack in the armor. Specifically Julia Cameron’s writings in regards to three topics: Perfectionism, Jealousy, and Risk
As stated in the book, “Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead. It’s a loop – an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details…Instead of creating freely and allowing errors to reveal themselves…we often get mired in getting the details right.”
Being a perfectionist runs in the family. I grew up believing no matter what you do, it can always be improved upon. The details kill me. Obsessed is an understatement, if it ever can be. What happens then when we allow ourselves to get caught up? Our creativity never has a chance to appear. It’s crushed from the get go, suffocated by the very person desperately trying to give it life. In being a perfectionist, every task taken on suffers the ridiculous notion that errors are not acceptable. There is no warm up period allowed, instead there is an expectation of instant perfection. Then enters the criticism, which kills the creative process, which creates so much frustration that we give up, and nothing is accomplished. If we were to allow room for error, maybe say yeah, this is good enough, a whole new world of acceptance can trickle in and make room for growth.
Herein lies the Risk factor! On the topic of risk, Julia asks a great question. What would I do if I didn’t have to do it perfectly? Her answer… A great deal more than I am. As blocked artists, we are too caught up the assurance of success. When do we really allow ourselves to be bad at something? When I first started yoga, I felt ridiculous in class. I was intimidated by some of the other students who were doing rather advanced poses. There was a false sense of “all eyes on me,” so I was rather shy on my mat, but I still went to class. Today, I still make mistakes, I still have bad days, I still fall over and out of my poses. What’s changing is my take on the risk. I’m no longer playing it safe when I practice. One stand out point Julia wrote is that, “safety is a very expensive illusion.”
What I didn’t notice was that I was taking my beginning point and comparing it to someone else’s masterpiece. I didn’t think to wonder what their beginning point must have looked like. Probably very similar to mine, maybe even worse! These masters of yoga, that I turn to for guidance, have been practicing for 20+ years. How can I possibly compare myself to them? Why would I want to? I am my own creative artist, on my own creative path.
Safety leads us to jealousy, even if we are not willing to open our eyes to it. This past week I created a jealousy map. It consisted of three columns, one being the who, another being the why, and a last being the action antidote. I found this super informative and eye opening. Especially the action antidote, specifically due to how simple solutions are. Jealousy is simply fear. The inability to take the risk and the exact thing that strips us of our will to act. Yet it is in the action alone which leads us to our freedom. After doing my own jealousy map, I realized there were no reasons for my jealousy and the way out is to take action. Do I want a deeper practice, absolutely! What’s the solution? Simple, get on the mat every day, no matter how awful I think I’m doing, and I too will get there. Nothing happens overnight. Everything begins with a small step, followed by many more small steps. All we need is to be willing, and keep in mind that there is plenty of room on this earth for more than one of us to do the same thing. Our personal creativity is what makes our approach appealing to like minded people. What works for me will not work for you. So drop the jealousy and step into your own creative force towards doing that thing you might be dying to do. It doesn’t matter if someone is better at it than you, they’ve probably failed more times than they’d be willing to admit. All success is, is being open to trying the same thing a hundred different ways until one of them works!
I think I’d like to spend a little extra time on this chapter. It’s absolutely helping me release many of my fears around my practice, as well as my fears on risk with my new side gig. There is such a release involved when you can create a space for imperfection. It’s almost as if I can see my growth potential more clearly when I take the pressure off of myself. Plus it makes things much more FUN!
Take care my wonderful yogis. Have a wonderful week and I’ll be back again soon. As always…so much love and gratitude for all of you!!!