Years ago, I had a coaching client who really wanted to take photographs. It had been a creative dream of hers for a long time and she was really passionate about it. Every time we checked in however she had an excuse. “I had to read the manual… I’m taking a photography class… I’m learning photoshop…” It seemed there was always a new way to prepare. She was always waiting for the perfect circumstances to begin.
I told her to bring her camera to work, put it on P and shoot 10 photos every day on her lunch break.”I can just do that?” she asked. “I feel like I’m cheating.” But really, this was simply another way that her inner critic had very cleverly kept her from achieving her dream. Can you relate?
Here’s the question I really want you to consider: Where in your life can you just put it on P? Where can you choose ease? Where can you stop trying to do it perfectly in favor of just doing it?
I have been learning this lesson over and over for years. Just recently, I experienced a new round of this lesson. I’ve been practicing yoga for almost 20 years. Before I had kids, I went three times a week, religiously. (Oh to have that washboard tummy back again!) Things however, fell by the wayside when I became a mother. Over the years, I would go when I could, but it ended up being few and far between. Start a home practice! You might think. I could never get much more than downward dog in before I would get bored, get distracted by my dishes or the ding of my phone, and boom! off the mat and into the kitchen to make a sandwich.
When I moved into my new place last year, I stopped going to yoga classes all together. I also started having pain in my body for the first time – lower back aching as I get out of bed. Gotta get back to my yoga, I’d think.
Same went for whatever fledgling meditation practice I had started. I’d sit in the quiet for maybe a minute before I’d get antsy. And without the accountability of a teacher and other practitioners, I would give up easily. I’m such a bad meditator! I’d think. And then I’d quit.
But then I discovered the app Insight Timer recently and they have thousands of guided meditations you can listen to. You can have Eckhart Tolle, Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield right in your ear! And suddenly, it worked! I could sit through the whole meditation. I must be cheating, I thought! That was so relaxing and lovely. Then I discovered that several of my friends use the app and the guided meditations too. I thought the right way to meditate was to sit in total silence. I thought you had to sit, immobile and watch your thoughts like clouds. I thought it was supposed to be a little bit painful.
And so I started meditating! And I discovered Sarah Blondin’s meditations which totally changed my life. All because I allowed myself to not do it perfectly and just DO IT the way it actually worked for me.
Maybe I can do this for yoga too, I thought. I got a subscription to one of those online yoga channels and boom! I’m doing yoga 100% more than I was before. Is it cheating to do yoga with a video? I think not! but somehow I had to give myself permission to do what worked for me, even if it wasn’t the gold standard I held up in my mind.
Where in my life can I put it on P?
Where can I choose ease?
Where I can choose actually doing it over doing it perfectly?