Practice, Not Perfect
Life has a way throwing us curve balls pretty much everyday, doesn’t it? Today, for instance, I planned on dropping my kids off at school, then coming home and having an uninterrupted period of time to do my practice and finish the blog post I’d been working on. Well, instead of that, I woke up to my five year old son having a terrible cough. No school for him today afterall, which means no long stretch of time by myself to practice and write. It’s tempting in these moments to convince ourselves that we are victims of circumstance, become stuck in thinking "if only", and to let ourselves off the hook.
Instead of giving up, we must adjust our expectations. My practice will not be what it would have been had I done it alone, but I’m still going to get on my mat and see what happens. Time on the mat is never wasted. This is not the blog piece I had intended to post this week, but that’s ok. There is (hopefully) still something valuable in this one, and I can save the other one for another time. We cannot go through life needing perfection to get things done. If we wait to proceed until our path is totally unobstructed, we will never take even one step. I’d rather have five minutes on my mat than no minutes. I’d rather redirect my focus to a simple blog post than force myself through the longer, more in depth piece I had planned to finish.
Going with the flow in this way used to be incredibly painful for me. It is not my natural inclination. I am a perfectionist at heart, but I believe my yoga practice has mellowed me quite a bit. It’s given me concrete proof that the saying, "perfect is the enemy of done” really has merit. If I had always waited until life was perfect before getting on my mat, I wouldn't have a practice at all. If I had waited to try a new posture until it was perfect, I'd still be standing in samasthiti. Instead, I reluctantly allowed myself to try anyway, and it's paid off both in my physical practice and in my emotional and spiritual health. It’s about practice, not perfection. I get that now, and I hope you do, too.
Adjust your expectations and get on your mat!