Did I ever tell you that I am slightly perfectionist? No big deal…only aiming to be the best no matter what. In every occasion. At work, you will find me fighting tooth and nail for my projects, thinking about them day and night, dreaming about meetings and ways to go over and beyond. In the class room, I can’t keep my thoughts to myself. You’ll see me with my hand up high, upsetting my colleagues, as they are probably think “Will she ever shut up?” I am that student who reads everything, even the complementary articles, and who do the bonus homework. I am always eager to learn more, but this strong desire is also linked to the fear of missing out, of not knowing everything. As if I could. As if that was even interesting.
My perfectionism also finds its way in other areas of my life. I want my home to be clean and ordered. I hate clutter, I love giving away stuff, I do it the minute it doesn’t bring me joy anymore. I love organizing and re-organizing my cabinets, until I can move around in the kitchen in a perfectly seamless way.
I can’t even escape my perfectionism on my yoga mat. I know and you know it as well, yoga is the perfect place to work on acceptance, non-judgment and compassion. Yet, as I am enjoying the flow, I fight hard to not push beyond my limits. For me, the practice is not about being satisfied with where you are. It’s all about working on the few details to make the pose more interesting. Once I master the foundations of a posture, I will start paying attention to the small adjustments I need to make until I get it perfectly, which of course I know will never happen.
Practice is work in progress, and yoga is not about reaching a final pose but much more about the practice itself, but I believe it is also about learning to enjoy where you are, which I am not doing most of the time. I am so focused on the postures that I cannot do that I often forget about how much I love yoga for the sake of yoga, and how strong I already am.
Last Monday, you made me such a gift by reminding me of it. It wasn’t much, simply you telling me at the end of the class how you were impressed by the precision of my movements, the execution of the postures. I think you saw how focused I was, and you thought it was beautiful.
Thank you. By sharing that compliment, you made my day. You gave me the opportunity to take a step back, and look at the big picture. You made me realize that I was already there, that by focusing so much on the small things not working I was missing out on the pleasure I have practicing.
The next day, you made my day too. As I was talking a quick walk around the building in the gray afternoon, I saw you coming up with a carton of milk. I was happy to see you, and you looked happy too. You spontaneously shared with me that it was good to be out, that since you stopped smoking 35 days ago, after more than 40 years as a smoker, you weren’t taking your breaks anymore. That as you were buying the milk, you had to fight hard to resist the temptation of buying a pack of cigarettes, but that you succeeded. I told you I was proud of you, that it was worth it to celebrate small victories.
Later on, as I was rushing to get to the 5 o’clock yoga class, you made my day as well. It hadn’t been a good one until I talked to you. Things were hectic at work, I was losing hope in our organizations, I was getting cynical about my future. I started talking to you as I was getting dressed, and you told me you were a French teacher. We instantly connected, as I revealed I dreamed of being one too. You shared with me your passion for the language, your love of teaching, and how amazing your students were. You made me believe again that there is a lot of exciting work coming up, and for that I want to thank you.
I am not asking for much. Simply sharing a quick compliment, a small victory or your most vivid passion will do the trick. All I need is a connection, the feeling that you and I are in it together, for better or for worse. That will for sure make my day.