If I knew more about astrology perhaps I could blame my perfectionism on my star sign. To be honest I know very little about concepts of the zodiac and what that means for me and my place in this world as a Virgo. What I’ve read is that Virgos are known to be picky and self deprecating. With qualities like sharp mindedness Virgos have keen attention to detail and are fiercely loyalty. Deep rooted people pleasers, more than any other sign Virgos were born to serve, something that usually gives them great joy. When the abundant energy, both physical and mental, of a Virgo is set to a task it will always be done with methodic efficiency for a Virgo’s sense of duty is considerable and they tend to obsess over the minutiae. This is where the all out perfectionism reveals itself, one of Virgo’s least desirable qualities.
In attempting to walk this so called yogic path coming hand to hand with tendencies like this has, and will likely always continues to be, a big part of my work. My constant fight with perfectionism, no matter how much it makes me a stereotypical Virgo, is a long and tedious battle. Even when I speak rationally to myself, observing my various circumstances and giving meaningful context and alternate perspectives to a situation, the way I would with a friend or a student in my class, I can often feel that open part of my accepting self shutting down. There is still some weird place inside of me that my ego clings to, that I can’t let go, can’t soften, or rather wont yet for whatever reason. The place inside me that wants to do my best is often dissatisfied with the outcome. When my ‘performance’ meets my own unrealistic standards I can ramble and preach about the benefits of surrendering to life’s process, to trusting, to letting go and letting my best be enough, but when my self judging adjudicator comes out to observe I’m suddenly, again, back to the starting lines, wounded from self abuse, and confused as to what it is that’s missing from my equation of self acceptance?… Good gracious… Just breath!
This passed summer I took 2 different training courses to deepen my practice and the scope of my teaching. The funny thing is that since I have completed these courses I have felt completely unsettled in my seat as a yoga teacher. I feel caught in that matrix of progression where the more I learn the less I truly know. Since returning I have been having significant trouble coming back to the mat at the front of the room and have been really struggling to find my voice again, with confidence. Maybe I’m caught in a hangover between working with my basic foundation as a teacher and integrating my new wealth of knowledge?
Last week I had the beautiful opportunity to lead a class that the owner of the studio I’m working at decided to come and take. I really like this woman. I feel loved and supported by her and know that she will be there for me to help me progress on my journey as a teacher… BUT MAN having her at the front of the class rattled something between the connections of my brain, heart and voicebox. I mixed up my sequence, accidentally left building elements out and rambled in my cuing… Where the heck did the word buoyancy come from anyway? And why did I use it so many times? I could feel my heart rate coming up in my ears and like any public speaking event when you stumble and bumble I just couldn’t wait for the class to be over… Gawd knows if she or any of the others will ever come back.
Fast forward to a few hours later…my alarm clock reads 3:04am… I still haven’t managed to shut my brain off and fall asleep. I draw my attention to my breath and coach myself… Breath, Release, LET IT GO!!! I finally accept that lying in the dark hating myself for something as silly as this is ridiculous. I rationalize that no amount of obsessing, about this or any other thing that has ever happened, is going to change or affect things passed. Tomorrow is a new day with 2 more classes that I will have the opportunity to try again.
When I rise I feel a bit embarrassed. I did manage to get a couple of hours of sleep and as I stare myself down in the mirror adjusting the day’s ponytail I feel similar to the morning after a party where a couple too many glasses of wine are taken down and you know your best self wasn’t necessarily out to play.
The practice of yoga, when you allow yourself to be aware of it, encompasses all of life. It’s not just learning to control your breath so you can eventually twist yourself into human pretzel form. It’s taking the time to really see yourself with utter honesty, to learn where you may be able to love and support yourself more. It noticing your patterns of self destruction and bringing the tools you learn on the mat into these moments so that you can slow things down and hopefully see things with more clarity. It’s about giving yourself the space to stumble and sometimes even full out fall as you learn something new. And it’s about seeing that these moments we have in life are fleeting, nothing is static or still, and that we can choose to stop carrying all kinds of heavy crap around with us… the past is gone. We can’t change yesterday, or even what happened a moment ago and the only way to really affect the future is to live truly in this very moment that we are in. And most of these moments are actually quite beautiful and worth noticing.
Learning to create a new habit, whether it is in the body or in the mind takes time, it takes effort and acknowledgement. Like rising up into handstand, most of us need to do this a zillion times before we can nail all the alignment and the drawing in that is needed to hold the pose. For me, over thinking… the art of creating problems that weren’t truly there… is no different. So I’m going to invite my studio owner back for another class, maybe even vulnerably share some of my off the mat self work with her and keep digging deep for my sense of calm so that I can keep sharing all the good stuff I have learned. There’s no promising it will go perfectly next time either. Hopefully I can remember to let that go… after all, nothing is perfect. I wonder if she already knows that I’m a Virgo? 🙂