I learn that trying to be perfect limits your options.
Another quick thought to share with you today.
(And btw, let me thank all of you who took the time to write such thoughtful, beautiful, powerful words of support to that post. Each of you, and your words, are a gift to me.)
I had a coaching session with Quinn a few months before I began hospice training. She said several very valuable things to me, thoughts that helped me stay centered and calm.
The most pragmatic were her observations on perfectionism.
When she asked if I were a perfectionist, I answered, “Yes!” I’ve worked hard at everything I’ve undertaken with my art biz. I’ve always tried to come up with the best solutions for everything. When I teach, I try to create the perfect workshop experience. When I speak, I work hard to say exactly what I want to say to an audience. When I write, I cull and edit and re-edit to make sure everything flows logically. It drives me nuts to find a spelling error after I publish a piece.
I know that is perfectionism exhausting. I recognize it eventually produces diminishing returns for our efforts.
Quinn pointed out another drawback:
“When you are a perfectionist,” she said, “then you are full of knowing. And when you are full of knowing, nothing new can come in.”
Nothing new can come in….
I had to really think about that one. If I am to learn as much as I can from this experience, I have to be open to what is there.
And what I’m learning so far is that there is no need to excel in the class. There’s no need for intellectual brilliance, or to even ask great questions. There’s no need for extreme competence or great listening skills or excellent communication skills. This is not the place for perfect anything. The skills I’ve relied on all my life do not serve me.
In fact, as our training leader says over and over, every class, it’s not about “doing” at all.
It’s about “being.”
Being present. Being there.
We can help by simply offering the gift of ourselves.
This is new territory for me. But what an odd place to end up, this year. Somewhere where nothing is asked of me, except to have an open heart. In a way, it feels a lot like yoga….
I feel like I am learning to simply listen. And breathe. Perhaps hold a hand.
P.S. I edited this little article about two dozen times. Until it was almost perfect. Obviously, I am still imperfect at being imperfect.
additional P.S. The implications for my art–and my life–are not lost on me, either.