I recently read a book titled “Poser, My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses” by Claire Dederder. While I thought the book would be cheesy and tongue in cheek, it ended up being a gem in my eyes. The woman who writes the book is of similar age with two small children and is re-discovering herself, her marriage, her childhood and her life through yoga. Her chapters are tied into specific yoga poses and what she has learned though each of them. I have a feeling most women my age will really identify with Claire’s struggling perfectionism trying to do it all. I consider myself a recovering perfectionist and I enjoyed her openness on this topic as well.
Two parts of her book have really stuck in my head. I finished the book a week ago and I keep going back to these two passages. In the first, she finds she has a tremor and is shaking during royal dancer. She finds this in a book:
Shaking is a sign you have awoken the prana body. Meaning, you’ve unleashed energy that was previously dormant. Shaking is a sign of life. Shaking is a sign of humanity… Shaking is a sign that you are not quite perfect- and therefore you are not dead yet.
In the second section Claire is sitting with a Buddhist teacher. She asks him what it means to be a good Buddhist. This is his response:
“I’m not sure ‘good’ is a very helpful word,” he said. “If you’re busy being good, you’re probably going to miss this. You’re going to miss the real stuff that’s going on all around you. No, ‘good’ doesn’t really come into it… I think you might want to expunge that word from your vocabulary.”
Perfectionism? Being good? Where do we get these notions of what we are supposed to live up to. Often it is our own pressure on ourselves and nothing to do with the outside world and what they expect. I think about this often as I used to strive to be good at yoga or a good mom or a good wife. What does any of it matter if you miss the present moment? I have learned to turn down the chatter that tells me what I should be doing. Instead, I have begun to notice my instincts and intuition in situations, rather than what will look good or seem better to everyone around me. In this way I have found I am able to honor myself more, be more present for my family and friends, and genuinely care for what I am doing. It is no longer a show about how good I am or an illusion of perfection. It just is. Funny thing is, I am so much happier and life is so much easier when I am not trying to be good. It is nice to finally be me and be comfortable in my own skin- flawed, imperfect, human, not dead yet.