“Perfection is an Illusion”
Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unlikely source and arrives in the midst of chaos. Can you relate? It was circa 1998-99, I had just turned 40, my father was dying and my mother was having a breakdown. Caregiving was taking its toll on me, and I experienced my first and only panic attack. Where was my breath? I knew how to breathe….after all, I was a gym rat at the time, cardio queen, spin master, and had run many races leading up to the NYC Marathon. You could say I knew a thing or two about breathing. Nevertheless, it was extremely alarming as I fought to understand what was happening to me. Shortly thereafter, my then husband, Jorgie (such a beautiful, thoughtful and caring soul), decided to “take me away” for the weekend.
I recall going over the Tappan Zee Bridge and being able to see the tower belonging to the Castle Hotel in Tarrytown, NY. It was so beautiful! We were shown to our room which, by the way, resembled an Upper West Side NYC apartment….we could actually see the Hudson River from our windows. Needless today, the room was beautifully appointed and topped off with not one, but two, four poster beds complete with spectacular bedding, linens, and luxurious treats of all kinds. Aside from a few mishaps such as leaving incense burning in the room, setting the fire alarm off, and our waiter accidentally giving me a “regular” cappuccino (instead of decaf) which kept me totally sleep deprived and awake most of the night, we had a lovely stay. Oh well…stuff happens…So much for much-needed R&R!
At some point upon our return home, I guess my brother and I were having a conversation where I must have mentioned my panic attack. In typical Jules fashion, he proceeded to ramble on an on about mental illness statistics and how my “quest for perfection” was MY mental illness, and there is NO SUCH THING AS PERFECTION! You know how you turn on a light switch? Well, I immediately felt the flip of a switch in my head. It was an epiphany! Who would have thought that “Bro” would have been the catalyst for the shift I was about to embark on !?!?!?!?!
I had gone to therapy on and off over the course of a few years to work on certain things, and I remember the analogy the therapist gave me that has stuck in my mind since then. It’s one I often find myself sharing with others who are at crossroads in their lives. Imagine you are on a boat with a toxic person, and the boat is sinking right along with this person. Are you sinking with them? Or, are you jumping ship? I don’t know about you, I am certainly not going down with a sinking ship. This act, like all self-care acts, is called self-preservation! The heavy weight on that boat can be a person, belief, attitude, situation, or circumstance. My quest for perfection was drowning me, and some of the toxic people around me were keeping me from coming up for air. I quickly started shifting and learning the art of letting go!
Letting go is freeing! Letting go of the need to be perfect, to control, or anything associated with the notion of perfection is liberating. Letting go of anything, or anyone, no longer serving us is the best gift and the highest form of self-love and self-care we can give ourselves!
I’m sure you all have a story of someone who shifted your perspective, how it impacted and shaped your life, and how it may have saved you from further pain and suffering that you were causing your Self……and we do know a thing or two about the subject of pain and suffering. All the great masters will tell you, pain is an inherent part of life, but suffering is optional! I am forever grateful for that lesson my brother taught me for it allowed me to shift, let go and live life more fully and at ease. I said good-bye to the A- Type characteristics and my OCD tendencies that, unbeknownst to me at the time, were causing me so much suffering. Wow!….Talk about life-altering!
We now know how dis-ease in the body manifests into full blown diseases (I did not know this at the time). Just pick up the timeless treasures and international best sellers Louise Hay wrote, Heal Your Body and/or You Can Heal Your Life. Peruse a catalog from Omega or Kripalu, or anything from a mind, body spirit wellness organization and see all the different healing modalities being used to treat all these dis-eases and diseases in the body. Look at all the books on the topic of health, well-being and mind, body and soul connection. There’s so much research out there on the mind/body connection and how our bodies intuitively know how to heal. I also like Dr. Joe Dispenza’s book, You are the Placebo – Making Your Mind Matter. The point is that our thoughts, emotions, perceptions, actions and beliefs impact our well-being. Our thoughts and emotions can, and do, affect our body and well-being both positively and negatively. The choice is ours. Hopefully, by now we have mastered lessons on conscious choice making, self defeating beliefs and other habits of mind that either support us or get us sick. One thing I learned for sure is it all starts with being more loving. kind and compassionate with ourself.
Darling, is there something that’s causing you suffering: a behavior, habit, belief, emotion or attitude that is weighing you down and no longer serving you, impacting the people / relationships around you, or getting you physically sick? Is there an area of your life you would like to experience more balance? As with many things in life, the art of letting go is a practice, so be patient with yourself should you want to give it a much needed try. The “unexpected shift” you will undergo will be like being in that sinking boat and having a life preserver thrown your way!
You are the artist, now go out and create a new masterpiece. Remember, we are always a work in progress. Embrace the shift, and watch others also want to Inspire, love, serve AND lead from the heart right from the start!
Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC