I’ve had a chance to reflect on my internship experience in the last two weeks, and what stands out to me is how much of my own “stuff” I’ve been able to let go of, or work on. I’ve gotten better at taking care of myself. I’ve become firmer and clearer with boundaries. I’m communicating more directly. And, maybe best of all, I’ve come a long way in letting go of perfectionism.
I was thinking about this a lot this week, because it was a messy week, and somehow I stayed pretty unreactive. Rather than trying to fix or rework (i.e. control) what was happening, I put all of my energy into taking care of myself and waited for circumstances to pass by. It was a record setting level of calm, for me, and while I know that I’ll need to continue practicing all of this, it showed me that a different way of being is possible with attention and effort.
When I consider about my perfectionism, one thing that stands out is the faulty logic that, if I do everything “right,” bad stuff won’t happen. So far as I can see, the notion that there’s some sort of cosmic fairness that rewards good performance with safety and goodness is an illusion. It hasn’t been my experience or observation of the world that staying on good behavior all the time results in happiness, or getting what one wants, or being protected from life’s hardships.
What has proven to be true, at least so far as I can tell, is that growth—no matter how incremental or gradual—is always possible. It’s not really about fairness or reward. It’s about accepting that much less of life is within our conscious control than we like to believe, but we do have the opportunity to evolve as a result of what happens.
I know how simple this sounds, and I don’t think that the growth we do in response to our experiences is always lofty or oriented towards some sort of “betterment.” Sometimes inexplicable, painful things happen and we become more guarded, or ashamed, or cautious. But I guess my point—the idea that’s knocking around my brain lately—is that we’re always changing, whether we like it or not, and that this motion is sort of the point. Sometimes, when we look back on how and where we’ve moved, it even seems to make sense 🙂
I’ll probably always be someone who over-strives, but I’m enjoying this new ability to be passive, to accept what’s happening, to regard self-care (rather than being good at everything) as my main responsibility. A lot of the pressures and anxieties about pleasing everyone and exceeding at everything that felt real to me even a few years ago feel very far away right now.
Beneath all of this is a deepened sense of trust in life. It would have been very familiar, if not easy, to treat my DI year as yet another opportunity to “prove myself,” forcing each rotation to be what I wanted it to be. I’m so glad that I didn’t do that—that I allowed myself to accept that the year would be whatever it was. Letting go allowed me to keep coming back to the question of what I could learn, which is a lot more than I was counting on.
I wish you a week of growth, no matter what it looks like or how it shows up. Here are some recipes and reads.
Gracie’s loaded breakfast cookies are packed with things I love, and I’d welcome them in the morning or any time of day!
Erin has a way with tofu, and her latest protein-packed creation is a tofu satay with spicy peanut sauce. Perfect for summertime grilling.
Speaking of grilling, I’m loving Taylor’s grilled cauliflower steaks with brightly colored romesco.
Lindsay’s farmers’ market pasta is the perfect way to use up the season’s bounty.
Finally, a perfect refreshing treat for beating the August heat: Sue’s beautiful watermelon kiwi popsicles.
1. Disparities in infant death rates continue to be grave in this country, according to a new study.
2. I’ve seen a few good articles lately on making a less processed diet affordable and accessible. Carrie Dennett’s latest is full of good ideas and insights (and I totally second the emphasis on frozen produce).
3. Cathy Erway takes a probing look at the cultural history of mock meats. It’s especially interesting to consider their origins given all of the current controversy over labeling!
4. A new report emphasizes the importance of plant-centric eating patterns for the sake of safeguarding the planet (CNN reports).
5. An interesting article on the way women think about their periods. It compares the growing “period positivity” movement, which encourages women to embrace their cycles as part of everyday life, with the concept of period neutrality, which may be more accommodating to the experiences of women who live with especially painful periods. As with nearly all things that relate to how we feel about our bodies, my feeling is that there’s a place for positivity, neutrality, and lots of other feelings and identifications. It depends on the person and what feels right to him or her.
We’ve had a few beautiful days here in New York: sunny, dry, summery but not sweltering. I’m about to take a little walk and soak up some of this one. Happy Sunday, friends.
I often read about the power of choosing one’s thoughts, or something along those lines: shifting perspective, flipping the script, quieting negative self-talk, and so on. It sounds so compelling and empowering, yet so elusive. Most of the time, I feel that my thoughts choose me. I often wish—especially when they’re particularly exhausting—that they’d choose someone else. Once in a while, I’m able to choose different thoughts, or to change a gloomy perspective. The amount of effort that it takes to do this…
Happy Sunday, everyone. I’m back from my visit with my friend, doing my best to settle into a routine in spite of deadlines the that continue to loom. In a mind-clearing yoga class this morning, my teacher shared this parable, or her own version of it. According to WisdomShare, the story goes, A young, successful couple found their dream home. Shortly after purchasing it, the couple sat at their kitchen table to indulge in a delicious breakfast. The wife looked out the window,…
I got into a long conversation about adventures the other day. I was chatting with a friend–a friend who happens to fit my very definition of an “adventurous spirit.” She loves trying new things, taking calculated risks, traveling to new and interesting places. Her curiosity and thirst for new experience is clear in everything she does, whether it’s flying up into an inversion she’s never tried in yoga or tasting an exotic ingredient at a restaurant. Me, I’m a different story. It took me years and…
I’ve been reading a lot about authenticity lately. I guess this is self-selecting, as it’s a topic that interests me and tends to permeate the spaces I spend time in (yoga studios, blogs that focus on health and self-care, therapy). But authenticity seems to be having something of a moment, too—or so book titles and articles would suggest. For the holidays, my mom gifted me with a copy of Baron Baptiste’s new book, Perfectly Imperfect. I was touched that she thought of it,…