Monthly Archives: October 2017

Better than my best

I love The Sound of Music. My oldest child loves The Sound of Music. We’ve watched the movie countless times and played the soundtrack over and over and over. There is much to be enjoyed – In My Humble Opinion – and even much to be learned from the story.

Except for one thing.

As Maria (Julie Andrews) is heading to the Captain’s home, to meet him and his children for the first time, she is nervous. Understandably. So in order to bolster her spirits and self-confidence, she sings “I Have Confidence.” Which is great, except for when she sings, “I’ll do better than my best.”

What exactly is better than our best? And how do we attain it? is it attainable?

As a recovering perfectionist who believed – even when I didn’t realize I believed – that my best wasn’t ever enough, better than my best is a tough concept. A debilitating and potentially derailing concept.

Better than my best. That’s like giving more than 100% effort or running faster than I can run. It’s not really possible. At all. And it sets me up to not only fail but to be frustrated with my effort and accomplishment. It gives me prime opportunity to beat myself up and to get stuck in the self-defeating belief that I’m not enough.

As I’ve written before, it took me a long time to unlearn my not enoughness, and I can still get blindsided by this faulty thinking. It took me many years of repeating the mantra, “I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.” Many years of catching myself in the self-lambasting thinking and actively choosing to think, see, and notice differently. Many years of being willing to try to see the enoughness in all around me and in me before I could let my best be enough. Before I could not have to try to be “better than my best.”

I still think Maria’s message of self-confidence is a powerful and necessary one. I still think many of us need more belief in ourselves and more conviction that we are okay and will be okay, and that we can handle whatever comes our way. I still think that Maria’s looking to the sunshine and rain, to the turning of the seasons and the way nature surrounds and supports us, is a way to find strength when we don’t think we have it and we know we’ll need it.

But I now think that my best is usually quite enough, and I don’t have to try to be better than my best. Or to even think that there is a better than my best.

Even if Maria sang it so well, I’m just going to be my best.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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Everything counts

It seems that my yoga instructors are hell-bent on reminding me of life’s guidelines. Just the other day, the instructor reminded me (us) that everything counts.

Every thing counts. Every breath I take is an opportunity to breathe deeply and breathe in joy and love. Or to miss it. Every yoga pose is a chance to build my mental, physical and emotional muscles, as is, actually, every moment in my day. Every transition – from yoga pose to yoga pose or mundane activity to mundane activity – has the possibility to teach me more, ground me more, help me remember what I want to remember more.

I don’t mean to put added pressure on myself to always be on. I don’t want to put such emphasis on being present and aware that I’m mad at myself when I’m not present and aware. I don’t what to use my humanity as an excuse to beat myself up.

But I do want to remember that I can let every moment be a moment that matters. I can choose to enjoy the moment I’m in, learn from the experience in front of me, and suck the life juices out of my life – and my day.

I don’t have to let it be pressure; I don’t have to let it pile on stress. But I can show up as much as possible in every moment possible. The stranger on the street? I can smile and say hello and have a human connection. The wait for the delayed train? I can read something I want to read or text someone I want to connect with or just be in the moment with nothing to do but breathe and look around. The blog post I’m writing? I can pour my heart into it. Or I can decide to practice doing this thing less than perfectly and let whatever I write be enough.

Each moment, each task, each encounter, each space and to-do in my life is an opportunity. Because everything counts.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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Be here with love

As we start each yoga practice, the instructor suggests we set an intention for our practice and for our day. I wait to see what comes to me, what moves me at the moment. My intention is often “ease” or “joy” or “peace.” They all make sense. They all capture the ways I want to be in the world.

The other day during practice I cleared my mind as the suggestion was made, and BAM “be here with love” flooded me. Be Here. With Love.

I can be not present, as much as I try to be present. It’s easy to miss what’s going on, what’s right in front of me. It’s easy to get caught up in what I have to do or where I have to be or to be flooded with what happened yesterday or what may happen tomorrow. When that happens, and maybe before that happens, it’s time to remember to be here. Breathe. Pause. Notice. Breathe again.

And love? While I do my best to come from love as much as possible, that can escape me as well. I like to look at strangers as I walk down the street and remember there’s a reason to love them. I like to take a moment and reflect on the people closest to me and how lucky I am to love them. I even – steel yourself – like to remember to love myself.

I think that’s the hardest one for so many of us. To learn to love ourselves. I don’t know how we learn that we don’t deserve love or we have to earn love. I do now know that’s not true. It took me a long time to learn that. I’ve worked hard to learn that.

It doesn’t matter how many of us learned that we don’t deserve love; it matters that we put that false truth down. That we call it out as a lie, and we find a true truth to replace it.

You deserve love. I deserve love. The world deserves more love.

Today I’m going lean into my intention. I’m going to be. I’m going to be here. And I’m going to be here with love. Tons of love.

I’m going to notice the breeze on my skin and the sound of the wind chimes. I’m going to be present. I’m going to allow the emotions and thoughts that flood into my heart and mind and be present with those as well. I’m going to open my heart to the love around me and within me. I’m going to actively express love to the people that matter to me, and I’m going to let in, let in, let in their love in return.

Be Here With Love.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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