Embracing imperfection

I have an app on my phone that gives me a yoga quote every day. The idea is to take a quiet moment and read the daily quote, reflect upon its wisdom, then go about my day in a serene and float-y way. 

Instead, I usually read the daily quote as I’m loading the dishwasher and scooting our little piggie Piper out of the way and hollering at my kids to turn down the TV and wondering where my grocery list is and trying to remember if I paid the lawn guys and hoping I remember to water the new shrubs before they shrivel and die a brown, crinkly death in these dog days of Texas summer. 

What part of that is serene and float-y? 

None. Nada. Zilch. 

I’m coming to grips with the fact that I just don’t lead a serene and float-y life. Going to yoga helps, although I don’t think I’ll ever master the art of calming my mind, even in the midst of a perfect yoga class, in a darkened room with my favorite instructor with her calming voice and lovely music. 

Adding the daily yoga quote to my hectic, too-busy day and to my static-y, not-calm mind was a somewhat-desperate attempt to impart even more calm to my spastic self. Some days a quote resonates with me, and some days I think, “Yeah, right.” 

Today’s quote grabbed me, and not necessarily in a yoga way but in a more all-encompassing way. 

“These days, my practice is teaching me to embrace imperfection: to have compassion for all the ways things haven’t turned out as I planned, in my body and in my life — for the ways things keep falling apart, and failing, and breaking down. It’s less about fixing things, and more about learning to be present for exactly what is”.  — Anne Cushman

That one got my attention and forced me to slow down (and to ignore the dishwasher, et al). My guess is that this quote applies to everyone, regardless of whether you’ve ever set foot in a yoga class or attempted a reclining pigeon pose. Of course this quote applies doubly to any of us who have faced a serious health crisis, such as a cancer diagnosis. 

My first thought when I read this quote was about how much I’d love to be in the presence of Anne Cushman, whoever she is, and hope for osmosis. I’d love for her acceptance to permeate my body and mind. I’d really love to emulate her practice of “being present for exactly what is” especially as it relates to my post-cancer body.

If only there were a “being present” fairy. A lovely, serene, calming cousin to the Tooth Fairy, who would visit those of us who struggle after diagnosis. She could float into our windows while we sleep and sprinkle yoga-fairy dust around our pillows. She could whisper words of wisdom into our ears and smile knowingly as we nodded sleepily, eyes closed and minds calm. We would fall under her spell without even knowing it, and would awake from our typically-disjointed sleep, no longer plagued by hot flashes or night sweats or nightmares about recurrence. We would emerge from non-tangled, not-sweaty sheets, refreshed and renewed and filled with compassion for the many ways in which things didn’t turn out how we expected. We would smile as we alighted from bed, bathed in calm and knowing that we now have the power to embrace our imperfections. We would no longer instinctively avoid our reflections in the mirror; that part of our minds that tells us “Don’t look! It’s not pretty! It’s not the same!” would be erased, no longer needed. We would cease the relentless and futile pursuit of “fixing things” about our bodies and souls post-cancer. Instead, we would smile sweetly at the broken parts and love them because of, not despite, their imperfections. 

Namaste, y’all.

8 Comments on “Embracing imperfection”

  1. I just saw a bumper sticker that said “Namaste Y’all” (I live in the south USA)
    No…there isn’t a fairy…that’s why it’s called meditation “practice”. I thought about joining the Tibetan Buddhist monks (who have the being-in-the-moment thing down pat) but I’m not shaving my head again….

  2. Eddie says:

    That’s why you need to get to the beach soon!

  3. Catherine says:

    I like that fairy you have invented. It felt like she actually exists as I read that lovely finishing paragraph. 🙂 Maybe I’ll go back and read it again!

  4. maybe it was this message, the one that caught your eye and spoke to you, that was meant to be. maybe the fairy you invented can come along with you for the ride – for grounding, for comfort, and for “practice”. is it okay if I borrow her?

    love and the light of fairy dust to help you find your way,

    Karen, TC XOXO

  5. nancyspoint says:

    Perfect post for me to read today. I’m thinking of taking a yoga class. Love the quote. Perfection is over-rated anyway don’t you think?

  6. i know i’m late, but i just read this: https://pinkunderbelly.com/tag/deborah-lattimore/

    and i cannot thank you enough.


  7. bethgainer says:

    Very needed post. It’s so very hard to live in the present and accept imperfections. That’s exactly what I must do, as well. Thank you for this inspirational post.

  8. Lorie says:

    Thanks for sharing the quote and sharing your thoughts! I also wish the “being present” fairy was real. Oh how much easier our lives could be! I liked the idea very much I read the paragraph twice. But alas, we have to acknowledge that we are not perfect and the world isn’t too. May you continue to draw inspiration, calmness and relaxation with your yoga. Namaste!

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