Yes, another post on perfectionism…a reoccurring theme for me over the recent weeks.
Last week I taught How to Plan and Execute a HEALTHY Liver Cleanse at our local high school, as part of their Community Education program. During discussion about our love affair with coffee (caffeine is a no-no during the cleanse), I advised that it is better to have that cup of coffee than to completely forgo the cleanse. Why miss out on all the benefits of a cleanse, just because you don’t feel you can do it perfectly.
That brings us right back to the subject of perfectionism and how it can get in the way of some really great things.
I started a cleanse this morning. I’ve been drinking my lemon water and herbal teas. I have eaten only whole foods, simply prepared. I have gone without sugar, salt, caffeine, ibuprofen (even though my back desires some), and I know there will be no wine with dinner. The day goes well, until I arrived home this evening to find my daughter and two of her friends hungry and wanting pizza. I go get pizza and as I bring it into my house I realize “oh no, I can’t eat this…I’m cleansing!” This thought was followed immediately by, “screw the cleanse”. Ha. The perfectionist in me went straight to if I can’t do it perfectly, I’m not doing it at all. Luckily, my own words echoed in my ears…”why miss out on all the benefits of a cleanse, just because you don’t feel you can do it perfectly!” Can you relate this to something in your life?
I love it when I’m wise!
So I prepared a plate of quinoa and roasted veggies. Then, after I had fully enjoyed them, I allowed myself a small piece of pizza. It was plenty enough to prevent me from feeling deprived, but not enough that it weighed me down or left me feeling guilty. I will continue with my cleanse. Maybe I will bend the rules again before I’m done, but my body will be better off than if I had done nothing at all.
Besides, a little pizza never hurt anybody, did it?
Love and Blessings,
This is not the blog I sat down to write. Today’s topic was meant to be about meditation, but in the end, it’s about perfectionism.
Have you ever found yourself so bogged down in trying to get every detail correct, that you did nothing? This is not a new issue for me, it has come up before. I want to do something…so I work at it and work at it, but it’s never perfect, so I'm never done. How frustrating! I have come to realize over the years that the saying is true…
Perfectionism robs us of our ability to just be excellent…of even just really good. It causes us to get lost in the minutia of details, to do nothing rather than something. It can lead to procrastination and overwhelm until we realize that it has caused us to keep our gifts to ourselves, rather than share what might not yet be perfect.
Why am I talking about this when I said I was planning a blog on meditation? Because, I sat down to write what should have been a very easy to write post and 25 minutes later, I hadn’t written a word. I had the topic all mapped out in my head, so I had planned to just sit down and quickly type it up. But before I started to type, I thought about the title and pictures… I went to Google to look for quotes using OM in it. I was looking for quotes and pictures to inspire the title and to add to the post. This led me to question the proper spelling of OM, because I found it as OM, as well as OHM, OMM and AUM. This led me to researching the spelling… because god forbid I should not use the “correct” spelling. I was finally settling on the fact that even though many respectable sites and people used the spelling OHM, OM seems to be the most used. And then I looked at the clock and thought “whoa, what happened! I should be done by now”. I had let myself get sucked down into the abyss known as perfectionism.
If it happens to me, I assume it happens to some of you out there too! Maybe my perfectionistic procrastination was actually a good thing this time, because it led to something I wasn’t planning to create at all. Next time you find yourself lost in procrastination, ask yourself if perfectionism is to blame….then knock it off and make something happen.
But perfectionism isn't just about creation (or lack there of)...every day the media bombards us with unrealistic examples of perfection...of what we "should" be. These ideas of "perfect" lead to unrealistic expectations of ourselves, of our partners, our kids, our jobs....etc. We compare our bodies and our lives to lies, and then we feel imperfect. We strive to have the perfect life, even if it's not really what we want at all. Stop believing what you see on TV or FB...live your own life the way you want it. Be happy with all you have and how wonderful it all is, even if it doesn't match up with what society says is perfect.
Until we meet again, be imperfectly wonderful!!
I talk about this in my upcoming book 90 Days to Holistic Wellness, but since conversations on the subject have come up a lot for me recently, I took it as a sign that it may be a good topic to talk about here as well.
Let me ask you, when you were choosing your career path, did people say things such as “follow your passion” or “do something you love”? Or did they say “be responsible and choose a career that will support you financially”?
I have always been a bit more in the second camp, because I feel that life is more enjoyable when you aren’t worrying about how you are going to pay your bills or feed your family. And, I’ve never had a desire to be hounded by credit collectors!
However, I in no way disregard the importance of the first two statements. I think the issue comes when you feel you must make money off your passion…that you need to turn that into your career. This leads me to images of a starving artist. In truth, it can be very difficult to make money at things like art and music…or even fields such as photography, coaching, gardening or herbalism (and many others).
Let me tell you a story….not about me, but about my husband.
When he was young, he was a drummer. When he wasn’t in school or working odd jobs, he was practicing in his attic, rehearsing with the band or playing out at bars. When the time came to get serious and choose his career path, his parents told him that being a musician was not the way to go… there was little money to be made and you spend your life in smoky dingy bars… he agreed. So he gave up drumming, went to college, got a real job, got married and had kids. Life continued, he made a good living, supported his family, the kids grew up, he divorced and this is where I entered the picture. During the first several years we were together, I would hear a few stories now and again about the old days with his friends in the band. As a matter of fact some of those stories were so outlandish I was sure he was making them up (turns out they were true, but aren’t appropriate for this blog!)
Believe it or not, only once in his adult life did he pull out his drums and play. This was for a friend’s party, long before I knew him. For the most part, the drums stayed packed away, while he worked jobs that were much more responsible.
Jump to a few years ago. A parent of an old band member dies, and the funeral is attended by most of the other members. Stories are told with laughter and several members talk about their musical interests. It turns out, most members have full time jobs outside of music, but they still play for fun on the side.
Days later, the plan is hatched for a band reunion. My husband is very excited, but has not played drums in many, many years….so a practice pad and sticks are purchased. Practicing starts. Soon a new drum set is purchased, followed by cymbals, a new throne, etc. The reunion went wonderfully, but the best part was that it allowed my husband to rediscover his passion. He realized he had spent years, almost in a state of mourning, caused by not including his passion in his life. Now he plays in a band, which is just getting ready to release their first CD. He still works his 9-5 job to help pay the bills and fund vacations, but now he has his passion to make every day fulfilling.
Yes, I believe (and so does he) that it was the correct decision to follow in another career path. However, in hindsight, he did not need to completely give up playing. He could have easily kept this as a fulfilling hobby.
Some people are lucky enough to find well-paying work in the field of their passion, but most of us are not…at least not when we are young. Retirement (or after you’ve established a nice nest egg) is a whole different story! For most of us, our passion does not need to be our source of income, it just has to be in our life. This feeds our heart and soul! And if our heart and soul aren’t fulfilled, we are not truly living from a place of Holistic Wellness!
If you aren’t already spending some time daily (or at least weekly) doing something that you love, take a moment to consider how you can. Pull that guitar out of the attic, run to an art supply store to get some supplies, dust of your camera or put on some salsa music and rediscover your love of dance.
Enjoy your life….follow your passion.
The number one issue my clients face, is trying to get enough vegetables in their diet. This seems to be due mostly to the fact that we feel too busy and overwhelmed to cook homemade meals. People often turn to fast food or take out, and when they do cook at home, they turn to processed and packaged foods.
I try to occasionally post recipes here to inspire you to eat more real food…especially veggies.
This meal was inspired by a facebook post I saw recently, about substituting a Portobello mushroom for your next burger. It occurred to me that this is the perfect starting place for a quick, very veggie meal…exactly what I need on my meal plan and I think you’ll enjoy it too!
Heat the oven to 400 degrees while you lube up your mushrooms and some bell pepper with olive oil and a little salt & pepper. You could grill them as well, but baking allows you to fix the rest of the meal while they are baking.
Let them bake about 30 minutes, until tender. While they are baking, chop some red onion, slice a tomato, wash some lettuce leaves and prepare your rolls. I used whole wheat rolls.
I also took this time to chop up some cauliflower florets, and steam with a little water flavored with curry powder. The microwave is perfect for this.
I also peeled and sliced some cucumber and tossed with soy sauce, a splash of sesame oil and a splash of rice vinegar.
Assemble the burger with a little mayo or hot sauce and enjoy!
This meal is packed with veggies and oh, so tasty!!!!
Give it a try! Your body and your taste buds will thank you!
Tracy Martorana is a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, Meditation Instructor and Herbalist...hoping to inspire you to live your life from a place of Holistic Wellness.