Hello, my name is Dawn and I’m a Recovering Perfectionist.

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I didn’t make my bed this morning! Does that make me a bad person? It’s not really a big deal. I can live with it. I’ll go back in there and make it when I’m ready but it can stay that way for awhile – even all day if I feel like it. This was NOT the case a few years ago. I never would have left the bed unmade! Back then I was busy “perfecting” everything. I didn’t really call it that but looking back I can see that was the aim. I was trying to be the perfect wife, mom, homemaker and church lady and then one day it ALL fell apart miserably!

Making the bed was just the tip of the iceberg. Of course, when you make the bed the covers must be exactly the same length on each side, the pillows must be plumped and smoothed and the matching sheets and coverlet folded back just so. Then I would go to the closet where my clothes were hung (hangers all facing the same direction of course) and color coordinated. The rotating cleaning schedule for the day was written down, my “to-do” list was posted on the fridge, the living room clean and decorated just in case a visitor might pop over, the laundry was done, the grocery shopping planned and after school cookies ready to be baked.

It doesn’t really sound all that bad does it? it’s good to make the bed and be organized right? None of these things are inherently wrong. But what was wrong was that I thought I HAD to be perfect to be loved. There was no room for error. I was pouring all of my energy into appearances. I was more concerned with what people thought of me than how I felt about myself.  I was juggling so many balls in the air and trying to maintain a “martha stewart” like existence that I forgot to “perfect” one thing. I forgot to take care of myself.

I was gaining weight. I was constantly unhappy. My relationship with my husband was crumbling. my kids were getting into trouble….and then I started dropping balls. I won’t go into details here but it was a big ball to drop and it made me stop and look at myself in a “Who the hell ARE you?” way. I was so stunned and lost that I went away with a girlfriend for a weekend to a conference hoping to figure things out. At that conference the message finally got through…..HELLO DAWN! WAKE UP! IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE PERFECT!

I cried for about three days and felt a huge weight fall off of my shoulders. I finally realized…striving for perfection is not going to make your husband reconnect with you. Your kids need to see that it’s ok to be imperfect because they are going to make mistakes and they need to know you will still love them. Your friends do not want to compete with your “martha stewart” perfectionism. They want a REAL friend. Someone who struggles, gets frustrated, makes mistakes and laughs about it! Be real, be you, stop trying to live up to some impossible standard that you can never achieve!

So now I don’t make my bed if I’m in a hurry to get to the coffee pot. I don’t live in a pristine, sterile house waiting for guests. I live in a big old RV that is comfy and tidy but nowhere near perfect. I admit my clothes are still color coordinated – it makes it easier to find what I’m looking for! My kids have seen my imperfection and they still say the love me – Yay! I take better care of myself. I’m less judgemental of others – you can’t help but be more accepting after falling off the “perfection” pedastal. I try to live in love – choosing to see the good in everything. I make LOTS of mistakes but when I do I laugh about it.

Life is messy. It’s not perfect and neither am I. We are all broken and chipped a little bit around the edges – some of us more than others. But those cracks and chips are what make us unique and beautiful. They teach us lessons about how to live our lives. How to be real, open and forgiving toward others. NO ONE is perfect so if you are struggling with perfection it’s time to let go. From one recovering perfectionist to another….it will never happen my dear friend. Let go now before everything falls apart. People will love you even if you are imperfect – in fact, they may even love you MORE!

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Mantra Power – You Got This!

I have a new mantra. It came to me during Chistmas time this year as I struggled with my fear of heights while climbing up to Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. It is “You got this!” And I’ve been using it ever since!

My Christmas present was a road trip to the Grand Canyon. Being curious and not in a hurry meant that we could take our time and see some other great places along the way. We stopped in Moab, Utah to see Arches and Canyon Lands, We also went to Zion and found a really cool slot canyon and of course saw the grandaddy of them all – The Grand Canyon.

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For people who do not have a fear of heights let me try to explain. We’re not really afraid of heights, we are afraid of falling! We have a constant horror movie playing in our head that shows us in exacting detail how we will trip over our shoelace, arms flailing and tip over the guard rail into oblivion. I’ve even imagined that the whole hillside might turn into a transformer and grab me by one leg hurling me into the deep abyss below.

I know, I know none of that is based in reality and seems rather ridiculous but I assure you my fear of falling kept me a good 10 feet away from any and all steep places and kept me shaking in my boots when traversing high places was a necessity. The funny thing is, I even get that feeling if I see someone else go near the edge! I want to grab them by the scruff of their shirt and haul their butts back away from the edge to safety!

This fear can be so great that some people never overcome it. They don’t go up in tall buildings, they don’t fly and they certainly don’t walk across the bowl to Delicate Arch!

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In Yoga we face that same fear.  Especially when we work on inversions. Falling during a pose can be very scary.  So scary in fact that some people never even try. And if we do fall, it can take months to build up enough courage to try again.

I’ve been working on inversions for the last year and every time I tried to get upside down I would feel that same “flippy tummy” feeling and my brain would automatically think, “I’m probably going to fall.” After a year of failed attempts I tried telling myself “You got this!” and I finally had success! I found that I could move through the fear and actually achieve the pose.

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It’s amazing really how much control our mind has over what our body is capable of. Simply repeating this mantra makes every scary pose easier! I wonder what we could accomplish in life if we used a positive mantra for other things like job interviews, fund raisers, confrontations of any kid. If we could only stop the negative chatter inside our heads and remind ourselves “You GOT this!”

 

 

Home Sweet Bus?????

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I really don’t know what the hell I was thinking….. Well, that’s not exactly true. Back in October my boyfriend and I bought a 38 foot long Dolphin motor home to live in for a while. I thought it would be fun, we would downsize, live more adventurously, be outside all the time and that we would have that warm glowing feeling that comes from time spent together. I know a lot of our friends and family thought we were crazy and they were probably right. it’s not always great.

We are three months into our “Let’s move into an RV” experiment and I have to admit it has some challenges:

“It’ll be fun!” Yeah, if your idea of fun is cleaning constantly! I don’t know how such a small space gets so dirty! Most of it is the carpet. Our bus is covered in a light blue carpet that always seems to be full of pine needles, sand and grit. If you every get an RV with carpet – rip that shit out immediately and replace it with vinyl or wood – anything that is easily swept. It’s also fun if you like everything being smaller than in a normal house. We are only 5’8″ and we are too long for the couch, the windows all fog up every time we take a shower and the “office” is your lap. Yoga space appears when you push out the slide out, move the garbage can and fold down the extra counter space!

“We’ll downsize” That we did for sure! We didn’t need to bring any furniture. We brought our clothes, a few books, kitchen stuff and  just a few pictures and pretty things we loved AND the size of our bus keeps us from buying more crap that we really don’t need! And that’s a really good thing! Luckily we also have huge storage space under the bus. We don’t even have half of it full so if we did go on a shopping spree we’d have room for it all!

“We’ll live more adventurously!” How do you define adventurous? Is it adventurous to have to clean out and repair a frozen potty drain after a winter storm? is it adventurous to have to take apart and clean out the toilet when all your “stuff” gets clogged in it? Is it adventurous when your jacks start to sink into the ground because of all of the rain we’ve been having?

“We’ll spend more time outdoors.” Sure, we could spend a lot of time outdoors if only it didn’t rain so freaking much here in the Pacific Northwest! We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country but it’s really hard to get motivated to go out an enjoy it when it is raining every day! Actually, we have spent a lot of time out away from the bus because we avoid going back! When we make a run into town, we find every excuse to stay in town as long as possible so that our return will be delayed just a little longer. (I’m giggling to myself here because we just did this today after being on a two-week road trip!)

“We’ll feel all glowy from being together” This one is actually true – on my part anyway. I am surprised that after 3 months of living in such a little space that we haven’t had more disagreements or run-ins. We live happily together in our small space and we are forging a great bond. I still like him!!!! I’m really lucky 🙂

So our plan for now is to live in this bus for the next 8 months. I’m sure it will get easier as the weather starts to dry up a bit. I have visions of moving the bus to a beach somewhere. Somewhere where we can see blue sky and maybe even the sun! Where we can sit outside and have a camp fire at night, maybe enjoy an  adult beverage and have people come by to visit….ahhhh yeah….there’s another list of things I’m imagining…..I wonder how THEY will turn out?

Cheers from the rainy Pacific North West!