Waiting for perfection

I have spent a lot of time waiting for the perfect moment. I would exercise, but only if I had the hour to do the complete work out. In the right clothes. With the right equipment. I would follow the diet plan, but only if I was going to be home to do it perfectly. I would quit drinking, but not until Monday, after the holidays, after my birthday, etc. The stars had to align. Or It was all for naught. I either passed or failed.
Life conspires to get in our way. Things rarely work out exactly as my plan indicated they would. And this caused me A LOT of distress. I was twisted up so tight inside I am surprised I didn’t implode.
Then one day events conspired to give me a life preserver. I grasped it tightly and stopped drinking. I didn’t have a plan of action. The timing was bad, as my birthday was the next week AND it was December. All I did was not drink. And the days passed by and the world didn’t fall apart without my planning and control. As time passed it became apparent that all the plans and diets and structure were not helping me one bit. So I let them all go.
So, in sobriety I try to live in the moments. If I don’t have an hour to get to my yoga class, I stand up at lunch and do a couple of poses. Sometimes I even take off my shoes! It only takes a few deep breaths to bring my awareness back into my body. To let the day fall away. To feel my strength and my inner peace. I still like going to class. The heat of the hot room. The energy of the other students. But that is no longer a REQUIREMENT for me to feel the day was a success.
Instead, Life has become a series of moments. If I choose the grapes instead of the chocolate bar, that’s fine. It doesn’t change what I have planned for dinner. I don’t need to pay for it by running a few miles. There is no tally sheet adding up my “good” and “bad” choices. Letting go of this idea has been so overwhelmingly releasing.
It is not easy to go from being a control freak to allowing things happen. I occasionally start creating a new plan, reading about a new diet, etc. And I feel my anxiety grow inside and I recognize I am not ready for restrictions. Or maybe I just don’t need them. Whatever it is, I listen to that inner voice saying “don’t do it” because that is what keeps me calm, happy and sober.
Perhaps this attempt at non attachment, or unconditional self acceptance, will stop working for me eventually. Earlier this year I worried that letting go of my strict eating rules and exercise requirements would result in instant weight gain and lack of fitness. Neither of these things has happened. I am forever amazed.
Wipe the slate clean. Do what you can, with what you’ve got. Make the next best choice. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Breathe Deeply. When in doubt, chocolate always helps. Some wise words I am trying to live by.
Stillness and Peace

Anne

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14 thoughts on “Waiting for perfection

  1. Giiiirrrrrrrl, I am so there with you! Being kind to yourself will always be the right choice, no matter if you walk 3 miles, make a delicious cup of tea or just sit somewhere in gratitude. 🙂

  2. Anne, I could copy and paste this and it could be MY post, bar the Yoga and December Birthday! I am getting there slowly, and isn’t it great. btw, if you did gain a few extra kilos, WHO CARES anyway. no more diets EVER for me, and just plain old self compassion all the way. oh, and losing the ‘attachments’.
    hugs from NZ
    Lisa
    http://www.thecword-compassion.com

  3. Oh, brother. How many more slaps to the head from the Universe do I have to get 🙂 Thanks Anne for this amazing and inspiring post. I can tell that I probably did that rationalizing (today’s not a good day to diet because…) every day for the past week!

    I really needed to read this, and I thank you for writing it!!

  4. I am always always making plans for sobriety, and then one little thing goes wrong – and it may have nothing to do with the sober plan – but it makes me give the whole thing up. ‘Make the next best choice’: really good advice for me. Thank you. Annie x

  5. I really love this way of thinking. I’ve heard this before from you and it really has given me permission to be a little kinder to myself (I’m listening!). I have always been so hard on myself- always made big goals and almost always accomplished them regardless of how I was holding up. My life was filled with “shoulds” and “have tos”….I feel myself slowly letting this all go. And for today. Everything only needs to be ‘for today’….For today, I just do only what makes me feel better, more empowered, more centered….which some days lately is absolutely nothing. This is a different way for me! But, I think it holds some real truths and is quite powerful. Thank you, Anne:) xoxo

  6. Loved it – very well said, my friend. Acceptance of ourselves, through thick and thin (no pun intended), and self-love = serenity. Easier said than done at times, but it relieves us of the need to be perfect for ourselves.

    Thank you for this – great to hear this even for myself!

    Paul

  7. I’ve been reading a book that a sober friend recommended, and like your post it suggests that we can strive too hard for what we think of as ‘right’ or ‘normal’. We tie ourselves up in knots about it.

    Thank you for writing this. Its really made me think.

  8. Love your blog lady! Letting go of structure is crippling me at the moment…I used to structure EVERYTHING, and now I don’t have the energy to do it. But if if I don’t it kills my motivation. How did you let go?

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