I ain’t no saint; certainly not qualified to be anybody’s guru. I could never live the life of the ascetic; not with all of the flavors to try.
My 37 years have been colorfully riddled with one night stands, substance abuse, terminated pregnancy, cheeseburgers….
And all that may seem like ancient history, but even now I am far from the perfect specimen of a ‘Yoga Teacher.’ I mean, mine probably wouldn’t be the image beside the Wikipedia definition of yogini.
I consciously, and quite enthusiastically, eat sushi.
In Vrschikasana, my feet don’t quite touch my head.
I use too much water in my almost daily bath and I often put my compost in the trash.
My favorite movies are action packed; I am fascinated by a good heist.
I listen to Led Zeppelin and Snoop Dog as frequently as Krishna Das and Wah!.
Every now and again you might catch me in a little bit of mischief, with a glass of red wine, wearing high heeled shoes and out past 10.
And I judge, oh how I judge! Mostly myself.
I don’t listen enough. My love comes with conditions. I constantly tango with impatience. I want my house to be cleaner, my teeth whiter, my practice stronger. I want my work to be more selfless, my mission clearer, my love unconditional.
I want to stop judging myself.
But I think my dragon of perfectionism (or imperfectionism) has finally met its match:
He spoke to me after yoga class and it came straight from the heart. In fact, his eyes were moist with the dewy sweetness of honesty.
“I have been struggling with some issues for awhile.” he said. “And everything you shared today hit home. It was the first time I have felt truly inspired to open my heart and be free.”
Now my eyeballs were starting to sweat. I wanted to reach out and hug him, but I knew he had more to say. “And I have been to lots of other yoga classes, but yours was different.” he continued. “See, in others I would look at the teacher and see them as being so amazing: doing these postures that I could never do, living this life that I could never live, being a being that I could never be. But you……..”
And once and for all he gave purpose to my imperfection. And all I could do was laugh.
I am here to inspire through this message: If I can do it, you can do it too.
If I can step into the flow of grace, so can you. If I can aspire to live and love fearlessly, why not you? If I can call myself a yogi, than certainly you are one. If I can dare to live as if it makes some kind of difference, you absolutely have just as much authority to follow your own dreams and serve from your heart.
In the words of Ani Difranco, “I am 32 flavors and then some.” And when I look with the eyes of compassion and gratitude, I love every facet of my jewel: my perfect imperfection and my radiant ridiculousness.
My value is not measured by my beauty or my size or my skill. And nothing I accomplish will every be enough to summarize my worth.
I dare you to come with me, as we radically shift what it means to be worthy.
And I say to you in my awkward humility: You, too, can be perfect like me.