December 4, 2014

The Beauty of Imperfection.

ugly duckling
I’m hesitant to even say the word beauty because in our western culture beauty is associated with perfection.

As a woman, I have tried to live up to this ridiculous image and it doesn’t work because no matter how hard we try, beauty has nothing to do with perfection or even looking a certain way.  In fact, the true definition of beauty is an experience often involving an interpretation being in balance and harmony with nature, which may lead to feelings of attraction and emotional well-being. Beauty, in this case has nothing to do with perfection.

The truth is, we are all flawed. Our imperfections are what make us human.  Some may interpret my life and think I have it easy because of the way I look or the life I’ve created for myself. On the outside it may appear to be “ideal.”  But on the inside I am no different than any one else and the struggles and challenges we all feel to be seen and heard.

It’s taken me a long time to know and believe that beauty often lies in the broken places that we don’t want the world to see. It’s in those moments of raw vulnerability.  I had a friend tell me, that during a time that I was breaking down about some doubts and fears I was having around my value as a yoga teacher she thought I was more beautiful than ever.

Looking back, I spent many years in an effort to uphold some warped image of “perfection” and in doing so, completely denied my authentic self. Many of us, especially women, have experienced this. It’s undeniably painful and yet has been the fire that has fueled my spiritual transformation.

Even as a yogini I have been terrified to show people my imperfections, the part of me that doubts herself, doesn’t feel like she’s smart enough or strong enough. What if they see how much shame I feel around my sensitivity and shyness and how small and weak I actually feel on the inside sometimes? What will people think of me if they know I am flawed?

I used to hide behind my beauty in an attempt to prevent others from seeing what was true and it became the very thing that isolated me, even from my yoga students. To them, I was “not approachable” or too “intimidating” to talk to. After a while, this was simply not okay with me.  I knew I had to work to come out of my shy cave and connect with others. It was essential for my wellbeing and my soul journey.

So here I am now, in my willingness to be open and live as Brene Brown has inspired in me. Live a wholehearted life, to let go of who I think I or anyone else thinks I am supposed to be and be the woman that I am—tender, sensitive, broken open and learning to love all of the parts of myself that make up the whole. I am far from perfect and thank Goddess for that. 

Ring the bells that can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen

I am aware of the little voice inside that wants even the writing of this blog to be perfect. In the end, knowing and trusting that even though it’s not perfect, it’s from my heart and that’s all that matters. ~


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Author: Alison Litchfield

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: flickr, flickr

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Maridell Dec 5, 2014 3:14pm

Thank you for sharing Alison. Your point is made, and could not be without your willingness to be vulnerable. Writing seems like a fun adventure that many of us would like to dip our toes in… but getting down to the matter without bs, is not an easy thing to accomplish. Good job!

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Alison Litchfield

Alison Litchfield, ERYT 500, has been a yoga practitioner for over 24 years. She fell in love with yoga just after losing her mother to cancer in 1990 when she stumbled into her first class here in Boulder at The Yoga Workshop with Richard Freeman. Her teaching is also strongly influenced by so many inspirational teachers and wisdoms handed down. Her classes and sessions weave together alignment, flow, wisdom and philosophy as it relates to our modern day life. She is a Certified Rolfer of Structural Integration and the co-founder of Devi Yoga, offering Teacher and Leadership Trainings as well as retreats, both nationally and internationally. Alison’s yoga practice has been an essential part of her healing process and personal journey and has been the guiding point in living her life with radical freedom and joy. She is a Yogini, a mother and a seeker of truth and loves to inquire into the nature of reality. Her path continues to be inspired by weaving yoga into all aspects of her life including motherhood and householder life, then through teaching, offering the wisdom yoga has offered her in any way she can. Some of her other passions include cooking and eating yummy food, hiking in the foothills, biking, skiing and playing outdoors as much as possible with her two boys, puggle dog  and husband. You can find Alison’s teaching schedule.