Progress vs. Perfection
July 3, 2016 § Leave a comment
July! Wow. Literally, half of the year has gone by in a flash. Where is that pause button?!
Anyway, a lot of us start a new year with a list of new years resolutions and since we are on the next half of the year, I wanted to share my progress (and how I’m still making them) on one of the things I told myself I would do.
I think it was late 2012 when I decided I would get into meditation. My first exposure to it was about 10 years ago when a client of mine (an Indian-American woman who had the warmest, prettiest smile ever) taught me how. Total count of meditations for 2012, about 20 times.
The next year, I joined a Vipassana Meditation bootcamp where talking, eye contact and gadgets were not allowed as we were there to learn how to meditate (practice ran for 10- 12 hours daily) for 10 days. Total count for 2013 – around 115.
2014, 38-ish? Ha!
2015, about 120.
As shown, my practice has been a gradual progress. I live and choose the word practice nowadays, it’s so much kinder and doable. Although… now looking at my 6 months result, I’m a little embarrassed. This is my progress of my 4-year practice?! (My self-critical side bobbing its head here… shush.)
Progress is progress. Overall, I’m definitely better at meditating more regularly. Obviously, I can do better and I am and I will. There were times in the past where I would set unrealistic standards – that all or nothing requirement I imposed on myself and then end up dismissing the aspiration because I couldn’t measure up to my own yardstick.
It’s nice to dream (to imagine the “glory” of achieving what it is we want to do or become “effortlessly”) but without considering the process on how to get there based on practical reality and being willing to go through trial and error until we find the way that works for us is a recipe for failure.
I would like to meditate daily – this is my ultimate goal but right now, if I don’t get to, I’ll do it the next day or the next after but I will keep at it whether or not I get to do so each day. The point is to keep getting back on the horse vs. abandoning what I know is good for me just because I miss a day or two or more. Of course if you look closer, the result is also a practice of peaceful, forward movement, of not giving up, of loving kindness towards myself for not giving me a hard time or be too self-critical if I miss a day (or several haha), for allowing myself to be human but also, for not giving myself excuses to stop just because Life got “hectic”. These are after all, the many other lessons learned from meditation.
Here are my suggestions for Progress Continuity:
1. Drop any mind drama of perfection or resistance, (I should have done this weeks ago, I’m so bad…I need a distraction to feel better, I don’t want to face this…vicious cycle of self-sabotage) shush critical thoughts and get back on the horse. Literally, stop those thoughts (or noise) and pick up what you need to do as naturally as you would scratch something that itched (you don’t even have a discussion in your head if you will scratch the sudden itch or put it off) and just go for it.
2. Change “shoulds” to “coulds”. The former is a strict waggy finger while the latter gives space to breathe and be. With “coulds”, we get options versus an obligatory ultimatum that just feels so heavy such that we resist doing the task at hand.
3. Keep things simple. Simplify processes. Life can be already overwhelming enough. Do what you gotta do and aim for good enough.
4. Change it up, spice it up. I’m not sure if it was from a TED talk but someone spoke about plateauing on a goal and then quitting. The speaker said something like, “Take the plateau as a period of rest for the next incline.” We can always get creative when something we have/want to continually do starts to get a bit dull.
5. Keep practicing. Life only stops when we’re dead. Ha! As long as we’re still here, let’s keep practicing, nobody else will do our Life for us. It is up to us, to create or design our lives the way we would love it.