Life Practice and Letting Go of Perfect

February 05, 2020

Life Practice and Letting Go of Perfect

Howdy Jewelry Fan!! Whew!! 2020 looks soooooo good on you! And hopefully me. But can we both admit that life is a bit wild? If you’re like me, you’ve got so much going on, personally and professionally. How do you keep track of it all? How do you find the grounded focus to help you navigate through the wildly oscillating energies of the days, weeks, and months? That’s a tough nut to crack and while it’s different for each of us, I think that choosing a Mantra each month helps me understand what direction I need to move the needle towards.

 

Let me tell you a story, it’s a yoga story, interrupted by life and then blossoming into a way of life.

Margaret as a midshipman

Ok. By now you must remember that I’m a USNA grad. I battled my way through those 4 years, one short 5’2” step at a time. As a woman, I had to drill down and out work, out-perform and out achieve my male counterparts to be perceived of as half as good. (Let’s not get into the nuts and bolts of this right now, Jewelry Fan. It’s a gender thing and this is a yoga story. Please don’t send me hate mail, I’m not a slobbering, raging, feminist (although a feminist I am for certain—but more like a humanist believing we all need to see the HUMAN in each other), I’m just a woman speaking her truth.)  I worked out. Daily. Hard. Sometimes twice. Always twice as hard. If a workout wasn’t two hours and didn’t leave me weak in the legs to climb to the fourth deck of Mother B, then it just didn’t count.

Margaret & her parents at parent's weekend Plebe Summer

Life interrupted. I got married, had my two boys.

 

Enter my second phase of workout. Tae Kwon Do. I didn’t just attend classes, I became a Second-Degree Black Belt, an instructor in training. I ran half marathons. I pushed relentlessly through the external world. In many ways, I craved the clean lines and regimen of the military, needing the structure and levels of achievement to mark my path and progress in the world. I enjoyed sparring. Oh Yes! Let’s put on some pads and see who can lay on the most elegant taps and kicks. I needed to notch off the colors and reach for the highest level.

 

Life interrupted.  I became a traveling artist. Maybe I drank a little too much when the shows were good, and a little too much when the money was bad.  I arrived at middle age—the median age really, of a human’s life.  Statistically speaking, I was halfway done.  I got a tumor in my jaw. I drew back from hard core workouts, worried, for the first time, about my external vessel.

 

Enter my third phase of workout. Hot Yoga. I’ve been practicing for the last three years. I love Bikram and Vinyasa Flow. I have a couple of amazing studios in Tucson (Summits Hot Yoga and Hot Yoga Tucson) and I pop into studios all across the country while traveling for shows. My yoga mat is perennially in my truck, ready to go, anytime, anywhere. For the first time in my life, I’m not working out to prove anything or achieve anything externally. I’m working out for me. I’m focused on the contents of the four corners of my mat. I’m working out to improve my internal journey, my internal well-being, to deepen my awareness of myself and my own container. I don’t want to be a yoga teacher; I don’t want to help anyone else achieve anything; I don’t want to compete at yoga competitions (yes, it’s a thing, no, I’m not a fan). It’s just me, my practice and myself. It’s a beautiful experience, to enjoy a practice of yoga.

 

And here’s where the Mantra’s come in. Over the past few years, I’ve realized that I have a lot of practices in my life. I have a bench practice, where I sit and fabricate jewelry pieces from ideas born into my head from a creative force beyond me. I have my aforementioned yoga practice. I have a business practice, where each day, week, month, year I fine tune the art and practice of owning and running my own business. I have my life practice, with subsets of practicing being a wife, practicing being a mother, practice being a sister, practice being a human.  You get the picture???

25th Reunion at the Navy Academy

It’s all practice. One moment, one hour, one shift, one day, one week, one month, one year. A series of practices choreographed by the universe’s most amazing biocomputer- my own brain. Your own brain. And all I, we, have to do is practice. In this moment. Practice. Little Mantra’s help keep me on track, and I’m sharing them with you, hoping they’ll help you keep on track too. Will you join me in practicing?

 

I doubt I will ever make perfect. Let’s reject the latter half of the “practice makes perfect” statement out of hand. I mean, perfect?? You haven’t seen my desk, Jewelry Fan, but it’s a work in and of progress, in and of practice. And it is definitely NOT perfect.

 

Huh.

 

Unless, practicing practice is perfect?? Is perfect really not a state of complete un-wrongness? Is the practice of practicing really what’s perfect?? To try, assess, adjust, take each moment as it arrives, with neutrality and an open heart?

 

Maybe? Maybe it’s just the yoga talking. Maybe I’m onto something. Wouldn’t it be great to give up the idea of perfection being complete un-wrongness and adopt the idea of perfection meaning continued practice?

 

I’m in, Jewelry Fan, and I hope you are too. OSJ has adopted a series of Monthly Mantras for 2020. I’ll be sharing them here, in the Journal, as well as on my social media (mentioned earlier in this journal entry (well, except for Tik Tok, but I’m hoping to score a wonderful intern to help me out with that)). I hope you’ll stay tuned and maybe, like a little sprout, surrendering to the dark, nutrient rich soil around it, you’ll start a life practice alongside me.

 

In the meantime, keep in touch, Jewelry Fan. Find me online 24 hours a day, at the OSJ store from 8-10 hours a day or at an Art Festival near you.




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