I am working on figuring out how to make Seedpod Yoga super helpful and supportive for you.  Please take a few minutes to fill out my survey and let me know how you are doing and what you need.

What are your ideals?  We tend to spend a lot of time wandering through our minds thinking about how things could be, about how things should be.  We wish for an ideal body, a Pinterest perfect living room, happy, loving, obedient children, the ideal job, the ideal boss, the perfect meal, or perfect cravings for healthy food… And then we come to and realize that this moment we’re in does not match the ideal.  There is a gap between what we are actually living and that which we hope for or even expect.  I imagine it like two circles– the small circle of reality inside the bigger circle of the ideal.

There are three ways we can deal with this truth of life here on earth.

First, we can ignore the existence of reality.  We can live as if everything is and should meet the ideal.  We can live as if our children are perfect, our home is perfect, our job is perfect– but we’ll be in for a rude awakening.  Inevitably our our day to day experience will fall short of perfection.  Inevitably our body won’t match that ideal we have pictured in our head, or our perfectly scheduled day will be interrupted by an unexpected emergency, or a church leader will make a mistake and fall short of the example we expect, a child will disrespectfully talk back, a neighbor will be rude.  We, ourselves, will fail to live up to the ideal over and over again and then we’ll berate ourselves for not doing better because we know better.  When we fail to acknowledge the reality of our reality we set ourselves up for disappointment, disillusionment, overwhelm, and depression.  This is the trap of perfectionism– a hamster-wheel of not-enoughness and perpetual disappointment.

Second, we can ignore the existence of the ideal.  We can let the realization that most of the time most things just don’t measure up lead to skeptical cynicism.  We can completely refute the possibility of an ideal family, a beautiful day where things flow smoothly, a genuine relationship.  We might say, “Why make the bed?  It’s just going to get messed up again tonight, anyway.” or “I’ll never get over these insatiable cravings for sugar, I might as well eat this whole pint of ice cream now.”  This is a pretty hopeless and cheerless place to be.

Do either of these places feel familiar to you?

There is another alternative.  The third approach is to acknowledge the gap– to accept the ambiguity between what we know is possible and what actually is.   We can completely inhabit our reality, we can allow ourselves to love what IS, and be attentive to the present moment.  We can acknowledge the possibility of expansion and improvement and realize that the power to approach it is now.  The only place we have any power is in the present moment.  When we can be open and accepting of what is right in front of us, when we can be open and accepting of what is happening inside of us, and when we act in the moment in small and simple ways– our reality begins to expand.  One conscious breath, one moment of eye contact with a loved one, one smile, one clean dish, one focused meal, and one inhabited step at a time that gap gets just a little bit smaller.

Now, we do have to examine the source or our ideals.  Are they based on truth?  Societal and cultural expectations?  Our perception of what we think our mom or husband or children or boss expect?  Maybe what we think should be ideal is a bunch of hooey after all!  Take a moment to view through a magnifying glass what you hold to be ideal– for your body, your family, your home, your work.  Do any of these things need to simply be dropped from the realm of your expectations?  Do you have a source of truth you can turn to to help clarify and define the genuine ideal?  Take some time to find that source and study it carefully.  I turn to scripture, spiritual leaders, inspired books, meditation and prayer.  Work consistently to toss the sources that are superficial, trendy, and fleeting.

Our lives and experiences are custom made for each of us.  When we forget that fact and have expectations of perfection we end up burnt out and overwhelmed.  When we sink into pessimism and lose hope that our reality can change and improve we completely stagnate.  But when we acknowledge the gap between the real and ideal, when we realize that we expand the sphere of our reality by completely inhabiting the present moment and acting now in small and simple ways, when we open our hearts to loving what is, maybe one day we can realize that what is real right now IS the ideal.  When we embrace the gap it begins to close.

I am working on figuring out how to make Seedpod Yoga super helpful and supportive for you.  Please take a few minutes to fill out my survey and let me know how you are doing and what you need.