I had an experience a while back that was pretty darned close to my worst nightmare -- the reality of me didn't live up to my online persona. Let me explain -- you see, I write this yoga blog (how's that for a DUH statement?!?!). I've been at it for quite some time. During that time, I've learned a whole heck of a lot about myself. When I write, it comes from the heart. I don't write for advertisers or to increase readership or to look good -- I simply let whatever is inside come out. Yes, I do hope that it resonates with someone. Yes, I do hope that a reader or two (who am I kidding -- I want everyone to find my posts helpful/useful in some way) finds the content helpful (or uplifting or useful or at the very least mildly amusing).
Yes, sometimes objects in the rearview mirror may appear closer than they are. And, I suppose, it would go that bloggers on the Web may appear more perfect than they are. Actually, I am far, far from perfect. I have never -- and will never -- proclaim to be perfect. At various times in my life, I've been a horrible mate/lover, friend, daughter, sister, yoga teacher, yoga practitioner, student, and any other role I might find myself playing. I like to think that this is a sign of my being human as opposed to my being a terrible person.
Sure, sometimes I sound all wise and "together" in my blog posts. The truth is, I make mistakes and make messes and have my moments of being a whole lot less than wise and far from together. So imagine my suprise when a friend made reference to the fact that it was suprising that I had done a poor job of being in a relationship with him when he'd gotten the impression (which is mistaken, by the way) that I was...somewhat perfect...from my blog posts. Ouch.
Granted, I wasn't alone in that particular relationship and it's a long way down from the pedestal. Still, the comment got me thinking. As a yoga teacher, students look to me for guidance. Sometimes I don't "get it right" when working with students. Sometimes I'll offer up a yoga practice that needs to be changed because it didn't work out for the student. They say that what people need to learn most is what they teach. I do my best. I pride myself on walking my talk (although it would seem that I falter sometimes, if that friend's comment is any indication). I don't tell my students to practice consistently and then fail to practice myself. I don't push my body when I am constantly telling my students to listen to theirs.
Still, I am human. Yes, folks, there is a real person writing these posts, not some yoga perfect machine. Hell, what would be the fun in that anyway? Who wants to read post after post of perfection? Perhaps it's just me, but I sure the heck wouldn't.
Often when I write a post, I'll have been inspired by a moment of insight that I experienced. This doesn't mean that I'm an expert at whatever I've written about. It means I'm in a practice. I'm not a yoga expert either -- I'm a yoga practitioner. I work at it consistently. I'd like to think that I've gotten better over the years but I'm still practicing.
My, oh, my how hard we are on ourselves! I notice it a lot with the yoga crowd. There's this ridiculous belief that regular yoga practitioners and/or meditators are more highly evolved and always patient, kind, flexible, compassionate, loving, even-tempered, etc. Um...no, my hands aren't always in prayer position with a namaste coming out of my mouth. Sometimes I -- HORRORS -- raise my voice. Sometimes I get angry. Some days I get on my mat and I'm feeling stiff as a board. Sometimes I'm so far from living my yoga in the world that makes me wonder if all of this practice has done any good at all. The good news is that I'm better at recognizing this than I used to be. Rather than living in a haze or being so focused on an ego trip that I thought I had all the answers, I can witness my behavior and be more conscious. Nope, definitely not perfect -- just in practice.
As I write this post, I'm thinking that what's important here is the strength and will to continue to practice -- even when it would be easier to fall victim to self pity over your "imperfections" and throw in the towel, or in this case, the mat. Why is it you keep coming back to your mat? Is it to execute perfect poses or is it to create some space in your body and in your mind, which will ultimately trickle down into your daily life and interactions with others. When you're on the mat, do you hold yourself to certain standards? And for all of you long-time yogis out there -- do you hold yourself to standards of perfection?
Here's the thing...when that friend said that I wasn't living up to my perfect little yogi/blogger persona, I wasn't horrified. Rather, I was proud to be me. Flawed, human, imperfect me.