Monday, April 4, 2016

Day 9. Project Begin Again: Perfectionism, Moving Forward, and Listening to Dreams...

“Perfectionism.... It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it.” -Anne Lamott

Day 9.  First sip of coffee. Short time to write.  My brain and being are still saturated in dream residue.  One of those mornings where I wake up knowing I slept so deeply but then almost having a hard time separating my reality from my dreams.  I've been awake for a good part of the hour now and I still can't believe how real my dreams were.  Dreams are weird.  Sometimes I barely dream or remember them if I do, and others, like last night... SO REAL.  How can we not believe in even some small way that dreams hold meaning for our lives??  I know, I know... Science tells us one thing about what dreams are but then again, there's a heck of a lot I believe that "Science" or "research" can't explain.  So, does that mean it isn't true?  Whatever these kinds of dreams are all about, I know they certainly lead me down a path of thought and reflection I haven't been down in awhile.  They help me brush the dust off some old memories and look at my reality from a different angle.  I like this.  Funny, these dreams.... they are a wake-up call of sorts even though they happen while I'm fast asleep.

For the sake of time, I am going to skip my guidelines and my format from my last posts in this project.  I'll include the link and move on:  Project Begin Again.  

I will, however remember the guideline: Keep It Simple.

The quote above came from my Facebook memories this morning. A quote I posted several years ago still resonates today.  I think these words will always be a good reminder in some way because I know myself enough to know that as much as I grow into myself and break through the roadblocks that once held me back, these qualities still lurk somewhere in the recesses of this brain of mine. Anne Lamott writes about Perfectionism here but I think you could also insert FEAR, SELF DOUBT, COMPARISON.... you could put in a whole slew of words to describe the parts of us that hold us back from something.  Whether it be that voice of "reason" in our heads telling us we can't do something because ________________ or the part of us that says someone else can do it better or the part of my brain that tells me how scary and embarrassing it would feel to go for it and not get that ____________.

As I read this quote, I think of the years ahead.  No, I'm not skipping ahead and forgetting to be present but I am taking time to think about what I might want to be doing down the road when I am done taking this time to be mostly home with my kids.  I don't want to be a substitute teacher forever. Don't get me wrong though... being a sub here is really awesome actually.  Especially when I can work limited days and only teach for specific schools and teachers if I want.... teachers and students I already know and have relationships with.  This is nice.  Instead of substitute teacher, I prefer to think of it as an educational consultant.  ha ha.  Kidding.  But seriously, I feel grateful to be in a position to say that when I think of what it will take to return to the classroom full time, I know it will have to be a pretty special position in a pretty special school  that will allow me the freedom to teach the standards in a way I know best for my students.  Especially with Literacy.  I know the kind of school culture that will lure me in and make me want to be back more than anything.  But I also know myself and how I can be so incredibly confident and passionate on one hand and then, if you catch me on a certain kind of day, I can doubt myself or hold myself back in ways that baffle me after the fact. I know this stuff... teaching is definitely a passion and a gift for me.   So how does it happen where I can get to a place where everything in life looks harder than it is and the idea of putting myself out there for something I want so badly can feel SO RISKY and SCARY....  All those stupid perfectionism phrases can creep in the thought patterns and I can forget reality.

I mention the above because I think it relates to SO much in our lives.  The reality is:  When we believe in ourselves and go after what we most want in life with confidence and strength without worrying about having to have everything PERFECT, we set ourselves free.  We move forward instead of getting stuck.  We shine.  And others see our confidence and energy and desire and they believe it.  Just as we should believe in us too!  It's the people that go after something without fear and doubt that almost always get the job or position or whatever that target they are shooting for!  So, when the time comes for me to move forward in life, I WILL.  With confidence.  Because if I shut out perfectionism and fear and that big hairy monster that makes us look up and try to see the entire path ahead before we can take one tiny step forward....If I continue to step forward without these old weights, I know life will continue to unfold wonderfully.

Here's to skipping ahead on those stones with joy while taking in all the life around you!  Here's to not getting stuck and unable to take the next step because everything isn't quite perfect enough.  Here's to trusting our gut and heart and passions and going for it!  As Anne Lamott says,

The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it.”

I want to die knowing I took a lot of hops forward with a heart full of hope, trust, passion, and JOY.


  • Enjoy this day.
  • Have the best kind of morning with my kids where we have very little stress and lots of good connections and kind words between all of us (even though we are late now because of this stupid blog).
  • Let my car rides with my kids continue to be opportunities to hear their hearts and life stories.  
  • A day with my mom (as I mentioned in my last post)
  • Quiet house
  • Good coffee
  • A sore body that is a sign I've been working it hard and will likely see some good results
  • Dreams that make me think.  Dreams that wake me up to life.  Dreams that make me dream a little bigger in my awake life too.  
Be the Change:
  • Continue to share my heart and mind with those in my life or even on here.  Whenever I hear that voice in my head that wants to close up because I feel vulnerable for sharing something, I remind myself that I think it does make life better when people share bits of themselves that are real and make them relatable.  No, I don't think I'm on Ghandi level with my "Be the Changes" but I think that's just it, we do make change in the world when we see even the little things as important change makers.  It's like those rocks Anne Lamott talks about...   we don't need to be doing something so huge that makes world news in order to be moving forward and doing something good for our world!  

1 comment:

  1. Facebook reminder is one of my favorite things... I love that reminds me a little of "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good." or something like that...which I can't exactly recall who it's from...and everything else you wrote...about not skipping time, etc...