Inner Work

The Freedom of Being Half-Assed.

In two weeks I will be starting my Master's degree in Counselling Psychology.  For years I have considered many avenues for graduate study, more often than not I have been tyrannized by the thought of making the wrong decision.   I've stewed about what the outcome might be – would I be employable?  Would I ultimately enjoy the work?  If I open this door what about all the others that would shut?  Most of all, I've worried about the time and energy it would require from me.  But, despite the confusion and fear I am continually haunted by academics and have an undeniably, seemingly DNA based penchant for learning.  So, this is how I solved my problem:  I became 100% committed to a half-assed approach to accomplishing this goal.  That's right – a 100% commitment to a 70%ish effort.  

Now, this doesn't mean that I don't want to learn, and it doesn't mean that I won't immerse myself in the knowledge necessary to help people.  It means that, contrary to my undergraduate experience, I won't be obsessing about perfect answers or being the most glaring keener in my cohort.  I intend to approach my studies with the attitude I take into yoga – if I try too hard in one aspect of my asana the rest of my body will suffer.  Until I can let go of perfecting a pose I cannot feel the richness of the conversation within my whole being.  Likewise, if I try too hard in academics the rest of my life will suffer –  my conversation with the other elements of my world would be thwarted.  It wasn't until I could genuinely commit to letting go of perfectionism that I was free to make the choice to go back to school.   

It feels so good to give myself permission to relax my efforting.  It has been yoga that has taught me how to do that.  Through senstive inquiry I have become more aware of when messages arise within me to do better, get it right or be the best.  And, through yoga, I have found out that there are other things that can feed me much more completely than following the compulsion of my perfectionism.  These things are self-respect, balance, stillness and space – none of which can thrive in the suffocating mud of over-achieving. 

Now, with this intention embedded clearly in my heart, I look forward to the next few years of deepening my understanding of human psychology.  I feel excitement for the many ways that it will intersect or contradict what I understand through my yoga journey.  I feel satisfied that the live-wire of my intellect has a place to plug into, rather than just voraciously flying about in search of learning.  And most of all I feel thrilled that I can be both mother and wife and pursue the things that have called so loudly all my life.  That I feel blessed is an understatement.