Accepting Imperfection: Lessons From a Yoga Teacher [Guest Post: Paulie Cole]
Today we have a guest post by Paulie Cole. It’s called Accepting Imperfection. This post really had me thinking about a lot of things in life. It also reminded me of my post about when I lost it because of an internet outage…Without further ado here’s Accepting Imperfection: Lessons from a Yoga Teacher by Paulie Cole.
I’d been teaching Yoga for the last couple of years. It’s amazing how quickly it became part of my identity. Someone would ask, “What do you do?” “I’m a Yoga teacher,” I would say with pride. What I was so proud of and happy about was that I was finally doing work I loved.
For the last nine months I hadn’t been teaching, as I was recovering from an operation on my left leg and hip to correct a long standing mal alignment. I was always planning to teach again, so during this time of recovery I created a new logo and website, also incorporating my other offerings of Reiki and Women’s Retreats. Everything was ready to launch when I felt recovered enough.
Unfortunately, as I prepared for and then taught my first couple of Yoga classes, it became very clear to me that I still could not teach without causing pain to myself. The surgery had greatly improved my comfort when standing and walking, but moving my hip into most other positions still caused pain and discomfort.
I had to make the difficult decision to stop teaching Yoga altogether. It wasn’t easy to let go of this part of my life, so I performed a releasing ceremony to acknowledge and give thanks for the many lessons learnt on my Yoga journey. A few of these lessons were:
- Actually completing my teacher training. My usual pattern when things got tough was to quit. I had many physical challenges throughout my life, which of course continued during this course, and true to form I almost did quit. However, there was a teeny, tiny part of me deep inside that knew I had to break this pattern and that I could do it, so I reached out and told people I was struggling. It was really hard for me to ask for and accept help, but ultimately I couldn’t have done it alone and I’m grateful to those who helped me.
- Clear communication skills. I’d been asking The Universe for years to help me improve my ability to communicate, and here was my opportunity. It was necessary for me to learn to communicate clearly in order to successfully instruct poses, meditation and guided relaxation.
- Anything worthwhile takes time and effort. For me, I found that being prepared and practicing what I wanted to teach, was very important to feeling more confident when standing in front of a class.
- Everyone feels fear when doing something new. Everyone. When one of my teachers said this, it was life changing for me. It may sound obvious to you, but I had never, ever known this before. I honestly thought that most people were just braver and more confident than I was. Many people in my course, including me, were terrified of beginning to teach. Because of this lesson, I knew there was no way around it, but to be shit scared and do it anyway. Over time I became more comfortable.
After reflecting on my journey, I felt that perhaps it wasn’t really about Yoga at all, but what I needed to learn along the way. I’m very grateful for those big lessons that will serve me well throughout the rest of my life.
Now I stand here, ready and open for what is next to come. I know I’m a valuable person with much to offer the world. I’m sure there are hundreds of different possibilities and opportunities out there for me.
Deep down though, if I’m honest, there’s a small part of me that continues to feel “less than” people who have no physical limitations. People who can do any work or exercise they choose to, people who can wear whatever clothes or shoes they like. I sometimes feel envious of and inadequate to them. But this quote I read recently in Sark’s book, “Succulent Wild Woman” helped to put things into perspective,
“Our limitations, our imperfections, our mistakes…
These do not reflect our inferiority, but are part of being human.”
Yes it is true that all humans are imperfect. And the upside of all these challenges and lessons is that they actually give me something to write about!
Paulie Cole loves to nurture people and help them feel more peace, relaxation and deep connection. She gives Reiki treatments and holds Women’s Retreats. Ultimately all of her work is about helping people improve their wellbeing. And when she’s not doing that, you can find her enjoying nature, creating and worshipping her cat.