Come as You Are

In my last years as a professor, I saw something clearly: we give students little space to make mistakes; to mess things up in a safe environment; to experiment, fail, and try again. And now, away from academia, I see this pattern still. We don't often come as we are, we come as we think we should be.

"I can't take yoga class until I know every pose."

"I shouldn't share my difficulties, because I'll seem like a downer."

"I can't start a new project until I'm an expert."

"I shouldn't dance, because I'll look silly."

"I shouldn't dream, because I might fail."

I know this place well. I lost swaths of my life trying to be perfect; to always appear smart, put-together, happy, knowledgeable, and flawless. I gained back my life when I showed up, as is. When I'm real and vulnerable, I'm more connected to others and more effective in my work. I still prepare. I'm still dependable and thoughtful. But I no longer try to be perfect. Instead, I try to be more present. 

The reality is we're all flawed and we're all beautiful. In the words of Rumi: "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there." Come as you are.