Be Here Tao: Week 2 – Perfectionism’s Biggest Lie
5000 years ago, the saints and sages of the planet taught that a human being has only two desires. I so believe this is still true today that I base the foundation of my work in the world on this ultimate truth. The two desires? A peaceful mind and joyful heart.
The wisdom of the Tao is deep and profound and the book, the Tao Te Ching, is life-changing.
Tao means “the way.”
Te means virtue or essence.
Ching means book.
The greatest reminder from the Tao Te Ching is that there is a natural way of living in harmony as we welcome a life of success. Taoism is not a religion. Taoism is not a philosophy. It is, indeed, an exploration into the nature of our existence. As individualized expressions of the Divine, we are asked to honor our individuality and be tender with ourselves … every step of the way. In fact, one of the greatest enemies of the Tao is the perception of the need to be perfect. As one of my favorite yoga teachers, Bri says, “Perfection is the absence of humanity.”
When I first met Mark as a new client, he was having severe and frequent panic attacks. He is not alone. I am seeing this condition more and more, not only in my counseling office but when I go out into the world to speak. Mark was working through his core belief that he was not intelligent enough, talented enough, educated enough, and that by virtue of who he is, simply not enough. I call it “The Perfectionism Syndrome,” and it is a condition that can be deadly to our health, relationships, finances, companionship and, especially, our soul purpose.
After listening to his story, I asked him who he thought he was … that he thought he had to be perfect when the rest of the almost eight billion people on the planet are not. We all make mistakes. It’s human nature. I actually got a wide-eyed gentle smile from him. “Hmmm, I never thought of that. I am not the only one who makes mistakes?” he softly asked.
The Tao asks us to respect our own nature and clarify our own personal patterns. Indeed, needing to be perfect leads us away from ourselves. Perfectionism is the call of the outer world, telling us that no matter what, we are not enough. I personally understood what Mark was experiencing. After a chapter of perceived failure in my life, I was burned out, exhausted and pretty good at beating myself up. I knew that in order to recover and begin to live in harmony again, I needed to first find my own natural rhythm. Not only did I need to rest and renew, I needed to change my thinking and begin to develop a new belief system based on the truth of my magnificent being.
My first week’s homework to Mark was 3-fold:
First, spend time exploring his own natural rhythm. He was to write down when he felt the most energized and clear-minded. Second, he was to go out into the world and not only celebrate his mistakes but come back the next week with at least one good story of his imperfection. And third, he was to come to this website and check the menu for the BE HERE TAO series. He was then to print off six copies of the Tao-inspired affirmation; “I come from Greatness. I allow Greatness. I am Greatness.” and put them everywhere he would see them.
Needless to say, the next week when he came in, he looked lighter and felt better. He still had a lot of work to do on himself, but he had turned the corner from his deepening self-imposed despair.
1. Spend time clarifying your natural patterns. When do you feel most alive? Morning or evening? What are the talents and skills that define you? Where are you not in harmony with your beingness?
2. Celebrate your mistakes this week.
3. Repeat often: I Come from Greatness, I allow Greatness. I am Greatness.