Get Moving

by Patricia Spadaro

cropped.start“You’re not good enough.”

It’s difficult to step onto the stage of life, spread your arms wide, and say “Hello, world!” when you hear disparaging voices rumbling around in your head reciting the litany of your past “mistakes.”

Although we might be adroit at hiding it from others and even ourselves, that feeling of being “not good enough,” often rooted in childhood experiences, can still be alive and kicking in the subterranean world that rules so many of our thoughts and actions today.

The problem with that scenario is that if you classify yourself as “not good enough,” when will you give yourself permission to start fulfilling your dreams? When will you finally enjoy what life has to offer right now? When is it okay to stop judging yourself, your relationships, all the conditions of your life against that illusive target of perfection? And when will you finally come out of hiding?

The Paralyzing Propensity to Procrastinate

Many of us have been duped into believing that everything we do must measure up to the stiff standard of human perfection. For those of us who are perfectionists (I’m raising my hand), that’s a trap that can shut us down and shut us up. We procrastinate and ruminate, analyze and spin our wheels instead of taking the next step, any step, even if it’s a baby step.

The sages of both ancient and modern times take a much more balanced view. While they certainly encourage us to strive for excellence, they also emphasize that the goal of our life is not to live up to some unapproachable ideal of mechanical perfection. Human perfection is not the goal. Learning to express more of your true self is.

The beautiful ancient classic of India, the Bhagavad Gita, gives the following antidote for the paralyzing propensity of too much perfectionism and procrastination:

“Action is greater than inaction: perform therefore thy task in life. . . . Greater is thine own work, even if this be humble, than the work of another, even if this be great. . . And a man should not abandon his work, even if he cannot achieve it in full perfection; because in all work there may be imperfection, even as in all fire there is smoke.”  (translation Juan Mascaro)

In other words, it’s better to do something rather than nothing. It’s better to put your time and energy into what you are called to do, deep inside. And it’s better to act now than wait for some future perfect time when your future perfect self is perfectly ready to perfectly execute the perfect project.

As a perfectionist myself, those wise words of the Bhagavad Gita are always a great inspiration (in fact, when I came across them again today they helped me get up the umph to write this post). They are a wonderful reminder to snap out of it and move forward.

You don’t have to be perfect to start giving your gifts. You just have to be you.

It’s time to get moving.  Now.

For more inspiration and tips to snap out of the “not good enough” syndrome and embrace your passion, read my book Honor Yourself: The Inner Art of Giving and Receiving, especially the chapters in Part 4.

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SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: What wakes you up when you’re stuck in procrastination or perfectionism? We’d love to hear…

Giving the Gift of Your Heart

by Patricia Spadaro

HeartBetter than bigger is the gift of the heart.

As little children size up their stack of birthday or holiday gifts, bigger and more always seem better. I’ll never forget the sobs that came from a little niece of mine one Christmas morning when she finished unwrapping the two gifts my husband and I had given her, only to see that her sister had an extra package from us to open. She felt cheated, even though we had carefully spent equal amounts of money on them both.

As adults, we may still pull out the mental measuring stick when it comes time to open our gifts. Yet take a moment and think about the times, as a child or adult, when you felt most happy, joyful, or at peace. Were those moments really defined by how much money someone spent on you? Or was it the time and attention you received or the intimacy and connection you experienced that made you feel exuberant?

The best gifts aren’t necessarily the biggest and most expensive ones. As the renowned Lebanese writer Kahlil Gibran wisely observed, “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” Do you have an experience you can bring to mind to remind yourself of that truth? I do.

One summer day, not long after my husband and I had moved into a new home, my almost five-year-old neighbor Sophie peeked through the bushes separating her backyard from mine and introduced herself. After she and I had exchanged some important facts about each other, like how old she and her sister were and the names of my kitties, she suddenly asked, “What’s your favorite color?” “Well, I like yellow,” I replied. In an instant, she was off, disappearing around the side of her house and calling behind her shoulder, “Stay right there, stay right there!” When she returned, she came bearing gifts. “Here’s a flower from our garden,” she announced, “a yellow flower.” With a smile big enough for the both of us, she stretched her arm toward me. She was carefully holding between her fingers a perfect yellow pansy.

It’s been a few years since Sophie graced me with her pansy and I’m sure she’s forgotten all about it. But I’ll never forget her gift—and the smile that leapt from her heart and landed smack in the middle of mine. Sophie knew instinctively what the beloved classic of India, the Bhagavad Gita, has taught for millennia: “He who offers to me [God] with devotion only a leaf, or a flower, or a fruit, or even a little water, this I accept from that yearning soul, because with a pure heart it was offered with love.” It’s not just what you give but how you give that counts. It’s not the size of the gift but the size of your heart.

How big is your heart?

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