practice makes perfectA couple of weeks ago I was having a really HARD time letting go.

We were innsitting for the first time in a year, so I was feeling a bit rusty on all the procedures and protocols necessary to run the Inn.

This new website was supposed to be live, but it wasn’t yet.

And I was under deadline—that’s always creates the most pressure—or my old website would quietly slide into oblivion without a new one to take its place…Ugh.

And it was my birthday, but the restaurant I wanted to eat at was unexpectedly closed and I had no bandwidth to enjoy it even if it had been open…I had been working all day. On. My. Birthday. I couldn’t let go. I had to work, to get the site done. Even on my birthday.

This created the most stressful experience I have had in a really long time.

I was doing everything right—working hard to get all the myriad details needed to get my site live. And I kept running into roadblocks. Unexpected outcomes. New things to learn. More support to ask for…and support people not as readily available as needed—at the same time that I was managing guests checking in and out, cleaning guest rooms, feeding guests, and trying to have a relationship with myself and my husband…

It all came to a head the night I was planning to make my site live, when the software I was using to build the site became really glitchy.

I was going over the last details to make sure all the pages were really ready, and I found I needed to add a period—one small period.

I opened the page, added the period, updated, and took a look.

And ALL of the paragraph breaks were gone on the whole page! Even in sections that I had not opened! ALL of them!!! My page was one huge chunk of text, unreadable, and certainly not going-live ready…

Over the next hour, I patiently added the spaces back. And each time, while one space would be there, another would disappear. It was a nightmare! It literally took an hour to fix all the mess that adding one period created!!

And then I had to go on to other pages and the same thing kept happening…

I was using all my mindfulness practice tools. Sensing my tense body, noticing my thoughts, feeling my anger and frustration…I even got up and jumped up and down yelling out my anger, shaking, punching, and letting it course through me. Dave held space and witnessed this for me. (Thank you, honey!)

By the time I got to the last page, there were still a few spacing problems, but most of it was OK. It was late and Dave was headed to bed. I told him I had to stay up and finish it. I had to fix this page. It had to be perfect…No matter how tired I was, no matter how tense my body felt, no matter…

And he challenged me on this. This is the beauty of conscious relationship!

Dave knew that I have a completion compulsion. It’s part of my Enneagram type One personality, I’m afraid…It serves me well in many ways, but following it in search of the ever-elusive perfection of this page was potentially opening up a huge can of worms, perhaps even another hour of fixing (and jumping up and down)…

My ego personality SCREAMED internally that I HAD to stay up and fix this before making my site live. I couldn’t make it live if it weren’t perfect!!

And instead of listening to this habitual message, I took a deep breath and agreed with Dave. I could live with that imperfect spacing. I could let go of needing the site to be PERFECT before making it live.

I made it live. I did not announce it quite yet, but making it live and imperfect gave me a chance to let go even a little more. I could breathe more deeply. I could get more rest. I could stop filling every moment inbetween guests with computer work.

I. Let. Go.

Of something that felt so familiar, so seductive, so comforting in its own way.

And it created space. Space for me to experience more life, more ease, more joy. More, not less.

It’s like instead of continuing to toil around the outside, I quickly jumped into the center of the collage. (If you click on it, it will expand so you can see the details.) All that perfecting and perfecting wasn’t getting me there, even though I was efforting like crazy. Letting go dropped me there. In that openness. In that bounty. In that ease.

How do we let go?

I have often argued that we can’t do it with the will alone, which is why it can feel a bit crazy-making when someone tells us to just let go…If we could, we would have already! But realizing it would be healthy to let go and actually being able to are totally different things.

I love what my Diamond Approach teacher says about this—we practice so that we can be available to grace. I think it’s grace that allows us to be able to let go, not will.

I have been practicing for many years to open to grace. In this case seeing my perfection pattern over and over again, allowing more imperfection in small ways, feeling the pain of the perfection push, feeling the ego distress of not perfecting something, feeling healthier and happier when I don’t let perfection rule my life…

These years of practice allowed me to be open to the grace that Dave reminded me of in that moment—to relax my ego’s grip and drop the perfection pattern, to let go.

Fall is a season for practicing letting go. As we look back at what we’ve grown since the Spring, and consider what we want to bring with us, we also discern when it’s time to let go. For me, it’s a long-held habit, a way of knowing myself that needed to go. What is it for you?

If you’d like to practice letting go with me, I have a few beautiful opportunities for you:

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