Planned Imperfection



I have an amazing painting at my house that is done in the encaustic style. Beeswax is melted and applied to the canvas and there is also some pigment. The artist must work quickly to work with the wax as it hardens. My painting is a black and white portrait of a woman gazing wistfully upward. It is extremely well done, almost perfect, save for one feature. The artist, Bigoudi, always lets some of the wax and paint drip down the canvas, on purpose. She told us that she lets this happen in all of her paintings, to remind us that life is imperfect and so is art and that it keeps us real, just like her paintings. I love that she is not striving for perfection, she is striving for art and beauty and story.

I was reminded of my painting today because of another experience. I have been trying out a new way of eating to see if I can “rearrange” some parts of me that have caused me grief for many years. The regime is quite strict and I was lamenting to my husband that I have lost my enthusiasm for it. I love nutrition and food and am always learning about what is on the cutting edge of information. I have experimented with many different styles of eating and tend to jump in with both feet, into wildly drastic change. Of course, I tire of the structure and abandon it when I feel too deprived. I have learned that feeling deprived is one of the worst ways I can feel. There is nothing juicy about deprivation!

So anyways, I was mentioning to my husband that I was feeling deprived and my enthusiasm was waning, even though I was seeing results after only two weeks. He replied that of course I felt this way, I was trying to do the shift “perfectly”. He suggested that if I were a little more lenient and gentle with myself that I would probaly feel better and less deprived. I have not been one for breaking many rules in my life, although I am learning that not all rules are good rules. So, the last few days, I have planned for some imperfection. Nothing really major, but just some little moments where I purposefully eat what I am not supposed to. So long Good Girl, I am having a blueberry today! How clandestine! You may laugh, and I do too, but it is actually a really big deal. I have never before planned for imperfection. It is really liberating.

Today I was at a health food store with my 7 year old daughter, Zoe, and there were samples out on the counter. I gave her a tiny piece of banana bread and then took a little forbidden square of pleasure for myself. My daughter raised an eyebrow and a big smile grew on her face. She declared, “Good for you Mommy!” She knew I had just broken a rule and that it was a big deal. She likes to follow the rules too, so I feel like I set a really good example today. Definitely not the original vision I had for myself when I was a new mother, but infinitely better and more powerful. I am teaching her that a little fun never hurt anyone, that being gentle with ourselves is a great investment and that planned imperfection can be really, really liberating.

I am so grateful for the lesson I learned from my gorgeous painting. The black drips run down the stark white canvas in places where they shouldn’t be. They are reminders that imperfection leads to deep, deep perfection within because when we accept ourselves for who we are and know that “I am enough”, life becomes infinitely beautiful and fun.

PS Although it pains me to do so, I left a spelling mistake in the 3rd paragraph, at my insightful husband’s suggestion.

Read More →

Letting Go; My Mother’s Journey Inspires Me


Letting Go. Releasing. Moving on. These are words that come to mind as I embrace the reality that my mother, after courageously battling cancer, has accepted that these last few weeks, perhaps months, will be her last with me and my family. She is at peace with the path the Universe has her traveling and I am now appreciating how blessed I am for the opportunity to have been her daughter. While the experience can become painful or take all my energy and will to accept, the power of letting go is the strongest healing we as conscious humans have.

Even when we tell ourselves we’re ready, it’s seldom easy to truly let go. But when we do, both we and the other person in a challenging circumstance, be it a terminal illness, the ending of a relationship, loss of a job or a long time friendship coming to a close, can through the emotional and thought process of release, be the people we are intrinsically designed to be—loving completely without feeling we must control or be dependent on the other for our happiness, for our own peace. This surrender to truth can facilitate healing closure during profound interpersonal life transitions.

Today, as I sit with my mother in the Palliative Care ward in a Montreal Hospital, I’m reflecting on our mother-daughter journey we’ve shared in this lifetime. A very significant part of what I cherish is that she helped me to realize the gift of dance in my life.

Mum was admitted to the hospital very recently for pain management as a result of her advancing cancer. She was hesitant to come to the hospital for fear that she would not return to the comforts of home again; at this writing it appears that she in fact will not be returning home.

I believe that everything I have ever ventured to be and do in my life was inspired by this remarkable woman. Our relationship has had its ups and downs like all mother-daughter dances do, but my richest life lessons were learned through the example of her life.

There are natural affinities I’ve developed as her offspring, (like the love of a beautiful operatic aria and shopping!), personal mistakes I know I won’t make because of her life experiences, and roads that I will tread because my mom cleared the way making it easier for me to be successful on my path. At this time of acceptance and adapting to the reality that I will go on without my mother in my physical life, I reflect on just what it is to “let go” and I hope these simple affirmations resonate with you whenever you find yourself facing personal challenges. There is a lovely saying that I remind myself almost everyday; “If we don’t look, we cannot see, and if we can’t see, we can’t shift.” The healing and release will happen when we truly let go and we allow a shift to occur within us, being ready for a new way of looking at things, a perspective that is a permission to ourselves to breathe and submit to the truth that only when we release and let go can we move on;

• To “let go” does not mean to stop caring. It means I can’t do it for someone else.
• To “let go” is not to cut myself off. It’s the realization that I can’t control another.
• To “let go” is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.
• To “let go” is not to try to change or blame another. It’s to make the most of myself.
• To “let go” is not to care for, but to care about.
• To “let go” is not to fix, but to be supportive.
• To “let go” is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.
• To “let go” is not to be in the middle, arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own destinies.
• To “let go” is not to deny, but to accept.
• To “let go” is not to nag, scold, or argue, but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
• To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.
• To “let go” is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.
• To “let go” is to fear less and to love more.

With that, to “fear less and love more” the bittersweet launch of the 2nd edition of my book, Textures, inspirations & practices For A Life Richy Lived comes at such a poignant time. This is tribute now to my mother, with the proceeds of the sales to be given to cancer patient hospice and palliative care facilities. This will be an ongoing legacy to my mother and each day will remind me of her gifts and confirm the peace in the letting go. The book features photos of me dancing on the beach in Mexico, working with the practices I teach in my workshops and healing retreats. To dance is something my mother encouraged for me from an early age. She spent countless hours in all kinds of weather chauffeuring me to classes, performances and competitions. She believed in me and nurtured what she saw lighting me up from the inside. I’m humbled, moved and honored to continue dancing in memory of my beautiful, graceful and loving mother. In this last chapter of her life, we are dancing together in greater stillness but also in deeper oneness. Bless you Mum. Namaste.

Read More →