Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nobody is perfect.

As I was prepping for Storytime Yoga and searching for some new reads by my favorite author/illustrator Peter Reynolds, I came across one of his recent blog posts...
Peter recently visited a school in NJ where 6th grader Sydney shared her essay reflection on his book Ish called Nobody is Perfect:

Nobody is perfect
by Sydney Abraham

Nobody is perfect. That is a fact.

Not a scientifically proven fact, but more like a fact that, quite frankly, most people refuse to believe. People want to be perfect. It is human nature to want to be 100,000,004% perfect.

I used to be like that. I would cry and scream and shout if I did something incorrectly. Everything had to be exactly accurate and correct. I would not settle for anything below amazing.

All that changed one day in first grade.

My first grade teacher read us a story called "Ish" by Peter H. Reynolds. This book illustrates that being a little imperfect is okay. It also suggests that older brothers are pests, but who doesn't know that already?

In the story, a little boy draws a picture. His brother belittles his picture and says all sorts of mean things about it. The boy, Ramon, was very upset. Ramon's sister comes and comforts him and tells him that his drawing is very good and that their brother was just trying to get on Ramon's nerves. She said the drawing was fine- not perfect, but good enough. Ish.

When I first heard that story, it was just another story that my teacher read to us during story time.

A couple weeks later, I was trying to perfect a picture that I was drawing. It wasn't turning out that way, and I was frustrated. I was not a happy camper. Then I remembered that book, "Ish", that we had read in school. At that moment, and at many moments that would follow, I realized that was so important that it needed to be perfect.
Settling for "Ish" was good enough for me.

It was that day, not when we actually read the book, but when I discovered its true meaning, that really did change the way I look at life.

To this day, whenever I try to do something perfect, I remember that one picture book that changed my outlook on pretty much everything that's important in life.

I still try to do my very best every day, but I know nothing will ever be completely perfect. I now know that if you try to be perfect in everything you do, then you will never achieve anything. You will be too busy trying to perfect everything that you've ever done. Of course, everyone is a perfectionist in his or her own way. I will not settle for any grade below an A- or a B+. Some people will spend an hour trying to make the finishing touches on a picture they drew for fun. Others spend endless amounts of time trying to improve in a sport they love.

For me, perfecting little things like these is okay, but I'd rather spend time improving, not perfecting, but improving, the bigger things in life. I believe that nothing in this universe is perfect, everything from the smallest molecule to the largest galaxy has its flaws.

Nothing is perfect.

It never has been, never will be.

Everything is a little imperfect, "ish", and that's just fine by me."

Sydney, you are amazing. What a great lesson to bring to your yoga class. So many times society sends messages to our children that we have to be perfect - that we have to look a certain way, wear the latest style, act a certain way, and like certain things just because everyone else is doing it. We feel pressure that our grades need to be perfect, our art needs to be perfect, our performance on stage or on the field need to be perfect. As a result, if we can't live up to these standards - we break down, we become hard on ourselves, we cry and scream and shout like Sydney did when something wasn't perfect. But like Sydney reminds us, NOBODY IS PERFECT.
Luckily, there's yoga. Yoga teaches us to be who we are in the bodies we're in today. As we move through poses on our mats we find that everyone is different - we find that nobody is perfect. There are poses that someone may be able to do that the person next to us may not be able to do - and THAT'S OKAY! We learn to breathe through the difficult times and embrace ourselves whether we can do the pose or not. When we listen to our bodies and treat them with kindness and respect - moving how ever we are comfortable, we begin to enjoy being who we are on the mat and we learn to take that with us off the mat. We accept who we are without judgement. We accept that we are not perfect...and that's the beauty of life. I mean, if we were all perfect - how boring this life would be! So be a little "Ish" and love you for who you are today!

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