I want to share a few thoughts on how to BLP. Nope, I'm not referring to your favorite international law firm or your a-list manufacturer of auto racing parts or your go-to opposition party in Barbados (thanks, Google, for letting me know all about BLPs).
This is all about how to Be Less Perfect.
I've been noticing in my clients and students how a desire to "get it just right" is interfering with the ability to just "get it."
When it comes to movement, this can really matter. Because if you're swirling around trying to be perfect in your movement, you're a heck of a lot less likely to do what needs doing. (This goes for all of life, btw.) This drive for perfection can be really useful to you - it can ensure that you stay in your boundaries, that you avoid injury, that you realize actual change. However, it just as often interferes. It becomes it's own form of protection, resistance, avoidance.
Not sure if you're stuck in this place? Notice if any of the following thoughts come up for you as you think about your exercise/movement/health:
- I'll do it after I do xyz.
- I don't have time for a full class, so it'll have to wait.
- I need to give this 100% attention and since I can't right now, I'll do it later.
- I'm overwhelmed at how much needs tending to.
- I don't know enough to do more.
- I'm not doing it right.
- I'm not ready.
There's lots of validity to these thoughts, and I always encourage you to go at your own pace, work safely, take really good care.
But what about the many times that slowness and safety become guises for perfection, and for the ways perfection itself is just a guise for fear?
It seems to me that this alignment work lends itself to connecting with those of us who are really interested in "getting it right." We feel safe knowing there are these objective bony markers and these movement parameters. It gives us security to know we can evaluate ourselves against them.
Again, super useful. Totally cool to know there's a "grid" and you can place yourself on it - whether that be the alignment points or the number of hours you need to be moving or the distance you need to walk each day or the limits on your computer time. Fantastic to use this grid to see if you're really working the part of your body that needs working, to see if you're accomplishing what needs accomplishing.
But for a moment, let's set the grid aside, shall we? Because for A LOT of you, this grid is interfering with how much you move and even how well you move. For a lot of you, it's also keeping you in a loop of fear and keeping you from engaging joyfully with your body, with the way it moves through space.
So let's break some rules, let's open ourselves up to finding more movement and even better movement. The way there? The way there is to BLP, or Be Less Perfect.
1. Play more. Exercise less.
Sometimes, just switching out the word "exercise" for the word "play" can help you shift into a more relaxed space when working with the body. You probably don't have as strong an association with perfection when it comes to play vs. the one you have with alignment or exercise, yeah? Remember that all of this work is playing around in the body, trying new things, seeing what works for you, seeing how your body shifts. Your entire life is like one grand exploration. Make it a fun one. BLP.
2. Exercise while you're doing other things.
In a way, I'm all about presence. To your body, to your environment, to others. But think of all the times you had an amazing conversation while doing something else, like walking or gardening or cooking a meal. You were able to prepare your meal and connect with your partner AT THE SAME TIME. And nothing suffered. If anything, it brought more joy to both the relationship and the meal prep. Think of corrective exercises in the same way. Maybe not always (focus can be really great), but let's be clear, if it's a question of doing an exercise less perfectly or not doing it because you can't devote your full attention to it, BLP.
3. Make it shorter.
Yup, you ideally calf stretch for 60 seconds on each side. You ideally walk 4-6 miles. You ideally finish the full recording of the exercise class. But we're not always working with ideals. So instead of NOT doing something because you can't do it for that perfect length of time, just BLP and stretch less, walk less, cut the workout short.
Over the last half a year, I've been more focused on how to BLP. I've been applying this to relationships, to my business, to what I write, to how I move. Truthfully, it's improved just about every aspect of my life. I've gained great clarity in my relationships, I've grown my business significantly, my writing has made deeper and stronger connections with people, my body has become more resilient.
Maybe that's the thing. Resilience is all about imperfection. It's about fluidity and flow. It's about adaptation and rebounding. Resilience is about knowing there really is no way to "get it right."
So go ahead. BLP. It's what your body needs.