Getting it Right

Transition-in-Progress , Acrylic on Canvas by Katie Schuessler

Transition-in-Progress, Acrylic on Canvas by Katie Schuessler


I remember when I was about to start kindergarten. I was one of those kids who was starting at the age of four because of my October birthday. I was also one of those kids who worried. A lot.

The night before school started, I cried to my mom. I told her that I was afraid that I wasn’t going to get it right, that I wouldn’t know what to do. “What if I can’t do it?” I wondered through my sobs.

36 years later, the same jitters plague me. Sometimes it’s in benign ways, like navigating a new route in a new city (um, hello BROOKLYN).

But sometimes it’s about something bigger.

When I left my new school on Wednesday and began the walk home in the sweltering, 96-degree humidity, tears sprang to my eyes. We’d been prepping all week and would continue to get ready for the students returning after Labor Day. I want to get this right, I thought with conviction. I want to do good, I pleaded. Something in me was begging myself to stay on course. At the same time, my heart felt like it was about to burst with love for what I do, and excitement to meet my new students. In that moment, I also got that it’s going to take time to get to know my new community, and that I might stumble along the way.

Having expectations of ourselves seems normal. But expecting to be perfect is something especially common to artists and creative’s. And it’s something I’ve struggled with since I was at least four years old.

In her incredible book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron offers that perfectionism “is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough—that we should try again. No. We should not.”

As I witness my inner perfectionist judge her own perfectionism, I see that I am caught in a loop of not-enoughness.

That day that I walked home and felt my heart expanding with love, I paused, took a deep breath, and listened for my authentic voice from deep within: You are exactly where you are supposed to be. You have learned so much that got you to this point. You know what you are doing and as long as you do it with love and integrity, you will succeed.

As Julia Cameron so eloquently says, “We always do the best that we can by the light we have to see by.” And that, my friends, is more than enough.

Love and light to all.

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