An excerpt from The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling In his new book, the Director of Kripalu’s Institute of Extraordinary Living uses Krishna and Arjuna’s dialogue in the Bhagavad Gita, as well as the stories of “ordinary” and “extraordinary” lives as lenses through which to explore [...]
I am a certified yoga instructor and a licensed massage therapist, I’ve been meditating for 25 years, and I have countless new-agey weekend degrees. Still, somehow, five years ago, I found myself working not in a spa or ashram, not teaching yoga or giving massages, but writing vocabulary workbooks for the SAT test. These were [...]
Each of us is born with a unique gift—and a sacred duty to fulfill its promise. Do you have a clear sense of your purpose in life? I’m asking all my friends this question these days. I guess I’m preoccupied with it because I’m going through a phase—at midlife—of wondering about my own life. You’d [...]
In this video, Tara shares an emotional story of how meditation helps her find refuge as she learns to live with a genetic disease. (4:13) Jennifer Mattson, guest blogger Tara Brach charts a path to true refuge “Yoga is seeing life the way it is.” — Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras In her latest book, True Refuge: [...]
I see my own concerns about fulfillment played out nearly every day of my professional life. I work at one of the biggest holistic retreat centers in America—Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. We see more than 35,000 people a year here in our sprawling, former-Jesuit monastery perched high up in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts. Our guests come for various kinds of retreats: yoga, meditation, self-inquiry, couples’ work, healthy living. And almost every single one of them comes here in some phase of the mission to find this secret, hidden inner possibility spoken of in the Gospel of Thomas.
The road from the unattainable to the beauty of the reasonable
Cheryl Kain, guest blogger
“Perfection is the enemy of excellence.”
I spent my teens through my early forties chasing perfectionism, in everything I wore, wrote, performed, thought, ate, and spoke. My deeply insecure core instinctively poured my “flawed” self into countless self-help books, groups, and ways of creating a “perfect” persona. I’ll break it down for you: In search of the perfect body, I starved myself or, at least, politely deprived it. Leaving the house sans perfectly-nonchalant-but-fiercely-hip outfit was not an option. I needed the perfect vibe or I didn’t deserve Los Angeles to see me.
If I wasn’t a full-time, seven-days-a-week yogini, I was a failure. If my singing career didn’t land me a record deal with a major label and a European tour, then what was the use? If I wasn’t an international celebrity already, then why bother? Life felt frustrating, sad, and heartbreakingly unsatisfying.
What’s insidious about perfectionism—or, more accurately, the pursuit of perfection—is that it leads nowhere. Wait, I take that back. For me, it led to frustration, chronic low self-esteem, heart palpitations, extra weight (funny how dieting can do that), and the soul-crushing feeling that nothing in my life would ever be good enough. I could never seem to do or have or be what was perfect.