Divine Imperfection: The Night I Was Ready For The World But The World Was Not Ready For Me.
I spent the day brushing up on Sanskrit and practicing my routine over and over again.
I cleaned and blessed my mat, prepared the perfect playlist, and laid out Yoga attire for the evening.
I made sure I remembered to shave my underarms and polished my toes a lovely shade of pink, to hide the lingering battle wounds of donning minimalist footwear on my endless outdoor explorations of the summer past.
This was it: the night I put myself out there to begin teaching Yoga, the sacred practice that had filled my heart and lit up my soul.
Nervousness and anxiety slowly faded, and transformed into anticipation and excitement. I was ready to let my light shine and pass on this transformational gift of spiritual nourishment to those who wished to join me.
In the weeks leading up to that special eve, I analyzed, edited, reworked, and repeatedly revised my plan.
My anal perfectionist tendency was rearing its ugly head once again. I’m not one for the spotlight, and if I don’t have a plan, I’m just not comfortable. I wanted everything to flow perfectly and I was ready.
When I arrived at the center, I politely asked the woman at the front desk for the Studio A key. As I ascended the staircase, I could feel my heart begin to beat faster and faster. I paused at the door of the studio, closed my eyes, and drew in a long, slow deep breath.
“You got this!” I told myself as I exhaled, unlocked the door and stepped into the room. I carefully laid out my mat. The aroma of peppermint and lavender filled my nose, instantly calming me. I set up all my tools for the evening and glanced at the clock. 5:20pm. Students would be arriving in ten minutes.
I scanned through the routine once more, gently positioned myself in half-lotus, and floated my eyelids closed. The mantra Soham… Soham… reverberated in my heart as my breath easily flowed in and out through my nostrils.
I opened one eye and peered again at the clock. 5:30pm. There’s probably a line at the desk to sign in, I thought to myself.
I shut my eyes and retreated back into the sound of my breath. As I sat there, my awareness began to expand outward. My ears were filled with the sound of whistles, cheering, and the click-clack of sticks and pucks hammering the ice. There was quite the hockey game going on downstairs.
Then my attention shifted directions and I became aware of the sounds in the room next door. I first heard Beyoncé’s melodious voice, followed by “One, two, three, four!” Pitter patter, tap, tap, tap! Hip hop tap dance class. Once again I lifted an eyelid to look at the clock. 5:45pm.
At that moment, I realized I was sitting in the middle of a situation I had feared most. Nobody had shown up for my class.
Now, I am fairly certain this has happened to almost all Yoga teachers at one time or another, but this was the one thing I hadn’t planned for. I faintly gazed around the large empty studio and caught my reflection in the mirror.
I saw myself sitting in posture in this unfamiliar place, and although my heart felt heavy, a tiny Buddha smile swept over my face. I laid back on my mat feeling comfortably supported by the wood floor below me. I closed my eyes and dissolved into my breath.
Pratyahara enveloped me and sent me diving inward. The winds of the world swept me off my feet like a dandelion seed carried away in a sweet summer breeze, so I decided to stay and float with the ether for a while.
I had no idea how much time had passed when I returned to my senses, nor did I care. I sat up on my mat and stretched my legs out in front of me. It was then that the lesson of the evening finally dawned on me. I stared down at my feet, at my perfectly polished toes, and let out a wild chuckle.
All of this planning and prepping and perfectionism, my ego had gotten the best of me!
I sat in silent perplexed awe. Precisely on time, a voice from within presented itself. It was my soul, and she spoke in her quiet, delicate yet robust voice:
“Perfection does not exist. Perfection is simply a false idea humans have that eventually leads to disappointment. Oftentimes what we believe to be imperfections are the most beautiful aspects of ourselves.”
I looked down at my toes yet again, envisioning my so-called imperfections, my true nature, covered in petal pink polish and let out a long audible sigh. A warm glow washed over me and my lips curled into a tender smile.
The Universe had plucked me like a feather, and the cosmic winds swirled me around and compassionately placed me exactly where I needed to be. At the precise place, at the precise time. Right here, right now.
This was my lesson on letting go.
This was the message about forgetting expectations, precision and perfection, and always needing to be accomplishing something. After all, we are human beings, not human doings. And in this present moment, I just needed to be. I needed to release and surrender to the ebb and flow of life.
I gathered my belongings from that empty studio, turned out the lights and locked the door. That night, I was ready for the world but the world wasn’t yet ready for me. I left with a peaceful grin on my face, a humble heart, and immense gratitude for the experience.
That evening I learned to let go of ideals the ego selfishly presents to us. I learned, in the face of fear, to surrender to unknown possibility. To stop planning and over-analyzing, and instead be spontaneous.
Because, what happens in spontaneity and improvisation is often greater than our wildest dreams could ever imagine.
That night I was blissfully serenaded by the wisdom of life, encouraged to relinquish control, to never stop learning, and to never stop growing.
The Great Spirit, life itself, provides us with what we need exactly when we need it, for she is our greatest teacher of all.
Amber Mitchell is a massage therapist, yoga teacher, writer, and creator extraordinaire. Feeling most authentic and at home among nature, she finds peace and clarity atop mountains and insight and inspiration seaside. As a naturally curious and inquisitive Scorpio, she is constantly questioning all that is. She fiercely believes in being true and brave and wants to empower others to show off their creative originality through yoga, imagination, and a dash of perspiration. You can find her with her head in the clouds, fire in her heart, and bare feet on the ground dreaming up her next big idea on Facebook at or at her website.