March 3, 2015

Come as You Are

In my last years as a professor, I saw something clearly: we give students little space to make mistakes; to mess things up in a safe environment; to experiment, fail, and try again. And now, away from academia, I see this pattern still. We don't often come as we are, we come as we think we should be.

"I can't take yoga class until I know every pose."
"I shouldn't share my difficulties, because I'll seem like a downer."
"I can't start a new project until I'm an expert."
"I shouldn't dance, because I'll look silly."
"I shouldn't dream, because I might fail."

I know this place well. I lost swaths of my life trying to be perfect; to always appear smart, put-together, happy, knowledgeable, and flawless. I gained back my life when I showed up, as is. When I'm real and vulnerable, I'm more connected to others and more effective in my work. I still prepare. I'm still dependable and thoughtful. But I no longer try to be perfect. Instead, I try to be more present. 

The reality is we're all flawed and we're all beautiful. In the words of Rumi: "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there." Come as you are.


  1. This beautiful reminder put a big smile on my face and warmed my heart. I realized this few years ago (still struggling : ) and it was such a freedom. I so much feel sorry for others that I see struggle with this so much.

    I went to a meditation camp and there we were asked not to put on any makeup "just come as you are" it was so liberating and made my think a lot about what you write.

    Since I'm still with one foot in my Economy business world together with my " I study to become a therapist" world I have difficulties to do what I want to do in the Economy part.

    Thank you for this wonderful text Joy.

    1. you're very welcome, agnes. i'm honored to be part of your path.

  2. I've known so many people that fit the above description, and it breaks me up to see them not trying new things because they're fearful. I've always had the notion that trying new things would be an adventure, and adventures, at least in my mind, are always fun. Yes, I get nervous when I'm about to take on something brand new, but I just tell myself that it will only be a little while till I get the hang of it, and then I'll wonder why I was so nervous beforehand. Life is an adventure and is meant to be fun because we can learn a lot more when fun is involved.

    1. katie, i agree that life is an adventure--a beautiful adventure. but what you write, "i just tell myself that it will only be a little while till i get the hang of it, and then i'll wonder why i was so nervous beforehand," takes experience, trust, and awareness. not everyone has those tools. i'm glad you do. :)

    2. Joy---

      I had some things in the past happen in my life that radically changed the way I took on life. I used to take it for granted, but after those events occurred, I realized that I could get through anything that Life hands me. It may be the hardest thing to get through, but I've been through worse, so a new thing really can't be all that bad.

      As long as I have you here, do you have an email? I'd love to chat with you more openly, if you don't mind. My email is: : )

    3. check your inbox. i look forward to open, interesting discussions. :)