Good vs. Perfect

Hello, my name is Brandi and I’m a recovering perfectionist.

I was a good student growing up — the type that gets A’s on tests and papers and goes above and beyond on projects. In 9th grade, we were tasked in history to write a section of a chapter on one of the topics we were studying. While most of the kids in my class, gathered their papers in those plastic covers that made everything seem more formal and professional, I spent time building a mock textbook from foam board, created a cover, and glued my chapter in it. I could feel the glares.

I probably got a little too drunk on 100s on tests with extra bonus points, papers marked with A+ and the praise from teachers. As long as I kept being perfect — or at least near perfect — I would be fine.

But perfection is not the reality of life.

It dragged me down for years, the pressure to do everything exactly right, to please people, to adjust and change and shape myself to make other people happy. I wanted approval, I wanted praise, I wanted to know I was good and kind and beautiful and worth something.

In the past 4 years, I’ve given up the perfectionist and discovered a deep sense of connection and self-compassion. Because in business, nothing goes perfectly. You learn from every stumble and mishap and project. You grow. And suddenly, you realize that it’s not about getting it perfect, but letting it change you. It’s about the expansion and the deeper discovery of truths that shift you closer to you.

You realize that it’s about good rather than perfect.

In his podcast, Rob Bell elaborates on the difference between good and perfect so eloquently. In Genesis, God made the world good, not perfect. There is no growth in perfection, but there is growth and story and love in good. It is dynamic and changing, rather than stagnant and fixed.

I choose to embrace growth and evolution and story. I choose to embrace my beautiful and imperfect self. I choose to embrace and love others in their beauty and imperfection. It is good and it is miraculous.


Healing the Source

My friend Soshy and I were chatting on the phone yesterday as I drove home from Pennsylvania. Last year, she had a baby, a super sweet little girl name Rosie, who is both a blessing and a challenge (as all babies are to sleep deprived parents). Soshy has spent the past few months adjusting to being a mama and trying to catch up on sleep and told me that she’s ready to dive back into her business again. She needed advice.

If you had told me four years ago, I would be dispensing business advice to people, I would have laughed. But I was only starting out then and had very little idea that my freelance work would turn into a business. It was supposed to be just me, wild and free and making money in a slightly less traditional way. Yet, here I am with a business and a team and a whole wealth of knowledge I’ve gathered from past experiences, wise mentors, and friends.

Soshy had two problems. First, she wasn’t sure what to focus on — getting clients or the backend of the business? We may be reluctant to put ourselves out there, but when you’re getting a business going, you need to focus on getting clients. Your clients keep your business running. We talked about different ways for her to do this and I gave her some homework.

The second problem was much juicier, in my opinion. Soshy works with people who want to change unwanted eating habits and transform their body image issues. She is brilliant at what she does. Doing this work, potential clients often ask her about weight loss. Soshy’s past response has been to tell these people that weight loss isn’t what she does.

Except it is. It so is.

Here’s the thing (and I know this having been through my own eating and body image issues): If you don’t heal the source, you’ll never fix the symptoms.

I gained and lost weight repeatedly over a stretch of years until I finally took the time to work on the issues that were hidden beneath the few extra pounds. And I’m still working on it. But I was done with the wins and losses of weight loss, because I knew that as long as I was at war with myself, there would always be a loser. So I do the work.

It’s true everywhere, not just with regards to eating, body image issues, and weight loss. It’s true in business and relationships and friendships and hobbies. I could give you examples and tell you stories, but in the end it comes down to doing the work, to ending the fight, to healing the source.

If you’re curious to learn more about what Soshy does, check out her website, Embody Nutrition.


Unconditional Love

I’ve been working through a meditation series recorded by my friend and brilliant astrologer Jenn Racioppi, and today’s audio track asked us to focus on our fourth chakra and unconditional love.

Unconditional love is…impossible.

That’s where I went.

And it’s not that I totally believe that, since I’ve seen and felt the unconditional love between parents and children, but at that moment, I was thinking about romantic love, which always seems to come bound up with a long list of conditions. We’ll call that list the “I’ll love you as long as you…” Insert your insecurities there.

Because I simply can’t just breathe and feel unconditional love, I started thinking about what it would mean to allow myself to unconditionally love a romantic partner. Is that even possible? Could I be capable of loving someone even if he cheated on me, or yelled at me, or ignored my needs?

I don’t know that I could do it for anyone, but the guy I’m dating now is pretty special (okay, he’s exceptionally special and we’re in love) and we’ve had a rather unconventional and deeply emotional courtship. Could I do it with him?

Would I be willing to try?

Why not? Why not say yes? Why not open myself to the bigness of that love and see how it might transform me, might transform him, might transform us.

And that doesn’t mean I would stay with him if he cheated. I definitely wouldn’t stay with him if he hit me or was cruel to me. But he’s not that type of person, and even if he were, the challenge is to love him beyond being with him, even if we weren’t together, even if it didn’t work out (though I really am hoping it does).

So I’m starting with him, opening myself in an incredibly vulnerable and exciting way. Unconditional love.

Let’s see where this experiment goes.


Lost Girl

I’ve always been one of those women searching the world for answers.

In your 20s, it’s acceptable. But most people have it figured out enough by their 30s.

And then there’s me: mid-thirties, single, and taking a path rather different than most.

I walk lines between naiveté and wisdom like the lines don’t exist at all, like the same force that spills brilliant words from my lips keeps the wonder in my eyes and foolishness in my actions.

Caution and I don’t play well together for very long. I’ll give it a step or two before I throw my whole heart in, because I know how resilient and strong I am, because in some ways I want the world to break me open to let more in.

I can be a scientist and a mystic and find a place for both logic and pragmatism to dwell alongside the mysterious and occult. I can read and solve equations that tell us about the world at its most fundamental levels, but I let my mind dive deeper than the math goes, into a realm where there is no proof, only intuition.

The challenge has been to accept that others may be disappointed with my decisions because it will, at times, appear as if I’m not, because I’m not choosing motherhood or security or prestige or wealth.

Instead, I’m choosing wildness and freedom and magic.

And that’s a path I’m creating as I go.

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