Sunday, June 16, 2013

Focal Points

Last night, I hosted a beautiful, successful banquet ... party ... celebration. The location was elegant ... every attendee was dressed to the nines. The food was excellent. The details reviewed and double-checked. The entertainment held surprises that elicited laughter as well as a few poignant tears. The room was beautiful. Happy energy flowed as friends reconnected and hugged and smiled. All in all, it was an exceptional 7 hours. 

So why is it in the morning light I find myself thinking about what went wrong or awry or wasn't quite right or received criticism and complaints? Why does my attention turn so quickly to the imperfections and flaws?

Let me say, too, that I looked amazing. Great dress, jewelry, nails, hair, shoes .. sparkly black/silver fishnet hose. Just the right make-up -- an impressive feat putting "the package" together in 20 minutes. Yes, I looked like a million bucks. I felt like I walked on air ... I was centered ... grounded -- my rose of protection firmly in place -- and completely calm. Not stressed. Ready. (I'd done Yoga in the morning to get myself in the right frame of mind for the day.)

Did I mention that I looked amazing? 

The evening was exactly what I wanted it to be. I surrounded myself with the right hosts, closest friends, supporting cast and staff. Our team was a well-oiled machine and the evening flowed with good pacing and an original classic Hollywood style. 

But what stuck in my mind and awoke me at 5am today were the three flaws ... the complaints about seating arrangements ... a mistyped last name ... an incorrect listing in the gorgeous program.
Walking in the door that afternoon, I knew there would be those things that would go awry or take their own direction. Stuff happens. I had secured the Teflon coating. I expected the challenges. I anticipated that there would be elements that would escape my careful planning and meticulous double and triple checks. But, when it happened, it still threw me. Admittedly, not as much as it once would have ... but enough to shake me up a bit. It gets to me ... the disappointment when I didn't want any. The complaints when someone didn't get what they wanted.  I don't like to let people down -- to feel I've failed them in some way.

Why do we do that? Look to the flaws instead of the numerous things that go right? Why is our daily news filled with the problems instead of a celebration of achievements? Why does that B on the test or report card dim the shining glory of the 5 As? Why does the messy closet in our house taunt us when the rest of our home is vacuumed and dusted and clean? Why does the chipped nail or blemish overshadow the loveliness of the spirit or rest of the individual?  

This morning as I thought about the "flaws" in my evening, I vowed I would change this way of thinking. Instead of stressing, I embraced my mistakes ... confronted them and apologized for them and did whatever I could to validate the different perspective of those who did not find my event to their satisfaction. But, I didn't accept the negativity that came with their "feedback." Instead, I made a list of everything that went right and set it down next to the list of imperfections. Then, I crumbled the list of flaws and tossed it in the trash.

Last night, I did my best. 156 people enjoyed the evening completely. I accept that as a success. So 3 or 4 didn't. Stuff happens.
It's easier to focus on flaws instead of the good things we accomplish and stand for. As an actor, I've experienced times when a line is dropped. There is panic in the air ... every performer has felt that rush of adrenalin. But, instead of focusing on the mistake, how about celebrating the recovery and getting the scene back on track? How we kept the flow ... maintained our composure and characters?

In Yoga, I often need to find a focal point to help me achieve balance. Invariably, I seek a knot in the wood or an imperfection in the curtain, wall, ceiling or floor. It's easier to focus on a flaw than on a smooth surface ... Huh and WOW! ... That was a huge discovery for me one day in class.

But why is that, I wonder. We aren't perfect. We all know that. Why do we seek perfection and feel less successful when "stuff happens?" Mistakes, disappointments, and flaws are part of the human experience. We learn. We grow. We go on. We should celebrate that and embrace the good. Let go of the other stuff ... holding onto it just makes us dissatisfied with our own selves. What's the good of that?

Today, I choose to celebrate the 47 things that went right last night and dismiss the 3 that weren't so ... ideal. If we all tried that, perhaps these little upsets that get to us and ruin an evening, experience or relationship would fade into unimportance.

So go ahead and look closely at me. When you do, you will see that I sparkle and my little light will shine. Amidst the stuff that happens ...  My focal point is getting fine-tuned.
What will you choose as your Focal Point?

                                                                                                                       -- Jenni