Kassi Martin's Blog
How I Let Go of my Jail of Perfection
How are you doing today?
I've been Letting Go of quite a lot! It's been a very freeing and releasing time for me.
I was a Perfectionist for many, many years. At one time I would have been preening my Self as I announced that.
For example, when I was a wedding florist I used to go out in the evenings to pick the most perfect pieces of ivy to place in headdresses among rosebuds and gypsophila. They would all be of equal size and absolutely perfect. No brown bits where the Sun had singed them after rain, and definitely without snail nibbles. Most florists would buy in the cheapest Ivy plant and make do. Not Moi!
I remember driving round the county lanes searching for deep pink Honeysuckle in Summer simply because the Bride wanted something fragrant and seasonal in their bouquet.
Kassi Perfectionist Martin.... just think of all the stress and anxiety I created within my poor Body and Mind in my attempt to .....to what? Ah yes... avoid receiving criticism.
I do believe that is why most of us who are perfectionists carry out every task, no matter how small, to the absolute 100% best of our ability - if not more.
That stress and anxiety took quite a toll on my body. I used to spend hours and hours creating perfect bouquets, luscious headdresses and stunning table arrangements with a fiercely knotted brow and incredibly tense shoulders, neck and back of the head developing intense pain which never really left me during my Perfectionist Years. It couldn't leave, because I was permanently in that state of defence and anxiety trying to get things Absolutely Right.
At that time, I had no idea why I was experiencing so much pain. It took years of Counsellor Training and my own therapeutic journey to uncover all of this.
Now, when I work with others, I often notice that they hold their shoulders quite tightly up into their neck. They generally appear "braced for attack".
We attract those we are most like in our work, don't you find and so I tend work with those who are seriously Responsible, Caring, Hardworking, Giving, Perfectionists who find it almost impossible to Say NO to family, friends, Managers at work... even the dog's pleading eyes come way before ourselves. I've spent years releasing myself but it was through painting that I did my most releasing work.
Very few critical attacks come because we are so Perfect in our approach to EVERYTHING. (Great, that keeps us in the cycle of Perfection - no critical attacks must mean Perfectionism is working?! :-((
Whatever we are doing, we do it Extremely Well and continue bracing our body, just in case…. The few critical attacks which do come are often from our own Inner Critic. I believe we are most harsh to ourselves and would never speak to others as we speak internally to ourselves. I can help you with your Inner Critic. I know about this stuff really well.
Our Responsible nature and being So Very Strong for everyone and everything takes a huge toll on our Body and Mind. This creates more pain and exhaustion as well as anxiety and stress in our daily struggle through life.
People will often look at us and think "wow, she is so strong, he is absolutely amazing. How come they manage to get everything completed and so perfectly? I wish I could be as talented as them."
Little do they know how hard, scary and exhausting it is to be that Responsible, Caring, Perfect person. How much pain it causes. How afraid we are each day of Getting It all Wrong and being criticised.
Being so strong, we rarely ask for help. We keep on going even when we are absolutely exhausted and usually wear a big bright smile on our face so others feel relaxed and reassured that everything is under control - And it most definitely is!
Even if we break a leg, we still hobble around in agony, on crutches, making sure things are running smoothly, texting furiously, thinking "if I could just manage to hobble to work, I'm sure I'd be fine...."
We are so driven to Be Strong and Perfect that we try to over-ride our pain and discomfort with pain killers and strong coffee so we can keep on going.
So when I noticed myself getting all hung up on my blue sky being Just Right and frowning at how the green foreground was growing in the wrong direction, I suddenly realised I needed to Let Go again. It was through painting and processing that I learned to let go so beautifully.
I had got as far as the tree trunk in my painting and I wanted the trunk to be really rich and textured. I noticed the tell-tale signs of tightening in my shoulders and back of my head and I realised I needed to free myself up from the old Jail Of Perfection once again.
And that is the moment when I let go. I decided my Trunk was Good Enough! I used an oil pastel to make wispy branches. Then using my old battered Fan Brush, I began to flick and splatter multi colour foliage all over the tree.
WOW this felt so good. I was splattering Pink all over the board and that contrasted with the blue background in such a delicious way. Who cared what shade of Blue that sky was - I no longer did! I felt FREE once more.
I added yellow and watched in glee as splatters of yellow landed in the grassy area. I wanted multi colour grasses so I went for it. I felt free, released, I was laughing and and reminding myself that I would not be going back into my Jail Of Perfection ever again.
I then made the one with the Red/Pink sky (see up above). It is being framed and I will hang it in my home to remind me to stay out of my Jail of Perfection.
INVITATION TO YOU
Beginning Saturday 13th July I am beginning a new Tree of Letting Go Painting group online. The first group is well under way and all the amazing Letting Go is happening as I write to you. The sharing and connection in our group is very beautiful.
This is your personal invitation to join me and Let Go too. I am always around in the group if you would like to connect, share images as your amazing Tree of Letting Go emerges.
It is for complete beginners and Wobbly Worriers to using Expressive Art for Healing & Well Being. We will be sharing all those things we have decided to Let Go of. Equally no pressure to do so, unless you wish.
You don't need much in the way of materials to create this, and my gentle and loving videos will guide you through the process of creating your very own Tree Of Letting Go.
You will have access to the group and course material for months, not because it will take you months to create, but because many people absolutely love going through the process again and again in different colours. It also allows time and space to allow for our busy world we live in.
Most begin my courses believing they will never be able to create 'that thing' and then they go on to make a number of them! Each painting process is a whole new experience offering new insight and growth. There is always an element of self inquiry in all my courses for those who enjoy delving.
You will be able to take photographs and share pictures in the group with myself and others if you wish.
There is no pressure to share or connect at all, but simply being a part of this group will help inspire you and support you to create.
On Saturday 13 July I will invite you to the Fb group where you can make a start on this beautiful process. I will be around in the group in real time to welcome you and respond to you throughout.
Relaxing, enjoyable, fun, colourful, releasing. with self inquiry.
If you have any questions just ask. I am very approachable and friendly and won't obligate you in any way.
If Saturday 13 July isn't a great day for you to begin that isn't a problem. You have months to create and participate so there is absolutely no pressure to make a start until you're ready.
Look forward to hearing from you, and I can't wait to see the amazing Tree of Letting Go you create.
If you think I can help you with anything, get in touch. Everything I offer helps you find ways to live your life in more satisfying, happier ways, becoming more You via conversation online, face to face or through my online courses.
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