I recently attended a tango festival over Labor Day Weekend in my hometown of Austin, Texas, organized by my dear friends. Because it was Austin, the event was unique – by that, I mean funky and full of colors and styles. After attending tango festivals for over 20 years, this one was perfect, and I felt perfect as I danced for three days.

An old friend from over a decade ago asked me to dance – of course, he is a most beautiful and elegant dancer who is also a teacher and a DJ – and I was honored and full of anticipation and joy. After the first tango, my friend looked at me intensely.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Nothing,” I replied. “I’m simply happy.”

“That’s it?” he responded. “Happy.”

I smiled with twinkling stars in my eyes. “Perfectly happy.”

At that moment, I felt perfect the way I am – and perfectly happy about the way I am.

What is that mysterious ingredient that makes me perfect – it’s not just about dancing tango; it’s also about grocery shopping in the middle of an Austin afternoon when my skin burns from the heat or when I’m out of breath from pushing my bike up a hill covered in gravel rocks or when I am not wearing eye makeup. Why do I feel perfect as I grow older, grayer, fingers no longer strong enough to twist off caps without effort?

What if everything about me was perfect from the beginning, and I didn’t even know it? What if all those years of struggle to be gloriously happy were simply a made-up movie that played in my head and had no relevance to my real life?

The Buddhists say we are born with all the happiness we will ever need or want. Ironically, it’s human nature that stops that mantra from manifesting.

Yet, if you are perfect and there is no struggle, how do you grow and transform? Aren’t you supposed to take yourself on as a project? Isn’t our life your life’s work? But then, what about everything else in your life? People, places, and things in the spectrum called your life? Where do they fit in? If you are unaware of all that life holds, how can you expect perfection and joy? 

I mused about how I felt the last night of the tango festival and briefly wondered how I had arrived at such a delicious state of I’m perfect. I figured it was years in the making sprinkled with consciousness and unconscious waves of joy; the confidence to take risks, make glorious mistakes, and plenty of leaps of faith; lots of acceptance and gratitude for the way I turned out in life; happy that I am who I am. My life was my work. And I was the one who discovered all the jewels in the being called Joan that made me laugh, made me ponder with wonderment, and made me leave a footprint on this planet.

Beneath the clothing, the hair, the makeup, and other adornments, all of you, at the core, are beautiful and perfect. And inside your being is a jewel or a pearl of infinite value – perfection. How you believe in personal perfection is the journey, the growth, and the transformation.

We begin the journey of self-belief as a whole person. Along your journey of self-belief, you carelessly dismantle the parts that makeup who you are. When your journey results in struggle, you carefully weave or reorder the human fragments to return to the beginning of happiness.

The truth of your perfection comes in knowing the truth about yourself, finding your energy and light, and reflecting your true sense of self with love and inspiration.

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