This morning I tried my hand at a new skill: Making buckwheat crepes. Everything was going along smoothly. The sunshine is out, the birds are singing, and I’m making…crepes! I fantasize about buckwheat crepes becoming the specialty I am known for. Friends invite me over for the weekend for my crepes. Working along with the recipe, I don’t accurately gage the batter pour when I learn lesson number one: Crepes are best consumed as extremely paper-thin, delicate wrappers and are meant to highlight the delicious insides. Otherwise, they’re just pancakes. Undeterred by imperfection, I shred some goat cheese and before the crepe-now-pancake cools I quickly sautee some spinach (where was my sous chef?). Sitting down to a floppy looking grey green thing with cold cheese I optimistically tuck in only to discover the reason why it is always a good idea to wash even pre-washed spinach: There is a worm in my crepe.

It’s Virgo season. An ambitious time when we want to improve our self and get better at who we are and what we do. If we follow the urge, this invariably involves learning new skills, bettering our self — and falling short… because we do know starting something new doesn’t mean we are going to get it perfectly right the first, second or even the third try. That’s not the point. For Virgo, self-acceptance, self-forgiveness must go hand in hand with simply trying.

Sometimes though, through fear, negative self-talk or criticism, we sell our self short… and stop just short of flying.

That almost happened to me. Awhile back my book proposal was rejected by a publisher, in a very “don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out” kind of way. There was subjective criticism given, criticism that had me fruitlessly searching for a kernel of helpfulness. I couldn’t find it. It was, in many ways, a lesson in how not to break up with someone. “I don’t think we’re a good fit” suffices.  No one deserves the heartbreak of rejection and a laundry list of negative feedback. After all, that person is probably right for someone else- someone who sees their arrogance as confidence, their jaded bitterness as funny. Simply, they are not right for you. Well, I didn’t let the Critic win. Years later, I published that book, and it’s actually selling well. So.

When we meet The Critic, inside our self or externally, as a person, its as delicate as making a crepe. On one hand, there’s always room for improvement- and we are usually the first to know it. That’s the curse of knowing we are perfect in Spirit, but as human beings we are essentially imperfect. When we receive constructive feedback from others, after the sting of imperfection has passed, we can step back see some truth.

Destructive criticism, on the other hand, is short-sighted and it lacks heart. It is not helpful. It is not delivered in the spirit of helping you be a better you. It’s important to discern the difference. Committed relationship offers the chance to know this: We need to be free to say “this area needs improvement” to each other without being critical. Because, bottom line: criticism, whether it’s happening in our minds or our marriage, is toxic and deadly. Just ask the Gottmans, a pair of scientists who married and have researched marital stability and divorce prediction for the last 40 years, who say criticism is one of four of the most corrosive behavior patterns in a relationship. They even call these behaviors the “Four Horseman of the Apocalypse”.

This is a Solar New Moon Eclipse. Eclipses clear the decks. The instability of this celestial event, while unnerving, helps us to psychically clean house. What presents may force us to face where we’ve been in denial around or have overlooked. We might also look to this eclipse time as a potent period for willingly giving up, tossing out, or cleaning up a way of being that is no longer serving our growth. Virgo New Moon is a great time for beginning new health routines, trying out new skills and noticing any areas that, given a bit of elbow grease and instructive advice, we can take to the next level. An eclipse supercharges this impulse. I don’t know about you but I’ve been feeling like a Virgo on steroids, lately – a new skill to add to my tool belt, a new learning opportunity presents itself and I think “ooh, how great would that be”? With Jupiter newly in Virgo, for whatever is not working, we now have the opportunity to craft new wings and fly. 

In tune with the start of school season, we may feel like kindergarteners, perpetual beginners kneeling at the feet of the master. There’s so much to fix, improve upon and learn! Which is why this is also a time for tempering our self-doubts and imperfections with self-acceptance. Virgo offers instructive advice. Striving for perfection means following the long arduous path of self-improvement in small, humble steps…whether learning how to make a perfect crepe, publishing a book, or vigilantly self-healing when we discover yet another human ouch. We can learn to strive for perfection while continuously yanking out the thought-weeds of self-doubt and re-seeding the mind’s fertile soil with self-love. We can learn to accept perfection is an impossibility, and that sometimes good enough isn’t settling… it really is good enough.

GetYourBigOn.com – features a great article about silencing your inner critic, and a beautiful poem.