Deep anticipation

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Recently, I was getting a massage and the masseuse was having some trouble getting me to relax my shoulder muscles.  She tried placing a warm pouch on them for a while, then she tried using balm to heat them up, but nothing seemed to help. At one point, she told me very simply “Your shoulder muscles are in deep anticipation of what I might do to them, try and let them relax”.

I’d like to be able to report that from that moment onwards I was able to breathe deep and release all the tension, so that the massage could continue satisfyingly, but what really happened is that even when actively trying to relax, my muscles remained tense and only by working her magic could the masseuse slowly reduce the tension a little, by the end of the one hour appointment.

Since then, I’ve had the sentence “deep anticipation” resounding in my head. It was like finally putting words on what has basically become my default way of living life.  I am pretty much in “deep anticipation” about everything, good or bad: catching a flight, an upcoming work meeting (even the most trivial ones), going to the theatre, meeting with friends… I wish I was more carefree, but somehow I find myself reflecting beforehand on what it may be like, making sure I have timings right, playing it out in my mind, wondering if I will have enough energy, fearing unexpected hurdles…  Perfectionism and control making me feel I need to do things according to high (unrealistic?) standards, instead of just relaxing and trusting I can handle things as they come. I still enjoy things, but I’d like to feel a bit less anxious and it would do me good to keep my “deep anticipation” for the few moments when it can really be of service.

So now when I find my mind going into what I know refer to as “deep-anticipation mode”, I’m trying to breathe and remind myself that “IT WILL WORK” (my words for 2019) and that even if it doesn’t go as planned, no amount of anticipation will ease what will happen. It’s a daily practise, a kind of awareness building leading to kindness to myself, permission not to be “on” all the time trying to be in control of everything. Let’s see how it goes.

The mirage of perfection

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Things are not always what they seem at first glance. The leaves on this photo for instance are not autumn foliage, they are actually tiny spring leaves bright and vulnerable.

Lately I’ve been trying to be mindful when I catch myself making assumptions, in particular when thinking this or that person clearly knows exactly what they are doing without seeming to question things, and then going on to compare myself and wonder about my constant doubts.

Some deep conversations recently have reminded me that we are all just human and that we are all simply trying to do the best we can at any given moment, including the people who often seem to have their life perfectly sorted out.  With this in mind, I want to show up and try to be more myself, quirks and all. I want to stop hustling so hard for the elusive goal of perfection, a bewitching mirage, shimmering close by but never reachable as it does not exist.  I want to use that energy instead to be more open about how I feel, even when my truth is awkward and tough, and hold space to hear others’ tough and awkward stories.