practice

Looking for magic, finding the ordinary

The cursor blinked rapidly as I stared at my laptop screen. As much as I tried to keep going, I knew I’d hit a roadblock and needed a break. Anxious that I was wasting time, but knowing that sitting there longer wouldn’t change things, I left the apartment to go for a walk. They had helped me overcome roadblocks in the past, maybe they would again. Sure enough, shortly into my walk, things clicked and the ideas began flowing again.

I felt my tiredness begin to show when my temper shortened and my levels of irritation seemed to skyrocket. I think I managed to keep my thoughts in my head most of the time, but I doubt I hid all my facial expressions successfully. I thought of what I could do to find the rest and rejuvenation I needed, but nothing seemed to present itself as a solution. I decided to take some days off anyway to see if it would help. It had before, anyway. When I went back to the office, I still felt tired and afraid that it hadn’t done any good. However, as I set about my work and interacted with colleagues, my inner responses were much more gracious and things seemed different.

I share these two stories not to emphasize the need for self-care, important as it is, but to discuss something I’ve been thinking about lately: trusting the process. I find I often get stressed when I want a particular outcome, but I am not in control of all the variables to make it happen. Actually, I think that in life we control a lot less than we think we do. However, we can put ourselves in positions or create environments where if the outcome were to occur, it would happen there. That’s letting the process do the work.

Does a walk magically fix a mind in roadblock? No. But it does provide a physical and mental break from the work that allows the mind to reorient itself and the body to stretch out after sitting. Do days off miraculously fix anger and irritation? No. But they also provide that break that enables a release and reshuffling of everything going on inside. These are ordinary practices. While it seems my inner skeptic says every time that it isn’t going to work, it usually does. And I am learning to trust that process.

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