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acceptance - letting go of expectations
Photography by melanie toye

acceptance - letting go of expectations

by heather trappler heather trappler
Live Healthy | Personal Story

“It's time to wake up nooooooow or you will be late for school!” Every morning I am up against the same restraints. My little second grader does not want to get out of bed. I really don’t want our mornings to be this struggle. It has been like this since kindergarten, so why am I expecting something different?

In a perfect world we would get up in time every morning, cheery and ready to embrace the day's activities. I put on my calm, soothing mommy voice to grease the wheels a bit, but I am looking at the clock panicking as time slips away. At the end of the day, I don’t want to trudge over to retrieve her backpack only to gag as I clean out the day’s lunch and snack container, or get upset when food isn’t eaten. I was disappointed the other day about how I wasn’t feeling well, and I found myself recounting to anyone who would listen that it had been “THREE days since I practiced yoga!” I apologize if it was you. This is the thing about resistance -- it does exactly what you don’t want it to do.

I have just come off a brief period of time where I had not been on my mat. I have also been struggling with my right shoulder recently as it grips and gives me some grief. Though my walking has been great and necessary for my mind and spirit, it does tighten my body without my yoga practice. As I have resumed my yoga practice, my teacher said to me in front of the class, “Heather, your shoulders are much more open than last month.” How could that be, I thought?

I have this ideal picture in my head of the way my weeks should look. They involve my yoga practice at least four times a week, a daily walk, homemade meals, a clean and organized home, productive work, and time with family and friends. When my expectations of this rather unrealistic picture are not met, I can be a bear to live with.

This is when I know it is time to regroup and recount what I have learned on my mat over the years. Goodbye expectations, yes to joy and serendipity, no to rigidity of the mind which inevitably leads to the body, and yes to flexible and flowing. I jump back into my life again more awake and attuned, and I recalibrate. This time my heart is set to compassion, wonder, and allowing life to unfold. Just like a child that doesn’t want to wake Monday morning for school, our hips or shoulders seize as we try to hurry to the destination or the picture of what we think it should look like.

Monday morning arrives again, and this time with compassion I wake my little one. Without threats of not getting a goldfish or panic in my voice, we slowly get ready for another day. I find myself praying that we will have enough time, and as we walk to the driveway and wait for our carpool I look at the time. I turn to my daughter and say, “Grab your ball from the garage, we have ten minutes to throw the ball.” That’s the funny thing about acceptance and living in the moment, it actually extends time and expands our capacity for more.

Heather Trappler gratefully provides Intuitive Counseling in the Los Angeles, USA.