Dear Santa, this Christmas will you please make me more flexible?
I don’t mean flexible in the yoga sense; I mean the ability to go with the flow and bounce back.
Having recently moved house and being in the midst of building work I’m reminded on an almost daily basis of how inflexible I can be.
- Did the move date proceed as expected? No. It was on, then off, then on again more times than I can count, which made planning impossible — and it meant emergency removal firm (at a lot more than we’d budgeted for).
- Did the move day go smoothly? No. I put my back out at 8am, so couldn’t lift anything and spent the next 3 days in pain… and then I got food poisoning.
- Did the garage conversion start straight away? No. Weirdly we needed planning permission, so that was an extra cost, more delays and we couldn’t make a start until 2 months after we’d moved in.
- Is everything back to normal now? No. My office (where I see clients) is still camped in our dining room, so my poor husband has to make himself scarce when I’m working — and at the weekends I find it difficult to switch off.
These are my un-edited thoughts and represent how I felt over the last 6 months. Nobody died and nothing awful happened, so I’m not proud of how peeved I felt. I totally lost perspective. This was not my finest hour.
So… if I lightened up a bit, let go of my attempt to control everything (when in reality we control very little), focussed on what was good and erred towards the flexible side of my personality, that list looks very different:
- Did the move date proceed as expected? No. It was fine though. It gave us more time to pack and get organised.
- Did the move day go smoothly? No. I realise how blessed I am to have such a wonderful circle of friends and family to help when my back went out. And that chiropractor did wonders — I was pain-free so quickly.
- Did the garage conversion start straight away? No. Again, it gave us more time to think about our long term needs and put a plan in place. Fantastic.
- Is everything back to normal now? No. It’s all a bit chaotic, but my clients and my husband are all incredibly understanding. I am blessed.
I think if I’d reminded myself to stay present and responsive I might not have put my back out (we carry stress in our bodies, so I reckon this was my poor body telling me enough was enough) or got food poisoning.
Did my stress, worry and physical tension change any of these outcomes? No. Absolutely not. Did my clinging on (some call it ‘white knuckling’) to my desired timetable and outcome have any impact? None whatsoever. Do I wish I’d adopted a more flexible, resilient, patient attitude? Good grief, yes. Hindsight’s a wonderful thing.
Am I going to learn from this lesson and lighten up about all sorts of things? I really hope so
Christmas is a time when lots of people err on the side of rigidity (hands up, we know who we are). Whether it delivering a big project before the holidays, planning the perfect party or engineering the best family day, when things go awry we can very quickly lose perspective and it can feel like the end of the world.
- In what areas of your life, or in what situations might you be trying to ‘white knuckle it’?
- Where do you notice yourself being rigid (and therefore more prone to break)?
- How might you remind yourself that you’re not in control of many aspects of your life? (And how might you look at this as a freeing, self-affirming thought?)
- Where might you let go? (Can you get some help — from friends, family or work colleagues — to support you in this?)
Remember: when we’re rigid we’re more likely to break, when we’re flexible, we bounce back.