No-Fail Friday: Ride the wave

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How’s your week been? As expected, or a little different? (See what I did there? lol – couldn’t resist!) Regardless, I hope it’s been a great one, but that you’re also looking forward to this weekend as much as I am. This week, we talked about the balance between planning and expectations. It’s a tough difference to negotiate, because what’s the point of a plan if you can’t expect it to unfold, right? Sounds like the perfect opportunity for a mindfulness challenge. 

Planning is a necessary part of life, at least to a certain extent. It should be an intentional activity, though, otherwise it begins to veer into the worry-zone. You can look ahead, set agendas and map out the future to your heart’s content, but the outcomes aren’t always yours to own. Staying present in the moment when things don’t go according to plan – letting go of how you want things to be going instead of how they actually are going – is mindfulness. Plan as though it will work, and if it doesn’t, roll with it. As a friend and fellow mindfulness maven reminded us this week, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf” (Jon Kabat-Zinn).

Your challenge this weekend is to go surfing. Not literally, unless you want to (kowabunga, hang ten, and all that – go for it), but more so internally. This is more of an active awareness than an exercise, but as you go about your plans for the weekend, and people, events and circumstances inevitably bend and break them, ride the wave. Recognize what’s happening, notice your internal reaction to the changes, and then, take a breath. Decide if it matters. If it does, say so. If not, let it go. See what shows up instead. It could, in fact, exceed your expectations.

Photo credit: Delfi de la Rua

3 thoughts on “No-Fail Friday: Ride the wave

  1. Curious Lurker

    “Plan as though it will work, and if it doesn’t, roll with it.”…mmm. I think I’m usually pretty good about rolling with it but some disappointments are too disappointing! Can you please share some tips you’ve found helpful as you’ve come to the decision to ride the waves? Like I’m facing this huge disappointment right now. Inasmuch as I want to keep it moving, try again, and “ride the wave”, the disappointment is still there, and I find it coming out more when I’m talking to people about how disappointed I am! Lol. It’s pretty interesting because I think I’m riding the wave while trying again to overcome this feat, but I can’t seem to shake off the feeling of disappointment.

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    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment! I appreciate hearing about what you are experiencing. With mindfulness, it’s not so much about pushing away the disappointment, but rather acknowledging it and letting it be. Sometimes it’s the struggle with negative emotions (and with ourselves for having them) that actually gives them power and helps them stick around, and sometimes even grow. If you try allowing the disappointment to be there, and acknowledge, “OK, this is disappointment,” you may find that it begins to shrink a bit. At the very least, you recognize that it’s more of a thing that is temporarily there instead of a quality that describes all of “you.” It’s something you can look at and observe the qualities of, but just as you were there before it arrived, you will be there after it passes. It’s a visitor. So maybe try focusing a little less on getting “rid” of it, and just let it be. It will eventually get bored by your lack of attention and move on. :)

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