I looked at the clock and expected it to be 7 or so; the time I normally wake up if left to my own devices. But it read 9:45. (9:45!?) The familiar feeling of anxiety began to permeate the room because the work is impatient—it wants what it wants when it wants it. And I blew it off the night before, so there it is. Demanding attention, kinda like a petulant toddler at snack time. No time for yoga this morning. No time for contemplation. No time to linger over breakfast. Into the shower I go.
It’s close to 10:30 by the time I make it downstairs to hastily throw together something to eat. When I open the fridge, I see that my pricy organic sriracha was jammed into the bottom shelf upside down—whether by housemates or by me I have no idea, because the fridge is pretty packed and we are all in survival mode—resulting in a pool of red stuff on the bottom shelf, generously spicing up all of the condiment bottles in its wake. This is something I do NOT have time to deal with, and the toddler’s whine in my head rachets up a decibel.
I grumble and huff and stomp a little; you’d think I was auditioning for a show called “It’s My Sriracha and I’ll Cry If I Want to!” My housemate calmly assures me it’s not personal and if I don’t have time to clean it I shouldn’t. She’s right, of course. But in that moment, I just get angrier and stompier, and hold to the sponge even tighter. I realize I’m being ridiculous, but I can’t help myself. I have a meeting in minutes and I’m hungry (bordering on hangry) and this is the cause I’ve chosen to be worked up about in that moment.
But the thing is, mere minutes later, I feel more than ridiculous. I am worked up and have only hurt myself in this process.
I messaged my husband, who always has good Buddha-like advice in these moments, and I really need the help. “I’m stressed,” I tell him. “And I had to clean out all this sriracha!!! Our good sriracha :(” He tells me to go to yoga. Nope. Work ain’t gonna like that. He tells me to go for a walk. No dice. He tells me to change my state. OK, we’re getting warmer. He tells me to let it go.
Let it go.
Yes, yes, yes.
He reminds me that it’s the attachment to the work and the outcome that is messing with my head and he’s right. I don’t really have my panties in a twist about the sriracha or the fridge or any of it. I’m worked up because of the white-knuckle death grip I’ve currently got on the outcome of the mountain of work I have sitting in front of me. The WORK is not impatient. I am, and I’m impatient for a perfect result to the myriad tasks. Tasks, mind you, that I actually enjoy!
So the process of letting go begins. Because this is what I know from past experience…
If I soften the grip, I’m kinder to myself and others.
If I soften the grip, time seems to expand.
If I soften the grip, ideas begin to flow.
If I soften the grip, the good stuff can float to the surface.
If I soften the grip, Work becomes less of an a-hole and more of a joy.
In August, we were housesitting at a friend’s place and she’s wise beyond her years. She has a sign in her bathroom that says, “It’s good to let go.” This weekend, I got a temporary tattoo at a Michael Franti yoga event/concert, and it said “Do it for the love.” I scrubbed it off in the shower this morning, but I think I’ll take the two phrases, put them together, and make it my mantra for Q4:
It’s good to let go. Do it for the love.
I can only believe that going back to this phrase will help my business because it will keep me from becoming reactive and keep me in a state of flow, which = more productive.
But what do you think?
I’d love to hear your take. Also, what’s your go-to for when stress gets the upper hand? Let’s flood the comments below with your best “Letting go” tactics! Because we can all learn a thing or two from each other, right?PHOTO: “Sriracha Sauce lined up at ShopHouse Restaurant 2,” ©2011, Ted Eytan, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs license