Writer Yoga: Letting Go of Expectations

Some mornings, I come to my mat and everything clicks. My body feels fluid, moving pose to pose smoothly. Other mornings, it’s a struggle. I feel all the places my body deviates from the norm, all the ways I struggle to find the essence of the pose.

I have writing days like that, too. Some days I sit down and find myself typing away, the words spilling onto the page like water rushing over the rocks. Other days — too many of those days lately — I find myself struggling to find my place, procrastinating over this task or that one, anything to postpone my daily writing. And though I can predict which day I’ll have when I sit down most of the time, I’ve been surprised both ways before.

The past couple of weeks have been tough for me from a writing standpoint. I just switched schedules at work because of a staff shortage. After a few weeks of a patchwork solution that had me doing three early-bird shifts, three late-night shifts and one day off, my boss realized he needed something sustainable over a longer time period. So now I’m working night desk five days a week with two weekdays off. Instead of a 4 a.m. alarm, I find myself getting home from work about 11 p.m. and hoping to wind down enough to be in bed before 1 a.m. With gym classes on my two days off from the paper, and work on my three days off from the gym, I don’t have any days I’m truly off. And yet it still took me about 10 days to figure out why my writing production has been almost zilch. That happened a few days ago, and I’m still trying to stop beating myself up over it.

Whether it’s yoga, writing, parenting, work or just life in general, we tend to have expectations. Simple ones, like being able to do a certain thing at a certain time. And the more complicated ones that involve a million tiny steps over a longer period of time. There’s a fine line between setting a path in life and hamstringing what we do in expectations.

As a naturally Type-A person, setting goals and expectations is easy. We’re the ones who need to learn to let go, to allow life to happen and roll with the punches. Not everybody’s like that, and for some, the goals and expectations step is part of what we need to do to find a direction and a purpose. But whichever category we fall into, part of finding our way in life involves both setting a path and being open to detours along the way.

Today, do one thing without expectations for how it turns out. Just enjoy the experience. 

One Comment on “Writer Yoga: Letting Go of Expectations”

  1. Very insightful thoughts. I’ve had four straight weeks of “work crazies” and find that all I want to do at the end of the day is hide. But hiding makes me feel worse, because I think I’m giving up. Better to say — and mean — this is the environment I’m in. How can I live fully within it?

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