making hills out of hills

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Him:  “No wonder you’re tired. You worked much harder than I did.”

 

Me (thinking): I did? How? We both biked about 30 km on a gorgeous fall day. So how was I working any harder than you?

 

Me (speaking): “What do you mean?”

 

Him: “Your bike is heavier than mine. You had a backpack on adding more weight. And the mental hurdles you have to overcome are just not part of my experience.”

 

Dammit! He was right. I hate when he’s right. Right and insightful.  Even worse.

 

My mental hurdle shows up as soon as I see a hill even from a long distance away.

 

I call the hill names and tell it that it won’t get to me. Then, when my legs are burning about mid-hill, I bully myself the rest of the way. I grit my teeth and take the hill at a faster speed than when the ground is more level thinking that the pain will end quicker if I just get up and over.

 

Have you heard the one where a hill is just a hill?  It’s just another experience. I heard this philosophy when I was in labour. The pain of the contractions is just another experience. You don’t need to avoid it or give into it. It is what it is. Breathe through it. I didn’t fall for this philosophy back then either.

 

So what is it about the hills that gets my goat?  Why do I have to win?  To hurry through the pain?  To get to the other side?

 

What if a hill is just another experience? Nothing to gain victory over. Nothing to beat myself up over. No greener grass on the other side. No reason to over-effort. Just breathe and let what is, be.

 

What if hill is just a hill?

 

fall-bike-ride

 

expect less

Chances are, I would make an awful self-help guru. Tony Robbins and his contemporaries will likely hold a public shunning upon reading my new mantra for this upcoming school year.

My mantra is:

 

        ~ expect less ~

 

Brutal

Where’s the set-the-bar-high pep talk?

Where’s the you-can-do-anything-you-set-your-mind-to encouragement to help others over the 8 months of hump-days?

Where’s the return-on-investment for my employer?

What kind of educator are you?

Step to the back of the queue, Negative Ned’s and Nellie’s!   I have set my mind to ‘expecting less’ and it is my intention to experience more peace this year by doing just that.

Read on, MacDuff!  Just getting to the good part.

 

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Imagine it

What would it look like if I went through my work day of supporting students, collaborating with colleagues, problem-solving with parents and facilitating meditation classes all while ‘expecting less’?

 

I imagine it would look something like this…

 

Less wishful thinking that others can read my mind’s manifesto on how things ‘should’ be done.

More clear, direct requests for what I want.

 

Less personalizing when situations still don’t go my way even with clear, direct requests.

More acceptance of all outcomes whether or not they fall within my way of doing things.

 

Less soul-sucking over-efforting to drive up my number-of-people-pleased stats.

More doing the task in front of me with integrity and authentic presence regardless of who is watching.

 

Less compulsion to efficient task completion as if someone is literally waiting at my door for results.

More doing the task in front of me with integrity and authentic presence regardless of who is waiting.

 

Less obsession with results. And even less obsession with the mythical, perfect results.

More focus on making eye contact, taking a breath before speaking and listening, listening, listening. (Then way more self-care for balance!)

 

Less complaining.

More expecting less!

 

Less frantic, externally-driven movement.

More internally-driven, deep-breathed pacing.

 

Less reaction.

More response.

 

Less performing.

More presence.

 

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By the way, I will also be expecting less from you. Great news for you.

Bring on the busyness of a new year.  My mantra and I are ready for you!