During yoga this morning while I was getting wrung out like a washrag, I started thinking about two things my friend Michael Dean said, many years ago.
Thing the First: Better to have no expectations. When you have expectations, you can be disappointed. With no expectations, whatever happens that is good = bonus. Whatever happens that is bad = no big deal.
Thing the Second: I can’t remember this one exactly, but it was something along the lines of how strong women get weak when they are around overbearing or “strong” men, and although that may seem like “allowing yourself to be vulnerable,” it is really just allowing yourself to be weak. The way I am saying it makes it sound like A) Michael is a total jerk or B) strong men are bad for strong women. Neither of those (I already warned you that I didn’t remember it clearly; see previous posts on how shot my memory is). The gist of it is that strong women use strong men as an excuse to be weak and flabby, physically, socially, and emotionally.
And, if I am being honest, which I always try to be, maybe MD was a bit of a jerk back then. So I may or may not have argued drunkenly with him, which is dumb because you are never the genius you think you are when you’re drunk so I probably dropped the F-bomb a lot and gesticulated wildly.
So upon a decade+ of reflection, here’s the kicker: he’s pretty much spot-on on both counts.
Thing the First is also known as “acceptance.” Whatever happens, happens. La and I are headed down the road to watch dem O’s crush it in spring training, and the forecast on both sides of game day is beautiful. On game day? Thunderstorms. I have decided to leave town with no expectations, and I believe we will have a great time regardless of what happens. The sun is shining, the dogs are well taken care of, and we are on a road trip. So that’s all good.
Thing the Second is a bit trickier. I realized how lazy I had gotten on a number of different levels after Dane died. Although there is nothing wrong with relying on your partner, Thing the First gets in the way sometimes, and you start taking things for granted, stop learning, and begin to get flabby physically, socially, and emotionally. The other simple part of this is that when we start a relationship, we are the very best version of ourselves. Natural. As time goes by, we show a little more of the rough edges, which is fine, and we relax and trust that our partners will accept them. Also natural. But I don’t want to ever reach the point of not being able to rely on myself to learn, to grow, or to do things on my own again. I am looking in the backyard at a house that my daughter and I have built from the ground up. Of course we have had help and instruction, but our fingerprints are all over that thing. It can be ragged and rough around the edges a bit, but it represents effort and persistence. Dane was going to build that house with Sicily, and while I would trade every minute of the experience to see him for one more time, building that house has shifted something in me that will not be shifted again.
And it’s built like a brick shithouse, if I’m being honest, which I always try to be.
Both Thing the First and Thing the Second are difficult to achieve (no expectations and maintaining your self inside of a relationship). I was thinking about that as I hauled my legs over my head in a handstand, and then again as I folded into a pretzel, and then again as I gasped for air in bow pose. So I stopped thinking about them, put them out of my mind, and felt everything sort of dissolve. Maybe the trick is to not think so hard.
I’ll have to think about that.