A raisin. That’s what my face looks like when I am working. And that’s the polite way to say it. I never notice it until my boyfriend told me this week, though my history teacher did tell me I looked very serious in class. Now everytime he sees me doing work or studying he makes sure to point it out so that I notice too.
My face can easily bright up too when I come up with an idea. That one came from a colleague who told me right after a meeting with some potential partners. He said he saw the sparkle in my eyes the moment it happened.
When I am practicing yoga it’s a completely different story. Again, without me ever noticing, I happen to be smiling throughout the whole class. Many teachers, as well as other students, gave me that comment. Some teachers were even thinking at first I was laughing at them. That’s how much I am smiling doing yoga.
Funny how my face talks more than I wish it did. It seems to know before it even becomes conscious how I feel, what is happening. If only I could carry with me a small mirror everywhere so that I know too what is going on with me. That small mirror would have been quite helpful this week.
I was expecting a big week. I had to be out of the office three days, and I knew I would be running around. It turned out to be not that bad, things ended up going quite well in fact. But the story that was going on in my head wasn’t. We could call that story alternative facts if you like, since it seems to be a popular theme these days.
Those alternative facts are what makes me look like grumpy cat when I am working. That deep thinking I am doing, that bubble I am creating around myself when I dive into work might be making me a quite efficient professional, but is also making me impatient and rude. When I get that involved into a project, my perfectionism becomes my worst enemy. I’m obsessed with fixing every detail, and I have lots of trouble delegating anything because of that perfect picture I have in mind and that I am not able at this point to share clearly with others. Only I know what is right to do, therefore only I am the only one who can do it.
Pet me please
But even grumpy cat needs to be pet. I can keep on doing what I am doing until I reach my objective, but this week showed me that there was a price to pay for it. As I was working intensively, doing more hours and working harder within those hours, I didn’t want to take even two minutes away from work to pet my cats who were begging me with lots of brrrs and meows. Their pleading sounds could not disturb me, I was busy, I had things to do. That’s how foolish I got.
I was to keep on going like that, determined to go through my to-do list, when I was forced to stop. The ruthless flu that I had caught last week would not let me work any more. Already the fact that I was sick was a means for my body to tell me I was getting overstressed, but I had no time to listen (I told you, I was busy). So there it had to scream to me to stop, forcing me to take a nap in some of the precious hours I had chosen to devote to my precious work. I literally fell into the arms of Morpheus within a few seconds, and slept like Sleeping Beauty for hours.
I woke up fresh and relaxed. Not quite there yet, not totally back to being myself, but a little be closer to the truth. I was becoming too attached, and attachment leads to suffering . I was forgetting that there just like in yoga, yes, you can get into a very advanced, or what looks like a very advanced pose, but as Ramanan Patel says it so beautifully, « I have been there, and there is nothing there ».
Everything I need and will ever need is already there. I only need to take a few moments every day to remind myself of it. Work will come and go. Don’t worry, there will always be plenty of it. You will never be done with it, there will always be something else to do, something to deal it. That’s life. It’s supposed to be fun, we can make it fun. We can together contribute to something bigger than ourselves, and enjoy doing it. But we will not get anywhere if we focus on the tree that hides the forest.
Step back, and enjoy the magnificent forest you’re walking in.