Last Friday was Girlfriend Day. A long time in the planning this date had it all--lunch, boutique shopping and a museum outing. My friend, a healer and a spreader-of-positive energy, called two months ago to set up our schedule. An amazing exhibit was coming to our museum and she wanted to go with me. A real coup for Denver, the Yves Saint Laurent Retrospective landed at the Denver Art Museum on March 25th--its only stop in the U.S. We talked with calendars in hand at the end of February and set the date.
I just knew this would be a fabulous day. My entire focus was on having a wonderful time with my dear friend. Weather, crowds, traffic--none of that mattered. I had set an intention, without even really thinking about it, that I would have an amazing time. Intention is empowering.
Intention and expectation have a positive or negative affect on your creative flow. Just as potent as intention, expectation is a set-up that leads to disappointment and resentment. There’s a holiday I tend to associate with expectation--Valentine’s Day. It never ceases to amaze me that a day set aside for celebrating love is so loaded with expectations--assuming, pretending, complaining, whining, wishing and, in the last chamber, comparing.
I could have had a very different day. What if I had spent two months thinking about crowds and traffic and worrying that I wouldn’t have the perfect day? All too often I anticipate a dismal outcome. Afraid of what might happen. And because expectations are so powerful, it's challenging to view my behavior without criticism. It's hard to remember to take a deep breath, let it go and simply try again next time.
The funny thing is the day wasn't technically perfect. I was late and out of gas. She overslept. The restaurant we picked was closed. None of that mattered. With no expectations and no goal of perfection we bobbed along the river, weaving around rocks, pulled by the current. Very much in the flow.
“What if you just knew everything was working out perfectly?” This sweet sentiment by artist Rachelle Donahoe has been stuck to my girlfriend’s fridge for years. It gives me a little boost every time I see it. Lucky her! She gets a nudge every day. Can I keep my eye on the process instead the goal? With this memorable day in mind I might. At least I can try. And you?