If you haven't seen Friday Night Lights, you're missing out. I mean, a small-town high school football drama in Texas is appealing to everyone, right??
...alright, even if high school football drama isn't your cup of tea, the show's mantra is on point:
clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.
I've watched the series to completion - twice now - and each time it's stuck me powerfully. When I read it, I internalize it a bit differently. It's not just a mantra, it's an actual equation. An A + B = C type of thing.
When I remove the football theme (which is tough, guys: I could talk Riggins vs. Saracen all day) and think about what it means outside of a television drama, I'm instantly inspired: mood lift, wanting to shout it from a mountain, Ron Burgundy style. (But I don't have a mountain, I have a blog, so I'm writing about it here!)
What does clear eyes even mean? It my opinion, it means this:
LIFE WITHOUT EXPECTATION.
It means being present and in the moment so you get to experience the beauty that is your life. An expectation, and I quote, is "a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future, or a belief that someone will or should achieve something."
Living with expectations means you've created an alternate universe wherein you're the writer, producer, and director of your own show. And that's not to say you should live without dreams or aspirations: we need those, keep those going! But that's not what this is. The players in the alternate reality are not your dreams or aspirations, they are real people, separate from you.
Let's get crazy and call them individuals.
They are the same people who exist in your real life, but with expectation they are saddled with a script and thus, fictionalized. So when the real life players go "off script" - and boy, DO they - you are left feeling disappointed, angry, and sad. Essentially, you've removed the joy of interacting with those around you.
I've battled with the expectation game for a large part of my life, so I know well the flip side of having clear eyes.
I was constantly disappointed in my career and my relationships. I was always thinking "when X happens, I'll be happy." Well, X happened. And sure, I was happy, and then the disappointment would eventually set in because I was waiting for the next X to make me happy again.
That's exhausting: not only for me, but for all my players. Can you imagine how frustrating it is to be held to a standard you didn't know existed?
It's basically living the nightmare where you walk into math class not knowing there was a test - or that you were even taking a math class.
I've learned a lot about how to reprogram how I view the world, simply by being a fur-parent and being around kids. I love hanging out with the small humans and the non-human furries because they live in the moment and with such open hearts and honest enthusiasm. You never know what you're gonna hear out of a kids mouth and if you need proof of this, go ask a random 5 year old if she likes your outfit.
Just like with animals, I never know when I'm going to come home to the contents of my recycling bin emptied onto the floor and a very guilty black Lab sitting amongst his treasures.
Like any change you want to stick, you have to practice, engage, and exercise it.
The being present muscle is no different.
Getting regular acupuncture treatments not only helps you obtain emotional health but will drastically improve your physical health as well. Acupuncture works like this: you’ve traveled to foreign country where you don’t know the language and you want to experience everything you can while you’re there. You could just wing it and wander around and you’d probably see some amazing stuff but you’re likely to miss out on some really cool experiences. Acupuncture is your tour guide, it’s going to get you to places you didn’t think possible by a more direct route. Less fumbling about and more “ooohs” and “ahhhhs”!
Becoming an acupuncturist was the impetus for me to clear my eyes. I saw the value of treatment in my patients every day and decided to use my time on the table as “therapy” with myself. It was my quiet time where I was able to delve in and process my feelings and emotions which created a cascade of healthy benefits; learning to meditate, time to analyze my thoughts and feelings, and the ability to perform internal emotional check-ups.
I enjoy doing self-guided imagery meditations. I got to my favorite safe spot - usually a field with a large willow tree in the middle for me, but it can be anywhere for anyone. I sit underneath the tree and relax into her. I feel my feet, the backs of my legs, and my bum on the grassy ground. It's solid, unmovable, and it tickles a little. Then I feel the big willow behind me, holding up while I sink into her bark. I'm fully able to relax into her might. I listen to her branches sway in the breeze. I smell the air; it's crisp and clean. All my senses are engaged. And then I allow myself to hang out... with myself. Sometimes I'm alone, and sometimes I'm hanging out with me at different ages.
This practice is not only relaxing, there's the potential for it to be hugely transformative and healing. Regardless of your background, we all have some form of trauma and/or unmet needs. This is your time to give yourself what you needed at that time in your life, and thus, what you need in your life now.
So what should you do? You can start with my guided imagery, or you can completely ignore it! It's meant to be a guide to show that this imagery exercise allows you time with yourself in a safe, relaxing, and comfortable space.
Getting into the nitty gritty of what you're feeling and why you're feeling it allows you the space to evaluate the situation from all angles. Did you have an expectation that didn't get met? Did someone treat you or act differently from what you pictured?
This can be done by internal dialogue, journaling, video-journaling... it doesn't really matter, as long as it feels good to you and it's work you do for yourself, and on your own.
Get Yourself a Sounding Board
This can be a friend, a group of friends, a family member, or anyone who will speak openly and honestly with you. The sounding board is there to hold you accountable and to help you address tough issues together. Being open, honest, vulnerable, and kind is very difficult in this process. And it's also imperative.
The ultimate goal here is the ability to be your own sounding board. We learn to do that by surrounding ourselves with people who can help us through our own muck - people we won't and perhaps people who won't allow us to weigh them down with the stuff that we should we working through on our own. We are pack animals and we learn from each other, so learn how to be a good sounding board by being in a relationship with one. Aspire to be someone from whom others learn.
Surrounding yourself with head-nodders and yes-men feels great, but those people don't call you on your shit. For growth, we need accountability, vulnerability, and light.
Over time, it becomes easier to stay in the moment and be present, but there will always be times you need a check-up. Worrying excessively? Check in with yourself. What's upsetting? What's unnerving? Have you done everything you can in this moment to solve this problem? Is it even a problem? Is it something solvable, and within your control?
If not, what can you do? I recommend deep breathing, first and foremost. Maybe a few minutes of meditation to help me sink into what I'm feeling, stick with being present, and ultimately work through the issue.
I look at staying present like I imagine childbirth:
You HAVE to stay present and get through it
you do not have a choice
There is only one way through
Growth is tough. Stay with it.