going easy

going easy

Yesterday was one of the first real full days of sunshine we’ve had this summer. Despite the work that needed to get done, summer (and the beach) beckoned. I thought what better excuse to take out the new baby for a spin.

When we arrived at the beach, the wind was whipping (sand and cold air). We forgot our beach blanket, and only brought a few towels; one of which was used earlier to dry off a dirty dog and could not be used for people until it was washed. Note to self: check bag that daughters pack before leaving.Once we got settled close to the water’s edge, teeth chattering, we decided to relocate, seeking out warmth inland. Luckily, laying close to warm sand helped. A little. But with all this, there was really no way I would be able to shoot. I struggled with snapping off 2 shots. And called it quits. No big deal. I’ll shoot more next time.

In the past I would have let an afternoon like that whip me up into a frenzy. I might have regretted going, been mad about the lack of towels, agonised over wasting precious time with little reward. But, not this time. Instead, we enjoyed our perfectly imperfect few hours. Each time aggravation began to flair up, mostly in the form of sand being kicked up into our faces, someone would make light of it. We cranked the music. I put away my camera not to think about it again. We snacked on the small (too small) bag of chips my daughter packed. My husband used a towel fit for a 6 year-old which meant most of his body was just on the sand. We chalked it up to one of those days, and shrugged it off. We were still spending time together. That was enough. It had to be.

It’s instances like these that I am reminded of all the ways we can be kind to ourselves. Sometimes they are done in sweeping gestures like the declaration of being enough. Karen Walrond shares one of those stories with the Collaborative this week. It’s awesome. But acts of self-kindness can come in the smaller ways of just going easy on ourselves. Sometimes that means just embracing imperfection. We might as well, because we all know that perfection is not only over-rated, it’s an impossibility. And it’s really way too much pressure. Chris Sneddon shared a terrific post at Shutter Sisters addressing this exact thing.

I’m learning slowly but surely, with everything I am that expectations of the ideal scenario totally trip me up. And so, I’ve been trying to step forward with a lighter heart, an easier spirit, and a more flexible and forgiving frame of mind. And, you know what? It’s working.

Case in point: the above shot is one of the only 2 pictures I snapped off at the beach the other day. I love it more than I could have loved any other shot. Maybe it’s because there were only two which makes it more precious. Maybe it’s because it’s a reminder that imperfection can be a gift, if we choose to see it that way. No matter the case, I have that image to remind me that even those days can be gifts.

What reminds you to let go of impossible expectations and go easy on yourself? I would love to hear!

  • marina
    Posted at 08:29h, 30 July Reply

    Tracey, thank you so much for this post, it is so timely for me. You are such an inspiration for me these days in learning to let go of impossible expectations. And Karen Walrond and Chris Sneddon are!

  • Tamara
    Posted at 10:07h, 30 July Reply

    Impossible expectations ….. hmmmm. Yeah, I know all about them. What reminds me to let go of them? I have this little voice in my head – her name is Tayla, she’s 7 years old, and she has this amazing ability to totally appreciate whatever is going on around her. "Mum, that was the BEST toasted sandwich EVER!!!!!!" …. just as I’m beating myself up for being a totally slack mother 2 nights in a row, and not giving the kids a homecooked meal. "Wow, you look so amazing – will I be as pretty as you when I get older?" just as I’m wishing I had time to iron my shirt, and wondering if body heat will make it look semi-decent during the 20minute car trip to work. She’s a gem, and she’s helping me let go of all that crap!!

  • AnnGeeDee
    Posted at 14:33h, 30 July Reply

    We’re in the thick of home remodel – at the point where it’s been going on awhile and the novelty has worn off and it’s just cramped quarters. We shoved everything we own into the 2nd floor of our house while they’ve been installing flooring dowstairs and evening mealtime has become a real challenge. I’m working on taking deep breaths as we all sit huddled around our son’s playtable eating dinner cooked from the microwave. Last night was the first night we could walk on the new floors and so I grabbed my iphone, put on some tunes and took the family downstairs for barefoot running around a furnitureless space. Perfectly imperfect evening. (and well-timed for my barefootin’ Picture Summer prompt): http://www.flickr.com/photos/40070449@N08/4842802594/

  • amy z
    Posted at 15:04h, 30 July Reply

    De-lurking to comment. This is a great post. I have had to consciously change my mood when things aren’t going well, and am so thankful that we all have the power to actually do it.

    Years ago my husband and I met his brother and a friend at a state park near Chicago for a hike. I had my camera (of course), although I wasn’t getting many good shots. At the furthest point (naturally), dark clouds appeared from nowhere. We ran for our lives and wound up getting soaked anyway. I had my camera wrapped up in my t-shirt and my eyes stung from the styling products that were no longer in my hair but running in rivers down my forehead. I knew I looked like a drowned rat. My brother-in-law insisted on leading the way, which meant we went around in circles for 30 minutes as the rain beat through the trees. I remember thinking, "This can go one of two ways. I choose the better way." And I stopped running and started laughing. Everyone else did, too. We eventually made it back to the parking lot, bedraggled and dripping and laughing our butts off. We were so wet that by the time we got home we had to use cups to bail the water off the leather seats in the car. This has become one of my best memories with those three people, even though the day went nothing like any of us had planned. We still talk (and laugh) about it.

    I love that humans have the power to choose how they see life. I have learned to embrace imperfection, because humans are perfectly imperfect and THAT’S where the beauty lies. There is grace in loving each other and our lives despite the imperfections.

  • lu
    Posted at 16:47h, 30 July Reply

    wonderful words, tracey

  • Meg
    Posted at 22:48h, 31 July Reply

    I am coming home now from one such beach trip. A 30min trip took is 1hr 45min. It was terrible, but we turned things around. We picked up something on the way in, and had dinner on the beach. We seemed to take charge of the imperfections and turned them into something amazing. Thanks for this, Tracey!

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