Disappointment’s a sneaky bitch, isn’t it? You think you’re not vulnerable, that you can take those small doses of everyday distress because, hey, you’re a big girl, you can handle it. Chin up, move on.
But it’s not that simple.
So I’m sitting in my favorite wellness center today, my little place of heaven, where I am massaged and spinally manipulated into holistic health. On my calendar is a one-hour massage with Jessica (the best massage therapist ever) and Active Release Muscle Therapy (which I’ve done for almost a year) with my chiropractor.
Jessica opens the door and says, “Come on back Rachel. Hi, Lynn.”
“Hi, but wait. I’m scheduled for a 1:30,” I say.
Jess says I canceled my appointment a few weeks ago.
“Talk to Caroline. I’ll be right back,” she says and leads Rachel back to my room where I should be stripping down to underwear and socks (yes, I wear my socks because my feet are chronically cold even in 90-degree weather) and jumping under the sheet and sucking on a Hershey dark chocolate Kiss as I breathe deeply and get ready for the torture…I mean massage. People have this idea that massage is decadent, something only rich people do at spas. Ha!! Deep tissue massage – heck, ALL massage – is not all it’s rumored to be. A good massage should hurt sometimes. Hurt good, but hurt, nonetheless.
Anyway, I’m confused. I talk to Caroline, the receptionist, and ask her why I’m off the schedule. There was some mix-up. I’d called in my cancelation for another date and left a message on the answering machine and someone apparently erased me from today. My chiropractor had an opening so at least I could do half of the routine, but I was really looking forward to the massage. All week. When I was working out six days in a row and my muscles ached I kept thinking, “You’ve got a massage coming on Thursday…” I saved up for it. I didn’t eat garlic or put beans on my salad because I didn’t want to offend Jess in any way. I was ready. But I’d been erased.
I sat back down on the couch and waited for my chiro appointment. I took some deep breaths and did what Pema Chodron always tells me to do: feel it, don’t run away from it. Then I felt it. A tear. A freaking tear! I was going to CRY about this? Oh hell no. But I breathed with it, felt the disappointment I was feeling, didn’t dismiss it, and it started to make sense. I’ve been under a lot of stress lately. I was looking forward to an hour of total me time. I wasn’t going to get it. Yes, there’s a war raging in Iraq, bigger global issues at hand, but dammmmit, I was in pain and I needed some relief, physically and emotionally. I didn’t excuse or pooh-pooh my disappointment. I accepted it, let a few tears roll down my face, and I was fine. It was a better solution to chastising myself for feeling sad. What good would that have done?
I saw my chiropractor and tonight, I feel better. Much better than I did last night. I appreciate that. I celebrate that. I also had a long conversation with my friend Pam, whom I’ve known forever. We talked, we laughed, we bitched about politics and I really hated saying goodbye. But it made up for my disappointment.
Life isn’t always what we want it or expect it to be. I know that. It’s impermanent and yet viscous. But still we have to feel those moments and cry in those moments of disappointment, no matter how unexpected.
There’s a half-moon shining above me (the real moon, not my husband’s half ass). The sky is clear, the fireflies are going nuts. I’m going to take in this moment and let it be.
C’mon…tell me what disappoints you, makes you sad in the moment when you think you’re being brave and all that and a piece of chocolate. I can’t be alone here, am I?