Last time I went to get a manicure, I carefully selected my color and sat waiting in the chair next to my friend. We were there right as they opened so we had to wait before they were ready to start. Once the manicurist got started, he grabbed the tips of my fingers and shook my hand, trying to loosen it up, kindly saying, “Let go.” This happened a few times throughout the process. Apparently, as he tried to position my fingers in the way that he wanted, my fingers, without any instruction from me to do so, resisted.
Since then, I have been acutely aware of my relationship with flexibility and control. I know this much about myself– I like to know what to expect. Sure, I’m all for flexibility, but in order to be flexible, there has to be a plan to deviate from… right? Think of it in terms of physical flexibility: if we were all just blobs, no one would be flexible. It’s because we have arms and legs that typically move in certain ways, that we are able to define what flexible is.
But when you can’t relax your hand long enough for someone who you are paying to paint your fingernails to paint your fingernails, there’s a problem.
I have taken some baby steps in letting go of some control and my need to plan. Just a few weeks ago, a friend and I were arranging to meet up for drinks. We picked a day and then I got a text that asked if we could play the time by ear. My brain almost exploded. “Say yes. The answer to that question is yes…” I repeated as a mantra, trying, unsuccessfully, to convince myself that it was true. Then I remembered the manicure and the gentle nudging of the manicurist, “Let go…” (here, italics read as a whisper). With that, I reached a compromise. “Sure. Before or after dinner, though?” I replied. It was decided that we would meet up after dinner. Like I said, baby steps.
Back to the manicure, for it had one more lesson to impart. After he was done, I sat for just about as long as I could stand (Sat for just as long as I could stand? Who am I? Yogi Berra?) and then left with my friend to window shop at a few stores. A not-so-long story even shorter, my new manicure was pretty much ruined. Several of my newly painted fingernails bore smudges and ever-so-slight imprints of my other fingers’ fingerprints. Patience is the other lesson here. Take your time, sit still, allow things to settle before moving onto the next thing. Nothing is going to run away from you.
Not even a full week later, I removed the polish from my fingers– a fresh start.
The moral of this manicure is:
Let go of control every once in a while and sit still for just a few minutes longer than you think you can.