What is a passion or hobby that is perfect and never challenges you, or makes you question? Frustrations happen, misunderstandings happen, disruptions happen, tempers flair, and all of it can test your resolve. I have been prone to this in my position as not only a 'Kite Enthusiast', but in helping lead an organization that has kite flying as a focus. This has been weighing heavily on my mind for the past year, and now is a good time to let go of those frustrations.
1. Taking Things Personally - I am not sure how to word this one, but it has to be at the top of the list (The previous lists were not ordered by importance) Sometimes in the midst of a conversation that I am having with another rather passionate kite person, things, can sometimes feel like they are turning. It can feel like the comments are losing their focus and becoming pointed at me, or the particular type of kites I fly. I am very passionate about my kites and supporting kite flying. It can feel like a personal attack when someone is telling me that I don't support Big Kite Fliers, Fighter Kites, or Wind Art, etc..... (Not true by the way) I do support and gladly help bring attention to all aspects of kite flying, regardless of whether or not I am personally involved. It can feel like a personal attack when the language turns to 'you.. you... you'. This has been one I am working on constantly. There has been a LOT of improvement over the past few years, however every now and then one incident slips in there and just rubs me wrong. I have to let it go.
2. Hangups About Perfect Conditions - I say this a lot... say it repeatedly.... and I really need to take my own advice. Why wait for the perfect weather. Why sit at home because the wind is only 2 mph instead of 12 mph. Why decide to keep my kites stored because there are clouds in the sky?
Shut up... go fly. Let my fingers get cold, let my sweatshirt get wet, sit around in the grass counting goose poop. Stop getting frustrated that the conditions are not perfect.... just do it.
3. Being Shy/Afraid/Concerned That 'IT' isn't Good Enough - This goes for my kite flying, or perhaps any kite I build. The point is not to wait for the masterpiece, or the perfect flying routine to get out there and do it. In fact, the first time I ever competed indoors was pretty much a spur of the moment thing that was pushed on by Paul. We went to an event, and he told me 'oh by the way you are going to compete'.
Guess what, I did. The next few competitions I actually thought about planning and preparing, and giving the best that I could. The key is knowing that it could be the best I could be or do at that time. Not the best performance of my life never to be repeated. It could also be the act of doing it for the sake of doing it. (which there is a different kind of merit in)
4. Inaction in Others - This is an overall frustration that I have in life, and I liken it to being on the kite field and being frustrated that someone else isn't flying a kite. It is pointless to focus on it. Maybe that person has other priorities or needs that are more pressing than the need to fly a kite at that very moment. I practice mindful meditation, and one of the prompts I have is that "My frustrations are based in inappropriate expectations of others". Is it right to expect everyone at a kite event to fly a kite from sun up to sundown? Or is that an inappropriate expectation? If I have that expectations and look out on the field where we are performing for the public and see that most kite fliers are just standing around looking at the weather... and get frustrated... is that their fault? It is on me (the frustrated one) to take a step back and re-evaluate my expectations and understand the actions/inactions of others. Did that make sense? I dunno. It does in my head. :)
5. What you Resist Persists - I like to think of Bol kites. The harder you pull against the kite, the harder it pulls back. Sometimes at kite festivals we will have Bol Races, where we grab a few folks from the audience and 'strap the kite' to them. They are then told to run across the field against the wind. Now, there is a trick to Bol's. If you want to be first across the line, you go slower. The harder you pull against the straps and run, the harder the kite pulls back. It is essentially a large parachute and spins and bounces behind you.
Perhaps this one isn't so much a single frustration, as an overall feeling. The things that I am resisting the most, are the ones that are not only receiving the most attention, but they are fighting back the hardest. Stop pulling so hard on the Bol. Let it bounce and float behind you and keep steadily moving forward. It will eventually collapse. The bigger 'it' is... the harder you think you have to push, and the harder it will pull you back. Slow down.... collect your wits about you, and steadily push on.
6. Expecting Others to Know What I Need - this comes down to understanding that I have to ask for help, and do so clearly. I might not always get help, but I can't fault people for not knowing. This is a frustration that can easily be solved by simply voicing my need. Over the past decade I have been trying to work on being more concise and clear in expressing my needs.
7. Those That Bring Politics or Religion Into a Discussion About Kites - Whew.... this is a sensitive one. There 'we' are, having a nice discussion about kites, or kite flying. Perhaps talking about the problems of access, or the different groups of people in the kite community, and in steps Johnny On-the-spot with some comment that lets us know that they are a fan/hater of the President, or that they feel strongly about a given political party, etc... It is frustrating, because it feels like:
"Hey Timmy, happy third birthday, by the way I think that the inflation of the Zimbabwe currency is a certain sign of government collapse"
Ok.... well... That's nice.
So here is where I am trying to re-frame my thinking. Politics and religion are other facets of individual that make a person unique. Just like the way that they fly, or the kite they fly. These interjections of politics, religion, etc... are them simply expressing their uniqueness. This one is going to need a bit of work.
8. Generational Bashing - this one kind of goes back to number one. It is incredibly disheartening to read offensive and negative comments about my generation (Gen-X/Millennials). Comments like 'we are lazy', or 'we don't know how to connect'. Or that it is our fault for the way things are, or our fault that kite flying as a hobby is not as widespread as it used to be. It is frustrating to read these, because it is playing a blame game. It becomes a fighting match to place the most blame on one person or one group of people when that is the completely wrong way to look at things.
I try not to make broad sweeping generalizations about a group of people, and even go to great lengths to think about my wording on certain public statements. So comments that do include generation bashing, strike a particular nerve with me. Sigh.... I have to work on this one.
9. Mistakes by Experts - It is natural for us to place experts, or those that we perceive as more experienced as ourselves above us. Experts, like the rest of us are fallible. They don't ALWAYS get it right, nor are they always correct about a given situation. Sometimes they make mistakes, sometimes the information is outdated, sometimes they are experts in something else. Don't throw out the good information they might have on something, because they didn't get the other thing right.
10. Frustrations with frustration - This one may seem like a bit of a cop out, but bare with me. Frustration is not an inherently bad thing. It is okay to be frustrated, just like it is okay to be bored.
Check out this TED talk about being bored, and how it can lead you to be more creative.
So yeah, frustration isn't something to run from. It is something to learn from, and that makes it cool! Sitting here writing this list has helped solidify this point for me. I am rethinking my actions, and how I am going to go ahead with the new year.