Charming the Pants Off Pressure

I went through a period not too long ago where it felt like my dreams were sort of beating me up Instead of nodding off and hopping on the train to my happy place as usual, I had been dreaming hard and intensely and not so happily—and waking up feeling anything but rested.

It surprised me, given how beautifully most areas of my life have been unfolding. When I mentioned this to a wise friend (one I don’t shower with), he suggested that it had something to do with putting pressure on myself rather than really tuning into my desires and letting them lead.

So, I turned up the water pressure and as I was lathering up, asked the Shower Team about pressure . . .

You can give yourself a hard time even when you’re sleeping. Dreams are not an escape but a dramatizing of what is most active in your perspective and your focus—and how you are allowing or resisting what you desire. If you are making demands on yourself rather than allowing what you want to unfold, then the work never ends—even when you sleep.

What will help you relax and enjoy your dreams—both the waking and the sleeping ones—is to recognize that pressure is a lie. It is the lie that would try to convince you that anything you really want will emerge out of struggle or out of any trophy that anyone else can hand to you. It’s the lie that says, “If you want this, you better bust your ass to get it.” It’s a pervasive lie. Nearly everyone believes it. Sometimes it’s even a well-meaning lie, sort of like a parent who thinks they have your welfare at heart but who in their efforts to guide or protect you, are really just teaching you that life is hard and you’d better be prepared to sweat bullets to get anywhere.

We challenge you to look back over your own experience and locate anything you received or accomplished or created that came about through pressure. We promise you that anything that has come to you that you truly valued or cherished or were thrilled by came about in spite of pressure not because of it. We also promise you that the carbon resting in the Earth’s tight embrace is not crying out about how hard it is to become a diamond. That process is as much a natural and easy unfolding for those involved as the blooming of any rose and the fulfilling of any desire that you can relax into receiving.

So, you’re encouraged to think of Pressure as an Old Fool. Well meaning, perhaps, but clueless about how things really work, trying to look out for you but really best ignored if you’re going to get where you want to be. Recognize the wisdom and the charm of your desires. Feel how playful and perfect and compelling they are. Your dreams and desires are the coquette (or in your case, the hot stud), bidding you to come hither, to play this joyful game and to coolly and casually charm the pants off Pressure, leaving him (or her) exposed for the clueless curmudgeon that he/she really is. Remind yourself that there is no shortage, no lack, no brief window of opportunity, no door about to swing shut, no timecard about to be punched. Lose the silly scorecard and laugh about it, and the game will get so much sweeter . . .

Maybe in the end, the idea is to line up way more coquettes (or hot studs) than old fools. It feels like a worthy approach and reason to feel, for the moment, complete.


About Dan

Published novelist, poet, essayist, copywriter, photographer and college educator. Visit me at

Posted on April 26, 2007, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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