Expectations. Many of us have them. They aren’t bad or wrong. And, like weeds disguised as flowers, they can proliferate in the mind with false promises of beauty and permanence.
Have you ever wanted someone, yourself, or a situation to be different, directing the show and dumbfounded when life plays out a script you haven’t written? Are you tired of trying to control each scene like I am? Do the actors listen? Are the props and artwork of each backdrop good enough? Are they even real?
If you resonate with any the above inquires, please know you are not alone. I’d like to share some ways I’ve been practicing with expectations to cultivate contentment.
- Acknowledge, name the expectation. Once known, it can lose it's automatic pilot power over you.
- Breathe with what is happening internally, bow to it as a divine messenger of wisdom not yet recognized. When there is internal space, other possibilities can be seen/heard/felt.
- Get curious about the need beneath the expectation. Do you really want safety, connection, love, acceptance, peace? Ask the question gently; the answer will not come before it's ripe and ready.
- Deepen the attention with compassion- an ally, word, image or phrase that feels comforting. (For some, humor, gratitude, etc. may be more accessible than compassion to deepen attention.)
This process is not cognitive gymnastics. You don’t get an Olympic gold medal for overthinking. If you find the mind or body are contracted, try softer, not harder. Let go of words, the need to know, getting it right. Let go of the practice itself.
It’s common for fear and doubt to arise. If you let go, what’s left? Do you lose others? Do you lose yourself? When you are fully inhabiting this moment as best as you possibly can, there is nothing left but space for seeds of love (or whatever wholesome word fits here for you) to grow, for silence to give birth to the answers you seek.
This process is also not linear. Though I’ve chosen ABCD as acronyms for ease of remembrance, A doesn’t necessarily lead to B, C, and D.
It’s helpful to think of this as a template, a skeleton. How you fill in the missing parts and embody them is up to you. What feels true in your experience? What feels like home?
May this post inspire a contentment far beyond the false facade of happiness advertised in comparing mind, on Facebook, and many other modes of media.
May we find peace and let go, knowing we will forget, trust, and confidently find peace again.