When we set up an expectation of how any given moment will be, we do two things. We move out of the present moment or the reality of how things are right now and we move towards suffering, hurt, pain or disappointment. We can have expectations about anything. How good we should be at our yoga practice, what our partner should say or do for us, how our cake should turn out or how our employees should be performing. Sometimes we just put pressure on ourselves to act or be a certain way. We expect that we should be kind not angry, we expect that we should eat the right foods and exercise enough. We expect that we should be able to perform a variety of tasks all equally well without fault.
My expectation that things should go a ‘certain’ way is a short cut to the destination ‘disappointment’. This path of high hopes seems so familiar especially with the things that matter the most. This weekend I had arranged a yoga event. I expected the weather would be nice, it rained. I planned we would be outside around the bonfire, it was too wet. I expected more people, but not everyone came. I expected to smell nature, but could only smell sheep poo. I expected with all my planning I would be well prepared, I forgot most of what I wanted to teach. I expected way too much especially of myself. What I pictured in my mind was almost the exact opposite of what I got.
The fact of life is that we can’t control anything. The best that we can do is do the best we can. The best we can do is stay present to how things are right now. The best we can do is let go of the fruits or the outcome of our work. The best we can do is say…. I see you life, coming at me and all that, even though I have this plan, I’m just going to surrender to what is right now. The best we can do is take our expectations down a notch and meet life as it meets us, no matter the outcome.
When we put down our expectations, we can pick up appreciation of what we already have in front of us.
Practice for today: When life throws you a curve ball, your partner/boss/ child/ you don’t live up to your expectations of life take a moment out and ask yourself…..Does it really matter? What can I gain from surrendering to how things are now? How does being so hard on myself help me become a better more loving and accepting person of the life I am in right now? How can I move from expect to accept?