When the same themes keep popping up in life, I know that the Universe REALLY wants to get my attention. My last blog was about vulnerability, because that word seemed to be chasing me – showing up in TV shows, in articles, and permeating my emotions in a way that was unavoidable. Similarly, when I needed to make a difficult decision about my life path that I kept putting off, hawks started stalking me – flying at my car and circling over my yard. It felt as though if I didn’t pay attention to what my gut was telling me about that decision, a hawk just might drop a brick on my head! The signs we are given are generally subtle, but when the Universe wants to get your attention repetition seems to be its most powerful tool.
We Are All Messengers
This past weekend while attending a Caroline Myss lecture at The Graduate Institute there were a variety of profound messages that gave me pause. Surprisingly colleagues shared most of these words of wisdom, not the incomparable Myss. One particular message came from a student who commented that something Caroline had written in the book Defy Gravity had literally changed her life. It was a very simple statement – we must approach life without expectations. She went on to describe how different her life felt as soon as she embraced that declaration. By not expecting any particular outcome every event was a surprise, and she was rarely disappointed. When you have no expectations, you stop judging and predicting, and you are better able to live in the moment. Interestingly, in the same discussion, someone else noted that we all have the ability to be messengers for each other. True that!
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
So, I’m rereading my notes from the weekend last night and I am again reminded that living without expectations is the way to achieve a healthy balance. Yet, the message clearly didn’t get through as I continue clinging to all these wishes and wants for my life. I awoke this morning with a sense of irritation that I didn’t have more control over my schedule and my life. I want circumstances to be different than they are. I expect them to be different than they are. I expect that every morning I will wake up and run joyfully to my computer where I churn out the many health books that I so eagerly want to write. And, when I find myself distracted or creatively blocked I end my day feeling dejected. Not exactly living without expectations am I? I clearly needed another reminder, which promptly arrived as an article buried within my Facebook feed. In that piece on Living with Invisible Illness [a great read from a great advocate in this area IMHO], the top recommendation for living well when faced with a chronic condition was “Let go of expectations.”
Letting Go – Again
Message #3 received. But, hey Universe, I’m still not feeling it. I have stuff to do. I have goals to achieve. This letting go stuff is not that easy. I need more help! Ask and you shall receive. Within minutes I had received an e-mail newsletter, and through a series of clicks I came upon an essay in Self magazine in which the author, Pari Chang, lamented about how when she had loads of free time to write, a situation I am suddenly finding myself in, she “mostly frittered it away.” At one point in the article, which happened to involve a series of painful life transitions, Pari relays a conversation with a friend where the friend asks, “How are you holding up?” and Pari replies, “By letting go.”
Letting Go – Your Way
That makes four! Four times in a matter of days I receive the same message. Each time the delivery is slightly different. Each time I get a little closer to really letting it in. The beauty of this last delivery is that it spoke to me in a way that I could most relate. The notion of giving up all expectations of life and simply letting go sounded a little lazy to me, and even a little crazy, when there is so much to do. Luckily, imbedded in that article were personally applicable items that made it clear to me that letting go doesn’t mean turning into a sloth. It means embracing what is personally important, and learning how to surrender to its progression. The author noted that she knew she needed deadlines and structure in order to succeed as a writer. These are elements that I suspect I need as well. So, maybe that’s the key? We must first consider our personal needs, set up the conditions in our life so they support those needs, and then ultimately LET GO!
3 thoughts on “No Expectations”
I’m on the same path in regard to things that keep showing up in your life. I just had the biggest dose ever of learning to give up control. In fact it almost killed me! It’s hard not to have expectations. We are brought up in this culture to plan for everything and the measure of our success is entangled with all those goals and objective operations. We think that if we follow all the ‘How To’ lists that emanate from every source possible, then we will be spared from all the insecurity of our existence. Letting go is an art and it does seem like we might be doing nothing if we really do achieve that state of being. It’s hard to see past all the busy-ness that occupies our thoughts. It can be protective. Expecting, planning, organizing, controlling, all cloud the ability to receive the real messages and feel the universe around us. That’s not easy to do or maintain. Better guys than us have had to go off into the wilderness to get their heads on straight! Messages are in the wind, and the rain, the animal and plant beings talk to us all the time, we carry the spirits of our loved ones with us always. This requires a different kind of listening and we might be tempted to think it is doing nothing. It’s too easy if we are not suffering or struggling. Your observations touched a chord in me because I have been dealing with so much of this very same process for a while. As for now, I’m going to continue on to Damascus and wait for my instructions! I hope you keep up with all your wonderful thought provoking and informative work in a way that is comforting and rewarding to you.
Beautiful Paula! I just heard yet another message of “no expectations” last night while watching Susan Sarandon on Oprah’s Life Class.
Loved the line of conversation with Pari Chang ” I let it go” it has so much meaning in that. You are a great motivator. Thanks for the great info and for sharing your insight.