Letting go of expectations, well, at least trying…
June 4, 2013
When I was training with YogaFit, we heard this mantra in almost every class, “Letting go of competition, judgment and expectations…” I could understand letting go of competition, and I could work on letting go of judgment, but expectations? I thought it was pretty strange to let go of expectations when you were attending a yoga class. Don’t people go to classes expecting something?
Recently I had the thought that expectations are sort of like hopes and dreams. They keep you motivated to move ahead and continue on whatever path you’re on. They give you a goal to work toward, and when that goal is inner peace, well, how can an expectation be harmful?
Then, last week, in the midst of some challenge or another, I heard that voice, “Letting go of competition, judgment and expectations…” and the word, “expectations” rang in my ears. In fact, it pierced through my ears straight into my brain like a bolt of lightening. I heard it loud and clear. I decided that it would be to my benefit to stop wanting what I didn’t have—more money, feet in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at the same time, a “real” house to call home, friends who want to travel with me or at least meet me somewhere, a better body, more money—all of that was causing me to suffer, a lot. Once I let go of expecting anything, I started to appreciate what was right in front of me. Again.
This lesson has presented itself to me over and over since I started practicing yoga and studying eastern philosophy. Here is the simple lesson: Be happy with what you have and you will be happy. Wish for more and you will always want more. It’s a good thing to learn when you’re 55 years old. I just hope I can continue letting go of expectations. It is a process, and I’m sure I’ll question it a few more times before it becomes part of me, but right now I feel more at peace. Sure I miss my family, east and west, and I miss my friends and I still want to sit by the Atlantic Ocean for about three months straight, and I will probably always want a better body and more money, but maybe not.
Maybe I’ve crossed over a line, or reached the top of the mountain, (finally) or the end of this chapter. Maybe the rest of my life will be more present-oriented. I think I may have camping to thank for that. There’s nothing that brings you into the present moment more than waking up with the first rays of sunlight, or hearing the first birdsong of the day, or listening to the stories of your 80-something year old neighbors, or watching a group children running toward the lake squealing with delight. I think I’m going to like this chapter. But I’ll try not to expect anything. I’ll just experience it and appreciate it, whatever “it” is.
Thanks YogaFit for this simple lesson.
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