The Pitfalls of Expectations

Instead of being disappointed when things don’t go my way, this year I’m focusing on letting go of expectations in the first place. Being open, flexible.

When I head out to the river with Brennyn, I convince myself it’s a new adventure with my girl, though subconsciously, I see now, I have expectations of another day filled with eagles and peace and sun. My first hint that expectations are knocking is when the park I have envisioned visiting is closed. Irritated, I swear under my breath, lament about things never working out, then set about formulating Plan B, otherwise known as the Not As Good But Will Have To Do Plan.

A flash of my ‘letting go’ intention arises just as I’m passing a parking lot and trail I’ve never been on before. Swerving into that parking lot, a spark of flexibility allows for the abandonment of my itinerary for the day.

Gathering Brennyn and our stuff, I double check the backpack full of the things we might need. Snacks, water, dog leash, secret stash of snacks (because in my experience, there can never be enough snacks on an adventure!) Mentally checking off the list of items, Brennyn pushes me aside, lunges herself back in the car, and exits with two more items to add.

Pink flowery magnifying glass, check.

Magic wand, check.IMG_8124

Open to the possibilities.

As we begin walking, my brain drifts to the ‘I wonder if this walk from here is too long. Is it too icy? Will we see the eagles from this side? What if Brennyn is bored and I have to drag her back screaming?’

Meanwhile, Brennyn is crouched down on the icy path using her magic wand to dig out a special rock. Stopped again a few steps away, she pry’s up an icy pinecone, hands it to me, takes off her backpack, finds the magnifying glass, takes back the pinecone, and inspects. Walking some more, she stops suddenly. Then jumps. Then giggles at that intrinsic joy that comes from breaking ice. IMG_8123

In retrospect, with every stop my girl has us do, my expectations subside. I don’t wonder about eagles or distance or cold or food as we are too busy getting on with the business at hand- treasures and games and giggles.

As inspiring as my eagle day had been, today’s marveling of treasures closer to the ground is equally as inspiring.

A lesson learned from my girl because I allowed myself an opening to learn it.

Just as easily, the day could have began with my cursing the closed park, driving right on by the unexpected spot, rushing out of the car leaving behind magical additions, being disappointed at no eagle spottings, getting annoyed at the constant stopping… A day filled with disappointments because nothing was going my way.

As it is, a slight opening of space in my consciousness allows for me to veer into the unknown, slow my pace, see beyond my expectations for things. Leading me to explorations, adventure, and treasures instead.

“May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease
to discover the new direction your longing wants you to take…”
~from Blessing, by John O’Donohue



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