Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Joy of Zero Expectations

"I have spent much of my life being distracted by what could be." ~ Clarice Bryan

Want to find happiness right now? Clear your mind for a minute and then repeat after me: “expect nothing.”

So much of our society is tied up in things that haven’t happened yet. We obsess on what we want to happen, what we think should happen, what we are convinced is going to happen. We tell ourselves that a move to a new town is going to change our lives for the better. We leave one job for another, sure that we'll finally be able to get the appreciation we deserve. We get that second degree, convinced that it will open more doors on the job front.

So what happens when we make that move to a new town and our lives don’t change? When we get to the new job and discover that this new boss is just as horrid as the former one? When we graduate with degree in hand and discover there are no jobs to be had?

We feel disappointment (at the least) or become severely depressed (at the most). We are convinced that life is unfair and we will never be able to get anywhere. We had so many hopes and expectations… and they were dashed. Put simply, we are unhappy because what we thought was going to happen, didn’t happen.

The truth is, we don’t know what’s around the corner. So what would happen if we were to become a feather in the wind and just go where the wind blows? Move into that new town, or job, or situation with absolutely no expectations whatsoever… good or bad? To plunge headfirst into the situation just to experience it, rather than tie our hope for the future on it? What if we tried to live more in the moment rather than in the days ahead?

I realize this is more than just a simple switch. It’s not easy to give up a lifetime of worrying and obsessing about the future, especially in our society, where we’ve all been taught that we are entitled to the “American Dream.” Aren’t we supposed to get that great job, home, partner, car, etc…?

It’s good to have goals. It’s good to strive and work hard for those things. But it can become a problem when we start putting inordinate pressure on ourselves and start to become disappointed (or depressed). Why don’t I have that job/home/partner/car yet? What is wrong with me? Why isn’t my life turning out the way it was supposed to? Life sucks!

If those internal dialogues sound familiar, it might be worth it to start trying to clear your mind of expectations. We are all entitled to happiness. And we can find it in the simplest things if we lift the veil of expectation.

Just something to think about.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Power of Forgiveness

Should I even start explaining where I've been? Yikes. It's been almost a year.

The short story is: I've been studying and working as an intuitive life coach and counselor. The long story is much more complicated, and too involved to get into right now. ;)

Instead, I want to share something with you that someone urged me to share. It deals with a recurring theme in my sessions lately. The dreaded "F" word. 


When clients ask me the best way to “clear their path,” we almost always end up talking about an event that’s happened in their lives they find they can’t truly release. 

Everyone has someone in their lives who has wronged them in some way. Some breach of trust that caused the person on the receiving end to close off their heart a bit. Not in just romantic relationships, but also relationships with relatives, co-workers, friends. Even complete strangers can hurt each other. The unscrupulous financier who stole your entire life savings. The man in the park who violently attacked you for your wallet.

When these things happen to us, a little part of us - the part of us that wants to trust - puts up a wall of sorts. Sometimes the wall is there to simply keep out that specific person, other times the wall is a bit taller and thicker, and you start to cast a suspicious eye on everyone.

It doesn’t matter how big the wall is, however. Once you set up any wall inside your heart, it’s harder for other things – potentially great things – to get in.

So at this point in the conversation, we talk about forgiveness and the importance of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is one of those concepts that gets a bad rap. And I do understand why. Why in the world would you ever want to forgive someone who has done something horrific to you? How can you “let them off the hook” like that? That person deserves anger being tossed their way!

I understand the trepidation, but forgiveness can be more about you than about the other person, because it is an act of release. It doesn’t have to be letting anyone "off the hook." In fact, you don’t even have to tell the other person you forgive them. You just need to forgive them in your heart.

Think about a situation where someone caused you great pain. Does it still bring up horrible memories and feelings of anger or sorrow concerning that person? If so, that experience (and that person) is in control of your feelings. The event - even if it happened many years ago - is still very much in the Present. Wouldn’t you like to let go of that pain?

Forgiveness is the key. Once you forgive the person who did this to you, you are no longer allowing them (and what they did to you) to control your emotions. You are taking back your personal power by saying, “I forgive you. I’m going to release these feelings of anger and pain concerning you. Whatever you do now is not my concern, because I am putting this behind me and moving on with my life.”

Another benefit of forgiveness is that it’s the first step to tearing down the wall you’ve formed around your heart. Without the wall in place, you no longer bring the pain of past experience with you into future experiences. You no longer place the face of the person who wronged you on the faces of others – some of whom might be trying to love you deeply. You start living Life again because you are moving forward with hope in your heart instead of anger. That’s a beautiful thing.

Don't let anyone tell you you're a victim. You have the power to change that.

EDITED TO ADD: I should have also said that just because you forgive someone doesn't mean you should completely forget. Many of these experiences are also life lessons - so you never find yourself in the same situation again. But that's another post for another time.
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