It’s been 5 months since we landed in this country of wilderness and everyday magic. It’s crazy how fast the time flies. Although it feels way more than just 5 months – a year at least. We’ve got used to that Aussie active lifestyle so quickly, and we embraced all the changes and new environment with our arms open widely. And you know what we’ve learnt from the very first day? The less you expect – the easier life will be! Sometimes you just need to go along with the wind, no matter what direction it’s going, or how tough it is. And as much as I used to hate the saying ‘go with the flow’ I now see a different, better meaning of it. That saying doesn’t mean that now you just have to sit and do nothing – it means to expect less, embrace whatever situation and circumstances, be more flexible and tolerant, and simply enjoy the present. So if you find living life hard sometimes – lower your expectations, and you’ll see that it actually can be much easier than you once thought before.
Why have I never liked that saying? Because I was a rebel since I can remember. I always loved to experiment, and I often would get bored by following other’s directions or living life by someone else’s rules. You see, I love to invent my own rules, so going with the flow has always reflected to me as being lazy, uncreative, or just doing what you’ve been told to do.
And I still find it boring (that kind of lifestyle), but I’ve learnt that the more flexible I am, the easier for me is to get along with people, avoid conflicts, or simply enjoy life to the fullest and appreciate whatever I’m surrounded with even though sometimes that isn’t enough, or I’m impatient and can’t wait for the progress.
Although, I wouldn’t say that boring is a right word for this, but surely that isn’t full palette of colors indeed. You see, everything does happen for a reason, and everything’s connected. And the more open-minded you are, the less you expect – the more of it you enjoy within time. And happiness is what we’re all after, right?
Once you learn to appreciate your very current situation/the present – you find yourself fulfilled, happier, more motivated and productive. I know this might sound like a woo woo, but whatever you send out to the Universe – the same comes back right at ya. I mean, how can you expect something good to happen if you’re constantly complaining about your current situation, things and people you’re surrounded with? Or when you often are disappointed about something because it didn’t meet your expectations?
If you aren’t that happy in the end – so what’s stopping you from taking an action? You might throw hundred of reasons and explanations why aren’t you doing anything about it, but deep down inside you know that these are just excuses and you’re your own reason who’s stopping you from doing this.
And sometimes we are afraid of actions, because we are afraid things that are hard to do and achieve. But if life would be all unicorns and marshmallows – what kind of life that would be? Well, many would enjoy it at first, but soon they would get bored because they would stop improving, growing and changing for the better. Although, I don’t mean to say that shocking and bad things should happen, or that everyone needs a little shake from time to time. Here again I mean to say that we should simply quit the expectations, because only then we’ll be less disappointed in the end and we’ll see how much of a good we are already surrounded with.
And here I have a 5 tips for the ultimate happiness which is achievable by expecting less:
• Empty your cup. In the Zen tradition there is a concept called shoshin, or “beginner’s mind”. It suggests that we should come to every situation with an empty cup, ready to receive. If our cup is full, then we have no place to put what is coming to us. Emptying our cup, we release our expectation and our sense of “knowing” allowing us to see what it is directly in front of us. This sensibility helps us remove our tendency to interject our ego into a situation, and also deflects our tendency to interject control.
• Seeing with a child’s eyes. In seeing with a child’s eyes, every situation will always appear new to us. If every situation is new, then, by definition, we can hold no expectation. We don’t “know” what’s going to happen; we can only wait and see. If we enter into a situation “knowing”, as it were, then we lose the opportunity to experience the nuances and differences that make that experience unique, even if that experience is seemingly identical to one that we’ve had before.
• Be present. Once again I’m going to repeat myself, but in this context if we harbor an expectation, then we are not connected to what’s happening around us. Walking in with a full cup and a sensibility of “knowing”, we are not present in the moment, we are only present in our past. Being present connects us to our experience in such a way that we don’t end up interfering with ourselves or getting in our own way. We are open to the newness of the experience, so it becomes fresh and novel.
• Check your premise. Checking your premise means taking a hard look at whether or not what you believe actually matches with reality. Neurosis is often touted as doing something over and over again expecting it to change. The belief system version of that is a sort of frozen world view – “That’s just how it is” or “That’s just the way I am”. Taking a step back from a consistently disappointing experience and looking at whether or not we’re starting from a realistic place will help us adjust our perspective in such a way so as to more accurately match reality and get a potentially different outcome.
• Discard your fixed fantasies. Many times, the people whom we encounter in our lives tell us stories and we fervently cling to them. These are often cultural notions like, “If I go to a college I’m going to get a really good job and be wealthy after it’s” or “If I marry the right kind of wo/man, I am going to be a success”. Other ideas we hold dear are simply woven into the fabric of culture and society like, “A woman’s place is in the home” or “Men are the breadwinners”. Discarding these sorts of societal fixed fantasies is something that is very important for us in terms of learning to be flexible within the context of a changing culture. If, say, we bring to the table of the mores with which our parents raised us and try to apply them to a teenager in the 21st century, it’s simply not going to work because those mores – and the expectations that spawned them — are trapped in the time they were applicable.
Let me know what expectations you are struggling with the most and how you deal with them. I hope you will enjoy this post and find it useful :)
We are finally headed to Rottnest Island tomorrow and that I’m so excited about! I can’t wait for all the adventure, although I have promised myself to take everything easier with the photography and videos this time – I admit, I’m too harsh on myself and I often throw myself in this rollercoaster of photography where I later realize that I haven’t enjoyed the view and that particular experience with my own eyes, not through a camera lens. Buuuut.. you still can expect lots of snaps and instagram stories, so make sure you follow along! Have a great week everyone!