Home today…mental health day after yet another miserable day at work caused by others. I’m resting and thinking once again about the future.
Something is afoot. I’m feeling it. If I had someone to read my astrology chart, I believe they would say times they are a-changin’. And I believe good things are ahead.
Already some people are back in my life that I know will be making a difference. A dear friend just returned from his two plus years in the Peace Corps. We were thick as thieves before he left, but could not be as in touch while he was in Africa. I’m delighted to have him back.
A less close pal has also drifted into my life, and we speak almost daily too. This has been a calming influence on my life in time where I have needed it. And there have been deepening relationships with other old and dear friends that just continue to grow, ripen and blossom. New friendships too, sprung from this very blog, are cherished even though I may never actually meet these wise and funny people.
So I am comforted by the fact my life is shifting. And moves that are to make for peace in my life must be made now. I’ve been nervous to do so before because of lack of confidence, or simply resting in the status quo of my daily grind. But now I must take the leaps.
I’m putting my faith in the fact that nothing has to be finite. Any change I make can be unmade. Some not so easily, but forging forward is sometimes just what needs to be done. My mother used to say: when one door closes, another opens. Sometimes in ways we don’t even imagine.
I certainly hope she was right.
Having any kind of expectation, big or small, can lead us down a slippery slopes of hope and disappointment. But realistically, we have them all the time! Whether it’s in relationships, love or casual, in our jobs, starting some sort of new project, for our children, desires for ourselves: these expectations can take us to places in our minds where sometimes we’d be better off not visiting.
We’ve all been in the uncomfortable situations, especially when beginning a new relationship, where we may dream up our anticipation of the landscape of the future together. Or when starting that new job, we may see ourselves rising to new heights, or having our desires fulfilled, or making enough money to pay all our bills. We even get expectations when starting a diet, or deciding to run a marathon, or write a book, swim the English channel or learn a new language–these all come with challenges.
And this is where we get into murky waters, the dark forests of our own minds when we set ourselves up. Setting goals, even realistic ones, can be extremely difficult especially when it may involve another person. When having expectations involving a relationship, they will not just necessarily involve our hopes and desires, but someone else’s energy, time, personality and input. This makes it very easy therefore to become disappointed when the two people don’t see eye to eye on the scope of things. Often it’s these dashed expectations more than actual loss that ends up breaking apart a potential healthy situation.
There is nothing wrong with having positive hopes and aspirations when stepping into something new. The issue arises when we let ourselves plummet into sadness and despair if the outcome isn’t as we pictured. When we end up not losing any weight on the diet, or we hit the wall in the marathon and don’t finish, or no editor will publish our book–these are all excruciating losses for us! It’s easy to become depressed because we had set a goal–we had an expectation of an outcome that didn’t happen. It’s easy to feel like we failed.
But this is when we must climb back up the slippery slope and stand for a moment. Stand and quiet our minds and take a moment to look at the situation from a different perspective. If one has already had an outcome that did not fit the way it was imagined or perceived it would, then instead of being disappointed, try to look at the pieces leading up to the outcome instead. What was learned along the way? Was anything positive gained? How could it be changed for the next time? Could a new outcome be created? Could you ‘paint’ a new expectation and make it happen? So using the old cliché: look at the journey instead. Take the focus away from the finality of the moment of what you may not have gotten, but rather on what you did get.
And if you are standing on the brink of the slope and haven’t yet formed those expectations, take a big breath! Clear your mind and sweep it clean! Maybe try to go into the new moment with no expectations! Take the hand of the new person with no preconceived notions in your mind and just let it play out. Walk into that new job and simply do your best–let that speak for itself. Try that new project with no thoughts of how it will turn out, and be happy with how it does. Let your kids just be who they are, no matter what.
Living life this way is with an open heart and soul is certainly challenging! Our expectations creep in on us like small waves to the shore ready to grind the sands of our mind down. But if you don’t let them, it’s very freeing. If you allow yourself to be open, allow that other person be who they are and accept them, accept yourself too–you may find far more peace walking through life.
Somehow lately I feel like I keep wishing for a lot. Maybe you do all too? Big wishes, little wishes. Personal ones, worldwide ones. If only I was a fairy or had a magical genie to grant my wishes–even just a few. Or maybe once in a while a wish here and there. So maybe if I write some of them down and put them out in the blog-o-sphere, some will float into space and be caught and granted by some gracious entity. Here are some:
1. I wish they would hurry up and find a cure for cancer, so my very dear friend, and all the millions that suffer from this withering disease can live out their lives. It’s such a strange one, grasping onto anyone it can regardless of lifestyle, creed, economic status, gender, age, or anything remotely tangible!
2. I wish there would be a stop to the madness of the seemingly random killing of innocent people every time we turn around. In malls, in schools, in parking lots, at marathons, at churches… Can we figure out a way to have a better healthcare system to help people who need guidance through their difficulties? Must we keep propagating these atrocities on the media for young people to copy cat? Nobody should have to live in fear of gathering.
3. I wish I could make my children happy without having to worry I am perpetuating what appears to be the current model of kids nowadays. This generation of taking everything for granted, of worshiping material things, of feeling constantly entitled. If only they understood simplicity and that joy comes from more than iPads and smartphones. If only they understood it’s about love, family and being in the now.
4. I wish I had more time to do the things I like to do, whatever that might be: hang out with a friend, be outside, or just be quiet. It seems my life is constantly about making enough money to pay the bills. And it is passing by so quickly now! It actually is frightening how the days roll around. If I could slow them down and just enjoy each moment more.
5. I wish I had more to give to others: more money, more time, more love, more patience. Most days I don’t feel I do enough (haven’t done enough) good for this world. My hope is that some day I will have that chance.
6. I wish I could find my birth family. This is a wish I have had my whole life.
7. I wish I could figure out how to love someone else or if I should. This is something that continues to baffle me. It’s an unending question that has haunted me my whole life. And I’m not sure I will ever get this one granted.
8. I wish someday to have a job that I absolutely adore going to every day. One where I am giving back to the world/society in a bigger way. One that fits into my life and lifestyle more than now.
9. I wish for the world to figure out peace. Somehow for people killing people all over the world, and starving people, and making people move out of their own countries…it would all stop. That we could figure out living in harmony on this planet.
10. I wish we would stop destroying our planet: the earth, the animals, the sky, the ocean. That we humans before it’s really, honestly too late, start making real laws, real efforts to understand that it’s a world we leave behind for generations to come.
These are just some wishes. Simplistic I know. And maybe unrealistic. But they plague me. Every day when I hear the news and am bombarded with the stories of the world or our own country! If I had my magic wand, I would do my best to try to change things. I do my best now with some of these things I suppose. But it often feels hopeless. So maybe if we all wish together, like a giant prayer group or massive human consciousness–we can create change. We at least have to try.
Ah spring seems to have finally hit New England! I never thought it would. The last of the snow has melted from my yard. But as I walked the dogs today, a neighbor was moving the last of his snow pile in hopes of helping it along I’d imagine!
The signs are really abounding now. It was warm enough today to get out in the yard and even do some work. Time to drag out the flower pots, although planting is still some weeks away. All the garden statues are happily outside and have taken residence in their usual spots. I attempted to smooth out the deep ruts in the driveway made by the mud and rain. And I even had some leftover bark mulch to toss on last years area around the house, so that should save some money this year!
Neighbors were out, fixing and walking. And in typical New England style, many don’t say hello when I walk by with dogs. But it’s still good to see them out and about. Some neighbors have accepted me finally after eight years of living around here. They say in these towns, they don’t say it’s your house until you move, then it becomes ‘the old so and so residence’.
This year I’ve joined my next door neighbor’s Community Supported Agriculture small farm. I’m so excited. They are a young couple with small children, some goats, guinea fowl and other various pets. It’s wonderful to have such a venue so close to home.
Soon the bulbs will be up, I’ll be planting, everything will be turning green and all the birds will be back. I have already heard my loon, saw a muskrat for the first time, heard an owl the other morning and various song birds are at the feeder. I look forward to my heron and the eagle.
Everything seems easier as the weather warms. Troubles seem less, my outlook more positive, life more hopeful. and best of all, the pellet stove has stopped running so much! This means everything isn’t as expensive now too!
So everyone who has been cold, indoors, lacking sun like me: time to rejoice and soak up the rays now while we can! Because before we know it, the geese will be flying south again!