Here is my new mantra for 2013: Expect nothing. Welcome everything.
I took this from an excellent post by Leo Babauta. Here’s why it’s so powerful for me. I believe that most of the pain we experience as humans fits into the gap between what we think should happen and what actually happens. We’re poisoned by expectations, comparison, and envy.
I want to stop expecting. Stop creating internal timelines that only I am aware of. Stop holding everyone – including me – to an impossible standard of success, of performance, of behavior. I want to let the world unfold in its own time. I worry that I am missing out on some wonderful experiences because I am overscheduled.
The brilliant Lissa Rankin calls this mindset being too “spermy” (motile, struggling, always pushing, always seeking.) The opposite, being open and receptive, she calls “eggy.” Here are her signs you are pushing too hard:
- Your work drains you, rather than fulfilling you.
- You feel like you’re pushing uphill and nothing flows.
- When you do succeed, you feel like you worked your ass off to make it happen.
- You fail to savor your successes along the way, focusing instead on what you have yet to achieve.
- You’re more motivated by pleasing other people than by pleasing yourself.
- You’ve lost faith in magic.
- Your life is fun-deficient.
- You’re over-scheduled but underpaid.
- Doors keep getting closed in your face.
- You never smack your “That Was Easy” button. Ever.
The second part of the mantra is “Welcome everything.” Be open. Be ready. Accept what is and ponder it before wishing or pushing it away. Randomize your life.
We tend to get stuck in patterns of behavior that limit our experience to what we know, what we’ve done, and what we expect. What’s comfortable for us is what is familiar to us. This year, I’m going to make sure I have more random experiences. Here are a couple of things I plan to try. As a matter of fact, I’ll start now: when I typed the previous sentence, I accidentally typed: “Here are a couple of thinks I plan to try.” I refuse to believe that it was a typo. So here are my new thinks for 2013:
- Never sit next to someone I know at an event (thank you, Marilyn Feldstein, for teaching me this.)
- Randomize who I connect with. At your next event, I plan to start up a conversation with everyone who’s wearing red. Or any criterion of my in the moment choice. But I’ll make the choice random and see what happens.
- Give away more than I acquire. I want to make room, both physically and spiritually, for more of what I want in my life. To do that, I need to create space. If it doesn’t wildly excite me, move me to tears, or serve a higher good in my life, it goes.
- Be wide open. I will treat new people I meet as though we are already friends. I will go deeper, faster – cut to the essence of what I think and want to share.
What are the new thinks you’re willing to try?