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Learning to Expect Less to Appreciate More :: On Equanimity

Uncategorized May 26, 2020

Hey Lovely,

I read some writing from my surf instructor in Costa Rica recently where she wrote: "Expect less and be happy with the results." 

Right now, Costa Rica, like everywhere, is locked down. 

Her two loves: surfing and the beach, she is not permitted to visit. 

Without being able to teach surfing, yoga, or lead tours for any tourists, she was writing about how she is learning to expect nothing, and be okay with that. 

I loved the simplicity of her words. 

I also love her husband, Alex.  He is the most bad-ass mid 70s surfer dude, who has helped me finally have confidence surfing. 

When I asked him how he and Amy have remained so happy and in love after all these years together he told me:

"Because of there are no expectations.  Every day she leaves to go surfing, and I have no expectation on whether she'll ever return."  

He then went on to talk about them just letting each other have the freedom to each be who they are, and to have no expectations of one another, other than to love and accept the other unconditionally. 

(See cute picture of them below.  If you want to meet these magical humans, fingers crossed that we can all go to Reset Week Retreat next February!). 

It got me thinking about expectations.

When it's good to have expectations, and when our expectations can really disappoint us.

I've had to learn how to manage expectations.

I used to always joyfully expect the most amazing thing to happen, and that was great when it did.

But it also meant that when the thing I expected didn't happen, I would be hit with a particularly numbing sting of disappointment. 

Can you relate?

Maybe you're on the opposite end. 

Low expectations.  Expect the worst. Anticipate failure. 

But within that, it can lead to blocking the flow of joy and excitement, and ultimately the ability to receive when something far better than what you expected rolls in. 

I think many of us are, like my surf instructor suggested, learning how to get comfortable with expecting less, and being okay and appreciative of it. 

You might be vacillating between a very-grim-worst case scenario playing out over the next while, or a rose-coloured-glasses-this-is-definitely-going-to-end-soon...

And the truth is, we just don't know what will happen. 

And our egos hate the unknown, so it latches onto expectations as a means to feel safe.

But right now, these expectations might be robbing you from simply letting go and allowing yourself to trust in the universe a little more gracefully.

So I wanted to share with you my favourite exercise to let go of expectations, trust the universe, and come back to a place of equanimity. 

1. Go through your worst case scenario completely.  What would happen? How would you cope?

2. Go through your best case scenario, or what you hope for.  What would happen? How would that affect your life?

3. Get clear visuals of both, and imagine them in your mind.  Gently go back and forth with the worst case scenario and best in your mind, feeling all of the feelings that come up if either were to happen.

4. Eventually, there won't be an emotional charge around either option happening.  You will feel neutral.  

5. Soon, your rational mind and ego will have wrapped its way around either versions, and what it might mean for your life, so will feel more at ease. 

6. Say a prayer: "I trust that whatever will unfold is for my highest good, and I surrender this outcome to spirit." 

Come back to the present, and take it day by day (or month by month). 

I find taking it month by month to be easier. 

I hope this helps you! It's a tried and true method shared by great teachers of our time like Amma, Byron Katie and Adyashanti. 

Some great quarantine reading on expectations and letting go of them is "Expectation Hangover" by Christine Hassler, and "Letting Go - The Pathway of Surrender" by Richard Hawkins.