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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Changing expectations

I just got back from yoga fresh with an important reminder: "No use crying over spilled milk." What the teacher talked about today was changing our expectations. We often plan our lives with the idea that things will actually unfold the way we planned them. We dream of somehow controlling our own destiny or tiny universe. And to a degree, we can. On the other hand, we cannot control everything.
We often expereince our worst suffering when circumstances do not meet our expectations. At that point we have a choice. We can either get bent out of shape and hang on to what we expected, or we can let go of our expectations and embrace our reality, even if it is not the one we imagined for ourselves.
I have gone through life kicking and screaming against this point of view. I am a control freak. I want to control everything, even the things I can't. This has really only led me to disappointment and stress. MS has changed me fundamentally though. This is not to say that I don't hate disappointments, I am just learning to let them go. I am learning to accept things as they unfold.
At times this is hard. For example: I recently applied for a promotion at work. I really thought my chances were good and I really believed that I would not need to spend another year teaching a classroom full of teenagers. Then, before I even walked into the interview, I saw part of the competition and knew that the role I sought would not be mine. I interviewed anyway with the idea that if I did not get my first choice of position, I still had a good chance of getting a position. Alas, I did not. I accepted this quickly as I assumed that the competition must have been a lot more qualified then me. Imagine my chagrin when I found out that a colleague, 6 years my junior, less experienced and less qualified had gotten one of the roles I sought. When I learned this I was more than a little upset. I even cried a little but then I accepted my fate.
I am now resigned to the idea that my promotion was not meant to be. I am adjusting to the idea of teaching again (MS and all). I am blessed to have tenure now and health insurance. I get to teach yoga. Perhaps this cloud has a silver lining... I can now support my colleagues and let go of my jealousy and/or resentment.
I can also view each thing that comes to pass as an opportunity and not a travesty. It seems to keep me healthier and less stressed out. I'm not nearly as evolved as I would like to be. I still slip back into disappointment when I don't get what I want. I still have a "dark side." Yet, I am finding happiness in the simple things.


Serina said...

I'm reading a new book and it talked a little about how much power negative thoughts/energy really has on us, not only emotionally, but physically as well.

It is hard to let things be sometimes, I know it is a real struggle for me, but it sounds like you are on the right track.

As unfair as things seem sometimes I'm convinced there is a reason. Its not always evident right this second, but a missed opportunity here may actually occur in order to free you up for something even better later. (in the least case, makes me feel better about missed opportunities ^^ )


Serina's right. I've been one to bang my head against the wall (metaphorically,of course) in frustration of not achieving the job (or whatever) I wanted. It was after I stopped pounding that something ultimately much greater presented itself in my life.

The year that I was being diagnosed and undergoing lots of treatment, I tried to work as much as possible to keep my connections. Calls actually slowed down and I was very sad about that. However when I suffered another severe relapse in the spring, I didn't need to cancel on any performances (which is worse than turning down work in the first place).

The following year I was sad again that the phone just wasn't ringing. But how did I know that I would practically lose use of my hands/fingers for about six months. My problems turned out not to be MS or carpal tunnel syndrome, but rheumatoid arthritis. Again I was spared the kiss-of-death of turning down work when contractors call.

My performance schedule is nothing like it used to be, but now I have more time to rest when I need to and I'm not rushing around just trying to fit everything into my schedule.

I've learned not to fret so much with disappointments but I still struggle with that trait. Actually I think that acupuncture, and more specifically my acupuncturist, helped me with learning to let go.

Evolving is not easy, but it is rewarding.

Denver Refashionista said...

Thanks for the words of wisdom ladies. I think you are right. My time and my opportunity will come.