Letting go of expectations: this is something I will likely be challenged by throughout my lifetime. And there is a scientific reason for this: our memories are programmed to recall “highs,” “lows,” and “endings.” There are so many times when I essentially completely disregard the process of something, fixating only on whatever emerged from it. It is easy for me to dwell on a moment of magnetic sexual chemistry, or a painful breakup; harder to recall are the moments of seemingly mundane but simple pleasures my partner and I experienced. It is rare for me to celebrate my “small victories” when a work project ends up being scrapped, or doesn’t yield the results I’m expecting. It’s easier for me to call this a walloping FAIL — and then comes the slippery slope, as oftentimes, our brains turn “This project failed” into “I am a failure.” For me, language like this allows the shame monster to come out in full force.
So today, I invite us all to relax from the controlling grip of the belief of “things are only as good — or as bad — as they end up.” Let’s practice allowing experiences to be about each present moment that makes them up, rather than the end result. Can you disentangle from your attachment to outcome? Can you dare to let things be as they are?
- The first moment of realization that we were entering a Sophie Paradise driving down the main strip of Ngapali Beach and literally every restaurant having “seafood” in its name. 🙂
- Deep wonder and awe on the beach: feeling the unbelievably soft sand, witnessing the idyllic setting, touching the water and wriggling with giddy satisfaction from its luxuriously warm temperature. Feeling indescribably lucky and humbled.
- Walking without shoes down a strip of the beach — the first time I walked any extended distance barefooted since my foot injury and resultant surgery, June 2016!
- My most enjoyable swimming experience in remembered history. This was made possible by a set of great goggles, the buoyancy of the salt water, the temperature contrast (warmer below the surface of the water than above), and the peacefulness of the clear underwater terrain. I consciously acknowledged that there was literally nowhere I would’ve rather been than enveloped in those Bay of Bengal waves.
- Watching the sunset on the beach with my mom: we cuddled up together on one beach chair, sipped wine and laughed hard. I felt so blessed.
- Our amazing dinner locale, on an islet adjacent to our hotel. The first (and perhaps only) time I will enter a fine dining restaurant with bare feet, and sit surrounded by ocean, savoring fresh seafood to the soundscape of cheesy remixed Justin Bieber.