Posts tagged ‘expectations’

December 3, 2014

Let go of the pen in your hand

Thought for the day, courtesy of writer Mary Beth Danielson:

If growing up is the process of creating ideas and dreams about what life should be, then maturity is letting go again.

Life doesn’t follow any set script. Loose your grip on the pen in your hand — the pen that’s trying to write a storyline for the days and years ahead of you. Let that pen fall to the ground. Let it stay there. Free yourself from the bounds of any set destination. Allow life to come to you as it will.

Sometimes the act of letting go is actually the act of welcoming in.

February 23, 2014

Your shell may shatter, but you will flourish

I like this quote from poet and artist Kahlil Gibran:

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

We often feel discomfort when the events of “real” life don’t match our understanding or expectation of how things should unfold. In the sense that Gibran suggests, such pain is a good thing, because it allows us (it forces us) to grow, and in so growing, the borders of our understanding are stretched outwards — our shell enlarged — such that the next potentially painful event that comes along might not hurt so much, situated as it is within (or closer to) the range of experiences that we have already known.

In truth, life is not meant to be entirely comfortable; if it were, we would learn nothing, and we would remain in a position of unending stasis. Your shell may break, but you will not. You cannot grow in an enclosed space.

February 1, 2014

February challenge: Do something unexpected

This month, put your personal boundaries to the test: do something completely unanticipated, something totally out of the ordinary — out of your ordinary. Do something that surprises others, something that surprises yourself. Go out on a whole new limb; test the air out there and see where it takes you. Be astonishing!

Whatever out-of-the-blue thing you do, make sure it’s something that lifts your heart and fills you (or someone else) with joy.

Have fun!

September 10, 2013

Make mud pies with the people you love while you still can

Have you told your loved ones that you care lately? Have you hugged your mother, your brother, your father, your partner, your kids? We sometimes forget that the time we have with the loved ones in our lives is a precious gift, a limited-time arrangement only, and that the days, hours, minutes and seconds could elapse suddenly, much sooner than we think.

Writer Stephen Hume’s essay “The Gift” really hits this idea at heart. In the essay, Hume describes how he nearly lost his three-year-old daughter to a drowning incident on the beach near their home in coastal British Columbia. She was playing by the water; he looked away for a moment to talk to a friend. Had he not turned back around when he did — and seen his daughter’s tiny hand extend up from a swirl in the ocean — he would have lost her. Later that night, as the intensity of the experience sank in, Hume remembered how only a few days earlier he had gotten angry with his daughter because she had swamped her gumboots in a puddle and stuffed “mud pies” in her jacket pocket.

Writes Hume:

We spend so much of our lives on cruise control, sweeping along in the comfortable bubble of our assumptions. . . . We assume we’ll see our friends again, that wives and husbands and kids will come home as they always do. And so we indulge ourselves in the petty tyrannies of parenthood and marriage, the nagging and squabbling over trivia, the evaded visits, the family bickering and the occasional grumpiness that comes of relationships we take for granted. . . .

We can’t — and shouldn’t — live our lives in constant fear of the worst that can happen. But we should switch off the cruise control and live each day as though the ones we most love will not be with us for another.

So hug a loved one today. Call a family member and say that you care. Or kneel in the yard and make mud pies with your daughter. You never know, says Hume, when the bridge between you and that person will be replaced by an abyss.

(Stephen Hume’s essay “The Gift” appears in his 2010 anthology A Walk with the Rainy Sisters: In Praise of British Columbia’s Places.)

July 23, 2013

What have you decided?

From Deepak Chopra’s novel Soulmate:

I decided . . . never to wait by the door for the world to bring me answers. [I decided] not [to] cling to the past. I got rid of expectations; I gave up foolish hopes; I lost my fear of the unknown. But none of that is extraordinary.

Or is it?

Take a look at your own life. Where do you stand?