There’s been a thought that has crossed my mind a number of times over the last couple of weeks, but actually when I reflect and look back, I think it really started at the beginning of this year. Suffering from personal losses, I engaged in a lot of inner reflection, breaking down with emotion what my mission was to be serving in this life. The thought was around setting life expectations and how there was no flow…that there was too much expectation, too much ‘planning’ and that it all needed to be undone. I felt there was too much control from the past. I needed to let go, let life flow! I felt I needed to put my thoughts about this process down in a written piece to really reveal truthfully how I feel about all of this.
Personal loss can be interesting because very often it can shake us down to the core as humans, breaking down the identity we form over the years, either through environmental or societal exposure, seeking to forge a recognition and life path we feel will help us achieve that which inherently our soul so demands of us!
My own experience of going through personal loss over the years has actually brought a lot of humility, and more interestingly an authenticity and acknowledgment that the way I have been approaching life is not really in my best long term interests. Sure, if one was to look at my life materialistically, I would say I could be grateful for the family, friends, relationships and moments and experiences I have had, apart from the mundane like having a house and car, a luxury many we seldom forget don’t have in this rarely impartial world.
The humility felt came from knowing that things needed to change without the feeling of a need to control or set path to live my life on.
Here’s what I think fundamentally has changed for me: growing up I always set expectations of achievements, desires, and goals by a certain time…like settling down by the time I was 30, having kids by a certain age, maybe even achieving a great business by the time I was in my mid 30s. Obviously these did not materialize at the set time frames or with the expectations I imagined back then.
As time has passed, I ‘tied’ myself to my expectations, to the notion of achieving within these timelines. I didn’t adapt, at least not in the earlier years. I think many of us in adolescent years tend to set such expectations. But for each of us, we often get lost and forget that ‘life’ sometimes has other ideas; when Life breaks a path we think we are comfortably moving on towards our goals, it can really break our inner foundation…at least initially if not permanently.
So over the last few years many events didn’t lead to what I initially set to hope to achieve or to expect. For instance where I thought I would achieve certain career objectives with certain action steps I took, I still didn’t achieve some of these. Then there were many times I thought a certain relationship, romantic or otherwise, would materialize but oddly enough events never led to favorable outcomes for such relationships to occur. And often when things didn’t go the way I wish they had, I felt a deep sense of resentment and frustration setting in.
Now I know some will say but that’s life (and they’re entitled to that all so cliche of statements)! In essence what this process did was really reveal for me how sometimes we can get too attached, wanting to control the way we want our lives to turn out, often forgetting there is a mysterious journey to the flow of life, something unexplained, even getting me to acknowledge there is a higher guiding force directing situations for our own personal benefit even when it’s not physically apparent at the time.
I realized during these last few months I had become too attached, too concerned about the expectations of certain situations. And eventually I realized it was creating a tension and hold in me, a tension and hold that really didn’t let me progress with a smooth and peaceful flow; just like Bruce Lee once said that we should adapt to life like water does in a “shapeless” form, with water ever changing and ‘flowing’ according to the situation.
Where I once had expectations from friendships, I find I no longer need to…it was a case of realizing that some friendships served a time limit, a purpose to help in my own growth as a person…and if there was to be a long term purpose for a certain friendship, it certainly would have served a longer term. Don’t get me wrong, I have many life long friendships I truly value…but if a certain person in a friendship grows or changes, sometimes we need to let go of the expectation that that friend will always be around in the same vein we would think they would be.
Then there are encounters where I would have sought to have control, to try to take action where I thought I could create the perfect scenario for an expectation I had. Now I find I let it go…I let the flow of life come in and let it allow it to be a part of my progress and growth as an individual.
In a career or business sense, where there is an objective to strive hard for certain milestones or achievements, I realized I can no longer get attached to an outcome because there are many factors which are out of my control…for my own sanity I just need to let it go, let things progress, while I take action without expectation.
Does it mean I don’t form anymore expectations? Not at all, I am still human, but now I feel there is a greater awareness of this and letting things flow in their natural order. In a sense I feel letting go actually releases a lot of anxiety, while also allowing the freedom and space for a lot of creativity. And interestingly I feel every outcome which arises or arrives from my letting go actually serves a purpose for my growth, even if the situation is perceived to be painful or bad.
This space has allowed to reevaluate a lot on how I approach general situations in life now. Looking back now I remember moments when I would really feel upset because I had an expectation on an outcome and when that outcome didn’t materialize as I wanted to, I got really disappointed and would close up as a person.
In a way I think living with a flow also allows one to live life, ironically, on our own terms. Oddly some expectations we set because we want to achieve it because we think that’s what family and friends expect of us. We forget though as individuals we need to form our own path, a path where we let the Universe reveal the direction, the purpose, and the mission that our souls really direct us towards…and that’s why we should live in flow. When we do this we start experiencing the coincidental events, the universal language of communication telling us we are on the right path (but with patience).
It’s early days, but let’s just say I am beginning to accept the Yin and Yang of the Universal song that life can offer.
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