Expectations, Mindfulness & Journaling

I have spent a week working on this discussion on expectations. Ironically, the harder I work on it the more problems I had with it. This morning, I am reflecting on what I had and just started laughing. Here, I had a set expectation in my mind of how I wanted this blog to turn out and it kept crashing and burning. Exactly, the discussion I wanted to have and have been having all week. Thank you Universe for the lesson!

Be mindful about your expectations. Are you setting yourself up for success or failure? For example, my oldest has been struggling in school because she has been expecting to read over a lesson once and know it. Does she have an eidetic or photographic memory? Nope.

No wonder she has been a huge ball of stress. I asked her where she got the impression that was how things worked. Apparently, her dad and I quoting books and movie lines made her think we just knew it after one viewing. Nope, I have worn out movies and books memorizing this stuff.

Are your expectations leading you to an unrealistic state? Remember, we don’t need to live in Hollywood and advertising view of perfection. Ask yourself: What is perfect for your life? Now, ask yourself: What stage of that perfection can you achieve right now?

Take a mindfulness moment and reflect on current self expectations.
Get comfortable, have a journal handy and ready, set, breathe!

Breathe in … one, two, three and Exhale three, two, one
Breathe in … one, two, three and Exhale three, two, one
Breathe in … one, two, three and Exhale three, two, one
Breathe in … one, two, three and Exhale three, two, one
Breathe in … one, two, three and Exhale three, two, one
Breathe in … one, two, three and Exhale three, two, one
Breathe in … one, two, three and Exhale three, two, one

Now, Open your journal and set a timer for 7 minutes.

Prompt … What are my current self expectations? Write until your timer goes off. If you are inclined, write past that. When you are done writing, please take a look at what you have written. Read your thoughts with loving kindness. Your inner voice is telling you the expectations that you have for yourself. Observe them with love and kindness. Treat them as though you are speaking with a loved one.

Once you have observed your inner thoughts. Reflect, but do not judge. Are these attainable? Do the expectations reflect where you are or where you came from? If the expectations are lofty, can they be broken up into stages; think of it as climbing a ladder. Are these expectations so low that you don’t feel like you are moving toward any goals? Do your expectations upset you or excite you?

Once we know what our expectations are, then we can move forward with an understanding of how we are operating. Is fear and ego at the wheel? Lack of confidence? Crazy unreachable expectations (ego)? Another person’s voice?

This awareness can give us the mindfulness we need to adjust our self-expectations. Part of my self care is awareness of expectations. Expecting my kitchen sink to never have dirty dishes is unrealistic. Expecting my children to do their chores and empty the dishwasher of clean and put in dirty is realistic if I am discussing the older two.

Let’s not get crazy though, we all have expectations that make us feel like we are banging our head against the wall. I expect clean folded laundry to make it to the dressers. My children expect magic fairies to put the laundry away and deal with the dirty clothes.

Laundry feels like a circus around here. It stresses me out and never is where I want it to be. So, when it is at its worse and I am at my best: I remind myself they are little and someday I will miss this chaos. I remind myself this mess happens because we are spending quality time instead of chore time. I remind myself that we are lucky to have clothing and shelter.

Those mindfulness prompts are the good days. On the bad days, I sound like a mom who has lost her mind in frustration, too little sleep and what feels like a mountain of dirt and filth. Mindfulness isn’t perfection or if it is, I haven’t found that particular roadmap. However, mindfulness does let us grow, learn and adjust each moment. This gives us the opportunity to handle the next such moment better than the one before.

Be mindful, check on your expectations and if you find those magic fairies send them my way, I could use the help too!

Lovingly,
Irisa

Birthright: Loving-Kindness

Hello Beautiful!

I have some amazing news for you! You were born knowing loving-kindness. Not only did you know loving kindness, you practiced it without being taught how or told it was the right thing to do. You were born knowing and living loving-kindness.

How can I be so certain? Because it feels so right to live in loving-kindness. Nothing feels more natural. Being kind is easy. It makes us feel open, light and full of hope. Need more evidence? Watch small children. Watch them when someone they love is sad. Watch them with a puppy or kitten.

Earlier this summer we had a small rainstorm. My three year puts on his boots and grabs an umbrella. As I try and stop him he begins to tell me that “kitty needs help”. I let him go outside, as we don’t have a cat. He goes to my truck and tries to coax out a kitten who was sheltering from the rain.

When I asked him what he wanted to do with the kitten, he told me the “kitty needed to come inside out of the rain.” I then had to spend the next half hour calming him down as the kitten ran off in the rain. A three year old saw an animal without a home, getting wet. He then (independently) took action to care for it. That is loving-kindness.

We are taught that acting in loving-kindness is a weakness. We are taught that people will take advantage of us and yes, some individuals will. Are we wrong to live in loving-kindness? No, those other individuals have chosen to walk a more difficult path that does not involve remembering loving-kindness.

Every one of us will have experiences that pull us away from our innate nature of loving-kindness. This is when we need to be mindful of what is happening. We need to feel what we are feeling, that is healthy. However, we choose how we react or respond to the situation that is pulling us away from loving-kindness.

This is when we choose to feed the negative emotions such as hate, anger, jealousy, etc. or we forgive with love so that we can remain connected to our loving-kindness. If we can stay connected to our loving-kindness, then we can live in alignment with the Universe and create a life that we adore.

We all falter and step away from loving-kindness. The key is to forgive. Forgive yourself for being human, don’t punish yourself. Forgive the situation with love. Forgive the people. Replace those hard emotions with love. Do it for yourself. Do it so you can be in alignment with your greater good. Be the best version of yourself that you can be.

The following is a mantra that you can do a few times a day. This will remind you of what you already know. The exercise will build both your awareness of loving-kindness and your confidence in your ability to live in loving-kindness.

Exercise: Take a long, slow, deep breathe in your nose and then a long, slow, exhale out of your nose. Repeat the following: I know and understand loving-kindness.

If each of us would take the steps to be the best version of who they are. Together we can change the world. Start with yourself and like ripples on a pond, the world will be a better place.

With loving-kindness,
Irisa