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Anticipation, Expectation, Expectancy, Presence

Thinking about anticipation today with the upcoming holidays, the impending Nor’easter and the ongoing worries about Covid, it takes me back to the time when depression was part of my everyday life. I would wake up with a bleakness that never let up. I couldn’t think straight. I wanted to believe it would all end but couldn’t figure out how. I was determined to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving.

Anticipation used to mean hopefulness to me until my hopes became huge disappointments. I had to figure out how to make hope work realizing my expectations bred anxiety. Expectations take me out of the moment and places me smack dab in the middle of stress. Things had to turn out how I wanted them to or else. What I didn’t realize was I was listening to the reason of my ego, not my heart. The process brought me back to the lesson of expectation versus expectancy.

When I think about the global collective consciousness, how we are all connected, and then I lay a blanket of anticipation on top of it, I can see why I am feeling worry and this weighted stress. The world is feeling it. It takes a decision. The key is to bring myself back to the present moment. The process is seductive though as another day rolls around and I get sucked back in. Sometimes it feels like I’m trying to build muscle with a rubber band.

It’s a challenge being present. It’s not just my headful of thoughts being pulled into expectations. It’s my body feeling pulled. I get to practice a lot as I fall out and pull myself back in, back in to the present moment, back in to my awareness. There’s a lot of U-turns going on. Practicing mindfulness helps me step away from the rubber band and hold onto the now. I see my feet; that’s where I am now. What I experience is right at the end of my nose.

Sometimes I’m overloaded and need a break. I choose what fulfills my break. Most always the remedy is a change of mind like a movie or music or movement. The delight is we can each design our own remedy.

Mindfulness means staying aware, not slipping back into a rote existence of non-awareness. It’s certainly easier to relax and let awareness go. It’s the easier road to travel. I continue to collect tools, resources and routines that help me stay aware. I choose to stay awake most of the time. I choose awareness over complacency.

Go gently today, don't hurry or think about the next thing. Walk with the quiet trees, can you believe how brave they are—how kind? Model your life after theirs. Blow kisses at yourself in the mirror especially when you think you've messed up. Forgive yourself for not meeting your unreasonable expectations. You are human, not God—don't be so arrogant. Praise fresh air clean water, good dogs. Spin something from joy. Open a window, even if it's cold outside. Sit. Close your eyes. Breathe. Allow the river of it all to pulse through eyelashes fingertips, bare toes. Breathe in breathe out. Breathe until you feel your bigness, until the sun rises in your veins. Breathe until you stop needing anything to be different.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • I liked the last line of the poem “breathe until you stop needing anything to be different.” I can do that. I am quite content and happy, but you talked about anticipation as anticipating something bad. I think expectancy is anticipating, for me, something good. Like a vacation, you don’t know what will happen on it, or how kids anticipate Christmas. You know it’s going to be good, no matter what happens. I’m in that space. For me, Covid is fine. I’m one of those people who are content with how things are going. I am blessed with this group every day. It never would have happened if it hadn’t been for Covid. Zoom has been a marvelous gift, so many good things going on. I’m even quarantining after a Covid test. My life isn’t that much different. I’m not seeing actual people but I’m being with people a different way. It made me feel good. Thank you.

  • Thank you. I have a new client and she’s very difficult and demanding and rigid. She wants me to clean her house. I do some level of cleaning, especially with Covid. Yesterday, I showed compassion first for myself, and I said, this is too much for me. I’m happy to do as much as I can, but there’s a limit to what I can do physically. Eventually, she heard that, and I felt a transformation in our relationship. I felt compassion, first for myself and then I felt it for her. It was a transforming day with her. What I saw in the meditation is how it started with compassion for myself and then compassion for her. It’s the first time I saw that the relationship would work. Thank you.

  • I liked your line about designing your own remedy. It brought me to think about self-care. Usually, I schedule a massage for myself as a gift to myself. I realized no massage this year. I’m not comfortable with the idea. So I started thinking about other gifts I can give to myself. Thank you.

  • I loved what you said about ‘we can design our own remedy’. I like the word ‘delight’, don’t hear that much. Yesterday, I woke up moody but I thought about what we talked about, about finding what makes us happy. I tried that yesterday, which was better than moping around. I made myself some homemade soup. Went for a walk. The energy changed a little bit. I heard good news that I was waiting for. At the end of the day, I started writing a gratitude sheet and filled it up. It was good turning it around.

  • Thank you for the reading. I wasn’t feeling well yesterday and it progressively got worse. I was not wanting to be in fear. It’s a terrible time to feel sick. Do I have Covid? Do I have to go to a hospital? I worked at staying in the moment with my pain. Then I did whatever I could to stay present. I read, and then watched a great funny and campy movie The Prom. By the time the movie ended, I felt better. A good movie can help to change one’s mind to more positive thoughts. I was glad I didn’t go into the fear and that I stayed present. The meditation has a lot to do with that.

  • Please keep my family member in your thoughts. He’s having such a rough time. The water heater had to be replaced. Now the new chemicals from the lining of the heater are making him sicker. He reacts to everything. I just feel very helpless. I want to help him. When the body is attacking itself and you’re surrounded by chemicals, it’s so hard.

  • It gets overwhelming at times. One foot in front of the other. I know we all hold him and you in our prayers. We know what it feels like to be struggling with a loved one suffering. It takes courage to speak up. And by speaking up, you are giving us the gift of extending our hearts to you. All of us are sending you and your family member light and love.

  • There is a lot of suffering going on in the world, and from experience I know, the only way to survive suffering is to stay in the present moment. So coming here and practicing presence and awareness, looking at our feet, changing our mind. It’s really hard because fear is so seductive but it is so important to practice presence. Grow those roots down into the Earth out of your feet. However your imagination makes it happen, it helps. Because fear is the virus. It is very hard to not get caught up in it. You are not alone.

  • It’s a wonderful feeling to feel this sea of beings. I am grateful for the presence of all of you.

  • I’ll hold you and your family member in my heart today. Thank you for asking for help and letting us know where you are in your family challenge.

  • Blessings today to all of you as you walk the line being gentle with yourself, being present, knowing there is no failure in falling out of presence, there is practice in pulling us back. Building our muscle to pull us back into the present. That’s our task. I hope you all have a gentle day.

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