Tip Tuesday: Releasing Expectations

Expectations play a huge role in our lives. They play an important role when we are driving down the right side of the road and we expect people coming from the other direction to stay on the left. We expect that when we board a plane we are going to land safely at our destination. They are what allow us to go out into the world, for the most part, safely. 

However, expectations can also set us up for disappointment when we let our lives be run by them. When we have expectations for future events we have a good chance of being let down when what we thought would, happen didn't. 

It can be something as small as sending a friend a text message and expecting them to text back quickly. When we are checking our phone we are looking for the expected outcome, a return message. When that message does come as quickly as we wish, or at all, we feel anxiety and disapointment. 

 Or if we are expecting the vacation we are about to have is going to go off without a hitch. When problems arise we are disappointed, yet again when we didn't receive the expected outcome.

The best way to have no expectations is to have no expectations. Easy enough right? Here are some tips. 

  • Firstly, be aware of when expectations are entering your mind. Once you learn what you are feeling you will be more equipped to release them. 
  • Remember how disappointing expectations can be. Put yourself in a prior situation when your expectations didn't meet outcomes. Remember how that felt to feel disappointed. 
  • Understand that people and situations are unpredictable. We have no way of knowing what is going to happen tomorrow. We can't plan for everything.
  • Realize that "unpredicted" things that happen are called life's little surprises. If you head out on a trip and take a wrong turn, that is not you getting lost, it is you discovering another way to get there. Learn to enjoy that.
  • Lastly, try something new.  The reason new things are sometimes scary to us is because we feel we have no control because we don't know what to expect. What a way to release expectations than put yourself in situations when you have no choice but to.

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Each Time for the Very First Time

When was the last time you experienced something like a child? Or you experienced something for the 500th time, but it felt like the first time? Whatever your answer is, I'm sure it could be more. When we do something over and over again, say put our feet in grass, it may not feel as fun and interesting as the very first time we did it. Why do babies smile so much? Because everything that is going into their brains is new information. 

I recently saw the movie The Giver, based on the book by the same name by Lois Lowry. It's something I read in high school as well as reread just the week before the movie came out. However, being the visual person that I am, the film moved me to the point of not quickly letting go. 

In the film Jonas experiences joyful experiences for the first time in his life at the age of 12. He is raw and excited, and relinquishes control of his emotions to the moment. I ask again, when's the last time we were able to do that?

Without going into much more detail of the film or book (which is something I could gladly do) I want to take inspiration from Jonas and live my life as if I am him experiencing everything for the first time. The first time he rides a sled down a snowy hill, he feels the chilled wind in his face and is joyful in the moment that he loses control to the slope of the hill. He dances for the first time and experiences laughter, emotional connection, and the overwhelming feeling of love. 

The way we choose to experience things is within our control. We can walk out of our homes and stay within in confines of our own mind and thoughts. Or we can open ourselves up to the entire world around us, taking note of every sound, organic or man made, and experiencing it as a fact of life on Earth. We can shop in a store and choose to view all the colors and feel all the textures of that which is around us. We can experience the people that come into and out of our plane of view, wondering what their feelings are. 

I was recently posed with a life choice that challenged me to choose between my head and my heart. I'd always like to think of myself as a heart person, but I let me head win over in this one. I do think it's for the best. But after this choice I almost felt a shift in me. Whereas I didn't follow my heart on this grand scale, this time, I somehow began to give myself permission to follow my heart on a smaller scale and on a daily basis. For instance the other day on Cascades hill I decided I wanted to roll down it. When I got myself in position and proceeded to let go, I couldn't control my laughter. As I was knocked around by the hill I saw the world spin around me. Once my body came to a stop, even amidst a spinning headache, I still couldn't stop laughing. I experienced true joy. My hope was to experience that like Jonas probably would. I succeeded. 

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Tip Tuesday: Water Before Coffee

Here is another tip to help you get going in the morning. Instead of firstly reaching for a cup of coffee-reach for a cup of water. 

I first got on to this concept from an international school student at Jackson High School. When I was working as a building substitute at Jackson High, one of the many tasks I did was administer an ESL exam.  I got to have conversations with all the students, who's first language was not English, to test where they were at. One of the questions asked had the students talking about ways they stayed healthy. One of this student's suggestions was to drink a full glass of water in the morning to "clean yourself out." I guess I hadn't really thought of it before. 

But think about it...fatigue has a lot to do with dehydration.  Once you rehydrate yourself you may start to feel more energy. I recently came across another point that drove this concept home for me. When you wake up in the morning you have just gone 8-9 hours (depending on how many you sleep) without water. Would you normally go throughout your day not drinking any water for 8-9 hours at a time. I hope not. 

So my challenge to you is this: Try for one week drinking one full glass of water as soon as you wake up. See how you feel. Do you have more energy in the morning? What about throughout the rest of your day. I'm not saying you can't have your coffee too, but try hydrating yourself first.  I'd love to read comments from you on how it goes.

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Coexist with all Creatures

You are going to scream hippie! at me on this one...

A lot of us humans believe our species to be the most superior of all species on Earth. This may be a matter of opinion or may be a matter of fact. Since I don't have any factual evidence that we are, I'm keeping it opinion based. I don't want to say we are or we aren't, because I don't believe there is one species that is on the top of them all. We all exist because of each other and couldn't exist without each other.

Some people live their lives keeping to their own species. Not welcoming pets into their home, squashing every bug they see in their space, running after a spray at first sight of encroaching weeds. 

What I believe is that every creature that is here with us now exists for a reason, has withstood the test of time, and deserves to be living. Instead of thinking that other creatures are moving into my territory, I keep in mind that we are co-inhabiting  our own common territory. 

Instead of cleaning up a spider web the first moment I see it I just let it be. Instead of trying to get rid of a small daddy long legs in my bathroom, I let it do its thing. 

Let me close with a quote from the very smart Betty White.

"All creatures must learn to coexist.  That’s why the brown bear and the field mouse can share their lives in harmony. Of course, they can’t mate or the mice would explode."

Betty makes us laugh, but let's really think about this. How can all that is living around us not matter for something? Again get ready to call me a hippie, but I've found true joy in greeting the squirrel  that crosses my path and taking a closer look at the grass hopper that lands on my car. We may not be able to communicate with them or know what they are thinking, but at least we can have a shared moment of being alive together. And we can admire what it is about them that makes them unique. Who knows they may be smarter than us. Humans are the only species on Earth who have to think of nuclear war, home foreclosure, or divorce cases. We may be over thinking this whole alive thing. Creatures of seemly lesser intelligence may have this whole thing figured out on a deeper level than we find ourselves able to go to.  

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Tip Tuesday: Start Your Day off Right

How many of you are not morning people and allot yourself only the minimum amount of time in the morning to prepare yourself for the day? I wouldn't call myself a super morning person, but I do enjoy having some me time to focus and ground myself before I leave the house.

Up until about eight months ago I would allow myself about one hour of time to get ready. I am not a morning shower taker so this allowed me time to wash my face, put on a little makeup, have breakfast, pack a lunch, have tea and be off. A while ago I decided to start getting up early in the mornings and doing yoga so that pushed up my wake time by about another hour. I was doing more yoga until recently, but I began to enjoy having the chance to spend my morning slower. 

I don't cable t.v. so I am not getting up and bombarding my brain with images of news or what not in the morning. This is a good thing. It's too jarring and startling to begin your day.  However, I am no stranger to possibility catching up on some Ellen Degeneres Show or Tonight Show clips, which always help to start my day with a good dose of laughter. Alternatively, I might put on a podcast to listen to. I am still trying to do the yoga at least every other day, or if nothing more starting the day with some stretching. A lot of times I will be able to enjoy a cup of tea while I am perking my face up. 

The inspiration for this tip came from HighExistence.com here is what they suggest:

 Start your day off right. Wake up and set aside an hour for personal development activities (meditation, self-introspection, observing nature, etc.) Do the things that make you feel blissful, optimistic and empowered so that you can set a positive tone for your day. I guarantee that once you start doing this, your days will be more enjoyable and fulfilling. Today is going to be the best day of your life.

Click here to read the entire article with more ideas for morning activities which help you get started off well. Right now my morning schedule is changing a bit so I now must decide if I want to sleep in a little longer or find more things to do in this morning time. This is my warning: There really is a sweet spot with time, I sometimes begin to get sleepy again before it is time to depart for work. That is never what I want to happen. Sometimes I enjoy doing some personal reading before I start my workday. Reading can typically make me sleepy, so sometimes I find myself needing a catnap before I've walked out the door. Don't plan too much time to where you are wanting to jump back under the covers. It may take a little time to get up earlier, with enough time to do some things for you. Try and start with a half hour and see if you like it.

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