Expectations can really suck.

Letting go of expectations

I’ve been living a bit of an experiment with expectations the last few months during my healing process, and it’s become so telling that’s it’s far less of an experiment now and really just a Very Good Thing to be mindful of in general. My experiment really gets down to managing expectations, and/or the lack thereof.

Given tonight’s Supermoon is the biggest in years, ushering in a phase of rebirth and cleansing, I’m gonna focus on what I’ve recently learned about expectations and hopefully get an energetic leg-up this evening.  Let me explain.

First, a little context.

I can’t glaze over the harsh reality of my last 3 years.

Life after critical injury has been difficult at best – and an absolute fucking nightmare at worst.

Regaining consciousness into a world that had been pulled out from under my feet seemed like what I’d imagine it may feel like awaking to being eaten by zombies- a brief flash of consciousness and self-awareness followed immediately by wave after wave of blinding pain with the abject confusion of not knowing how or why until it was over and I found myself alone, broken, battered and lost.

It’s still difficult to look back at the sum total of my recent history. Aside from my near-death experience itself (which could fill up a blog post entirely on it’s own), I’ve since separated from my former wife/partner of 18 years, lost most of my left kidney, spent 3 months on crutches and 9 months rehabilitating a blown out ACL and ankle, fought off opportunistic people preying on my physical and emotional weakness, took 18 stitches to my face by way of blunt force trauma via boulder, fought desperately to stay in any semblance of physical shape during all that healing and rehabilitation.

Despite keeping my finances and job somewhat on the rails, I still drifted rudderless for some time before getting my legs underneath me again.

And the view from the bottom was harsh.

From that point on, I had to make some hard choices about what came next. The initial knee-jerk reactions were flying at my senses like a tornado: get back to the dojo, start dating, sort out my post-medical-bill-and-separation finances, try to come to terms with what a “new normal” might be.

I realized quickly that these were tricky expectations. Expecting that life would return to any normal I recognized. That I’d find someone who I could connect deeply with again in this lifetime. That I’d be able to raise my son effectively as a single dad without the family structure I’d built, prized, and cherished for so long. Or that I’d regain my athletic ability and eventually feel like “normal” again.

But those are all reasonable things to expect, right?

Problem was, there was no “normal” left to return TO. And my current expectations all pointed back in the same direction – replacing things that I’d thought I lost with things I thought I needed.

Needs. Wants. Desires.

These words became a curse. I struggled with my personal momentum and gravity reinforcing old ways of thinking and living to the point that I had a moment of clarity one night (spurred on by many glasses of wine, as all the best revelations are).

I’m expecting things that I shouldn’t.

I’m projecting my fears into my desires.

I haven’t been embracing change, I’ve been fighting it.

I’m concentrating on what I want more than what I need.

What I need is to be happy and healthy, with people around me who appreciate my presence as much as I do theirs, who support my growth and forward motion. Raise my son with the values I grew up with – honesty, integrity, and compassion. Never again silence my creative voice for the greater good. And above all, I need to prize positive influences in my life and reject negative ones with great prejudice.

What I thought I wanted, however, turned out to be irrelevant or inconsequential when viewed alongside my real needs. They were mostly material and selfish things not worth listing- stuff that one owns or acquires, but doesn’t live or experience.

I also was expecting people to be part of my life. That wasn’t so realistic either, considering that everyone else grows too, and won’t always be the same in a year as they are today.

All of these expectations were stalling me from taking any meaningful steps forward.

So, I stopped expecting any of that.

I stopped expecting that anyone should do anything for me except be themselves. This allows them to reveal their nature honestly and naturally.  By doing so, I can assess whether their energy positively or negatively impacts me, and move forward accordingly.

By staying open to change, all I can really expect each day is to be a new (and hopefully more evolved) person.  Nothing more or less.

I was in a successful marriage for many years.  It was a beautiful phase of my life that ended. Whatever comes next in my life will be beautiful and unique in it’s own nature.  But never the same.

I’ve since stopped expecting myself to be the athletic person I was before, at least right away. I’ve barely healed my injuries at this point, so expecting myself to be at full potential any time soon is stupid and counterproductive. So I won’t project results anymore – I only concentrate on the work, and work hard at it. The rest will come with time.

I stopped holding myself to all those unrealistic ideals that originated from the fear center of my brain, the one that expects to have all the answers all the time but devolves into a puddle of goo when it doesn’t. Seriously, fuck that voice. I won’t expect shit from it anymore, ever.

But most importantly, I stopped expecting anyone or anything else to dictate my happiness and self-worth.

Because expectations didn’t matter.

When life’s hard-luck zombies have picked you to the bone, only the barest essence of yourself will remain. The real you, apart from the illusions you define yourself with. And it turns out I like who I am without that crap in the way. So I’m starting from there and letting my path forward reveal itself as necessary.

It’s scary (and uncertain at it’s core) to be headed towards an undefined quantity.  But I don’t need to paint a detailed picture of who I intend to be. Instead, I’ll just work on being a better me with each step. And I’ll cherish each step of the process without measuring it against unrealistic expectations.

Each time I find myself confused or drifting lately, I find myself asking the question: “is this an unrealistic expectation?” Most of the time the answer is yes. I then focus on why I’m harboring that expectation, and it becomes a much simpler problem to address. I’ve been addressing issues like that all the time lately.

And my point is?

Tonight is the biggest Supermoon in and for years. I’m not such a ritualistic person, but this is significant. They say the Supermoons symbolize rebirth and healing.  As the sun sets this evening I’ll send all my remaining expectations and preconceptions past the horizon. I’ll bathe in fresh Supermoon energy. And then I’ll wake up tomorrow with limitless potential and zero expectations.

How about we call tonight’s full moon a huge lunar reset switch?

Let’s flip that switch together tonight and see where things go from here?
Don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see where it leads.

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Scott

Bassist. Designer. Writer. Polymath. Father.