Appreciation > Expectation

I previously wrote a post about freeing ourselves of expectation, which did not encourage having “low” expectation, but to rather have none at all. In this post I want to take a deeper dive into the dangers of having expectations and how it can sabotage our friendships, romantic relationships and work relationships. The appropriate word for this challenge is indeed, “sabotage,” because we place this danger upon OURSELVES with expectations.

The main danger of expectation is its capability of overlooking appreciation as a result, in all scenarios in life. For example, perhaps your significant other took out the garbage without you asking but left the bottles in the bin in the kitchen. You expected him or her to take BOTH the garbage and bottles out without you asking, so what does this typically lead to? This leads to the overlooking of what your significant other DID do and focus on what he or she did not do. Now, is this fair to your partner who thought he or she was helping out? I’m not sure that it is. Rather, if we were free from all expectation in this scenario, we might be more likely to see what our partner had done and appreciate him or her for doing the task at all.

Another example might be the expectation of getting something in return for doing a friend a favor. Your friend asks you to drive them to the airport often, asked for help on a new move or asks for a money loan. As a result, you are keeping score of these favors you are doing for this friend and expecting them to repay you for all the things you have done for them, and when they don’t return the favor, resentment builds.

The true destroyer at the end of the day is this resentment that has resulted from expectation over appreciation. Perhaps you can relate to a time when you had a friend or significant other who did things to show their appreciation of you but also omitted from doing other things that you had expected of them to further show their appreciation. It just wasn’t enough in your book. How did this relationship work out? Most likely, after continuing the cycle of expecting and not getting, while overlooking things to appreciate, resentment built and most likely tarnished this relationship till it could no longer be repaired.

So, now I ask you whether it was, in fact, them, who was the problem in the relationship for not having obeyed your expected (and often unexpressed) request, or was it you, overlooking what they did do any rather focused on what they did not? I encourage us to work on freeing ourselves of expectation or at least communicate our expectations to another. Conversely, focus on the good and appreciate what this other person HAS given you. Is it worth losing over expectation?

Peace Found in Objectivity

When was the last time you had a false perception about either a situation or a person? Situations like this are common as human beings, who are always looking to reason, draw conclusions and make up our own elaborate judgments for ourselves. Simply based on the look of someone, tone of voice, or wording in a text message, we can be given a negative impression of a situation.

These sorts of interpretations are due to the subjective nature of our mind. Mostly, I am sure this is an evolutionary trait which would have previously allowed for us to defend ourselves against the enemy in the wild. Now, as a more evolved species, it is the precise things that can cause us confusion in the wild and defense us from our truth.

I recently accidentally texted my co-worker “JK” following the exclamation, “Cute!” referring to the picture she sent me of her niece. I then quickly texted the correction, “Cute!*” again to hope she interpreted my “JK” as a mere slip of the finger. However, this got me thinking about how my co-worker could have interpreted this meaning without ever having known the real nature of the mistake.

My co-worker might had read that as a joke to imply her niece was in-fact not cute at all, which would have been a disaster. She also might have interpreted to be something I might have typed but accidentally send, resulting in the same rude and horrific interpretation. Or she might have found it to be the mistake it was.

Objectively, I believed her niece to be very cute, but expressed myself a bit improperly. If everyone was to only be able to think objectively, a mistake like this could be seen for what it was. Since we more often think subjectively about instances, we can draw various conclusions about the same, solidary event.

If we were all to think more objectively about situations, we would be able to find more peace with ourselves and the world. There are times I find myself questioning what seems to be almost everything and anything going on in my life. I judge whether or not it is good, bad, right, wrong, what it means, what it doesn’t mean, etc. By viewing things in life more objectively, we do not worry so much about what it good, bad, right, wrong what it means or doesn’t mean. Conversely, we focus only on what it is or what has happened without interpretation. Without this interpretation, our reactions can be pure, for they are not influenced by our own prompted thoughts or dwellings. We can see people, places and things for what they are and not for what we judge them to be.

If things feel like they are going well in the moment, let them continue free from judgment. Judgments can dilute the truth in the moment. The truth is what is actually occurring, while judgments are merely the interpretation of the truth, or in other words, the not-truth.

By allowing ourselves to experience the present free from judgments, we can find the truth in these moments more clearly, and see them for what they really are.

The clarity given to us when thinking objectively is a feeling of freedom. Freedom from attachment and excessive thoughts. We accept events things at face value, and recognize the moments when our mind wishes to judge them, but we know better.

This practice comes along with the practice of self-awareness. Try to be more aware of situations where you feel you are passing judgment on someone or something. Then question whether you are feeling this judgment because it is the truth of the situation, or is it your own conditionings, experiences and beliefs that have caused you to interpret this “truth” into something it is not. When we are able to be aware of why we are interpreting the truth for something it is not, it can bring us peace in being more accepting of situations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creativity in 30 Seconds ~Poem-Not a Poem

Pen to paper is my favorite form of dear expression,

No real care for quality, but still a masterpiece in essence.

Judgment is the only thing to ever folly the craft.

A care for opinions, critics, and cynical responses, in fact.

Beyond the worry and care are these creative flows,

One suppressed in so many as the story often goes.

“Who cares what I say? What a silly way to be.”

“I’ll keep it to myself, locked away without a key!”

Now I see all that comes with such expression.

Sharing of art is just as joyous without attention!

No matter if I am the only one to ever view.

Creativity is exclusively yours, a way to be you.

6/4/18

Three Reasons Why I Am Already Successful:

  1. I realize being a good person is sufficient enough a contribution to society already
  2. I want what I already have
  3. I have become better at forgiving myself for folly and moving on

The Correlation Between Creativity and Vulnerability

It was interesting to watch an interview with Donald Glover (also known as Childish Gambino), who seems to be trending heavily right now, Issa Rae and other writers who were speaking about creativity and how they have cultivated their creative expression. What I found to be the most intriguing had been all of their mention of the correlation between creativity and vulnerability!

Much of the conversation revolved around the writing of their shows and movies, and how improvisational acting was completely different. They spoke about how improv acting is completely raw so it requires a NEED to be vulnerable or you will fail.

When you think about what improv is, it makes sense. Improvisational acting is unscripted, and instead, actors work off of the unanticipated dialogue between other actors and their energies. As Glover expressed, to be creative and succeed in improv, you need to be vulnerable and not think about how you look, how you should, act or what you should say. Rather, you need to get into a space where the mind is free to accept and work off of the energies of those performing with you.

He speaks of the writing he does for Atlanta, where he encourages many of his actors to perform improvisational scenes. He claims he provides two scenarios for the actors to work off of, and come time for the scene he encourages them to spontaneously choose to take the scene in one direction or another to create an unexpected need for improvising with the other participating actors.

As a result, Glover believes this vulnerability, this freedom to be expressive forced by the unanticipated conditions of a situation and the accepting of one another’s’ energies, creates for a more real and interesting portrayal of a scene. Issa Rae had then expressed she does something similar in her show, Insecure, which I happen to be a watcher of, so it makes a lot of sense when I found out that improv is also a critical component in her narrative. Much of the conversations, expressions and situations in the show seem so free-flowing and real-life, and it is because oftentimes they are.

Understanding the correlation between creativity and vulnerability sent me into one of those rabbit-hole thoughts, I so often mentioned. I thought about how such a high percentage of us with creative talent, and I do believe everyone has some sort of creativity within them, end up never expressing our talent because we refuse to be vulnerable. School teaches us to be invulnerable, to acquire a degree, leading us in a direction of obtaining a stable job and following all of the rules to lead a “secure” life.

Essentially, this conditioning is killing creativity everywhere. We doubt our talents and our capabilities. We not only want a parachute when we jump out of the plane, but we also need it to land exactly 100 yards away from our house or we don’t want to do it at all. As a result of this conditioning, we hide our vulnerabilities and, in turn, our creativity, some of which will be hidden away forever for no one to see… EVER.

If you are willing to be vulnerable, perhaps you will be able to discover a creativity you never believed to be there or perhaps it will give you the courage to express the creativity you always knew you had. I don’t think its matter of who is and who is not creative, it who is willing to be vulnerable enough to express new ideas and show themselves to others who will probably judge them. Many of us, myself included, rather not most of the time. But, let’s break though this conditioning and get creative! Woo!

Feel Like a Kid Again!

I never really noticed how little time I have spent around kids in recent years. Now that I have been spending more and more time around children, it might sounds strange, but I have learned so much. I see the way children express themselves and I am envious of their innate ability to be so present, free from thought and shamelessly expressive.

I see the way children tell their parents “I love you,” their grandma, “I miss you,” how they dance like no one is watching, express excitement that you can FEEL beaming from their eyes. It’s so beautiful, unplanned and unrehearsed. It is merely their instinctual emotion.

This is what it would be like if we were all able to be present, thought-less and shameless. Our thoughts and conditioning can hold us back from so much, it hinders the ability to express these instinctual emotions. As adults we rather torture ourselves and question our emotions, rather than act on them. We question whether we look ok, whether we said that right or what we should say next.

A child just does. That’s it. They are not yet consumed by the stress and conditioning the world brings them up in. They just are. Again, beautiful.

With this, how can we not trust a child? When a child tells us they love us or misses us, we have to take their word. They are not thinking about their expression being the “right thing to say,” “what they should say,” and they definitely had not been thinking, “Yeah, next I should tell them I miss and love them.” No! A child is present and acts in the present. They enjoy moments, which adults often take for granted because of the conditioning adults have experienced throughout their lives.

Children cannot help but be vulnerable but they do not see it as vulnerability. They see it rather as play, joy, fun. So, I encourage all of us to learn a thing or two from these children and act as they do. Embrace these moments free from thought, worry and shame and we can feel like a kid again.

Stand the Rain

Looking up at the sky, I search for answers.

I wish to calm these racing thoughts, and grip these wild emotions.

I ask God to help me, for I knew there was reason for it all.

What is wrong?

I am lost.

I am fearful.

I am confused.

It is silent.

I ride through the neighborhood,

The wheels of my bicycles were cranking a mechanical sound

As it grooved along the pavement.

It is enjoyable, for I am present.

I feel free from thought.

I look at the sky as its now grows dark.

Suddenly, a downpour of rain hits my thighs,

And soon drenches me from ponytail to sneaker.

I initially feel this discomfort and itch to rush home to shelter.

In withstanding the storm on my wet ride back home,

I am flooded with joy, beauty and appreciation for this warm summer-like rain.

What was once a feeling of discomfort was now joy?

I continued, peddled and peddled,

Wet as a dog.

Finally, the gray sky cleared back to blue.

It was time to go home.

I had completed my journey

And all of my questions were answered.

 

Xo.

Unconditional.

Free from conditioning.

Think of all of the things we do, the thoughts we have, and our perceptions that are a result of conditioning. Conditioning is often the product of our upbringing and environments. All of our lives we are told what things are “good” or “bad,” “right” or “wrong” before even being given the opportunity to create an unbiased opinion for ourselves. These conditions can have us grow up close-minded, only attracted to people with similar conditioning and worldly lifestyles.

An example of common conditioning is the stereotypes we are told of others that we may carry with us throughout our lives. For (personal) example, I grew up in a town of people who were predominantly of Italian descent. I myself being of Italian descent, had been encouraged to make friends with those of the kind since we all went to the same school, same church, and were from the same culture. Sounds compatible, right? Well, maybe on paper. However, as a child, none of my friends were of Italian descent at all. Other Italian kids would then question me, “Alex, why do you hang out with them?” In my child-mind, I truly did not understand this question since my answer was simply, “Because they are my friends.” Was I to elaborate? Were they looking for an explanation? What were they looking for? Now, as an adult, it is interesting to think about the conditioning we learn as children and the judgment of others that may even continue into adulthood if we are not aware of it.

In having this deeper understanding of conditioning, I can now understand why people have trouble connecting with one another. We are sometimes so conditioned to judge someone for their status, background, culture, job, net worth, we ignore the true source of connection, the soul, the inner self. In not being aware of this, we allow for worldly factors to blind us of our potential for TRUE connection of soul to soul, rather than the connection of human to human. While the soul to soul connection is one built by common values of kindness, love, vulnerability, genuineness, warmth, and care, the human to human connection is often build by common interest such as culture, gossip, circumstance, proximity and other worldly, fleeting factors.

Most times in our lives we are quick to assume connection because of our first encounter of it on a worldly level—these are common interests, common friends, common situations one may share with another. But, sometimes we may fail to look further into the values of a person to see if there are also shared commonalities there, between the inner self.

Here we find unconditional connection and judgment-free love for one another. Here there cannot be conditioning, for we are freeing ourselves of worldly influence, recognizing values of the inner self, unclouded by the outer world. Here we find love. Here we find genuine connection. Here we find friends. Here we find partners. Here we find ourselves.