My book and speaking events have put me in touch with many people from all over the world that plan to embark on the Camino. It is a joy to coach them on lightening their loads or even a few suggestions for some fine tapas. Ultimately, most of these conversations turn towards questions about what a person can expect to gain from a 500 mile walk. This is where I begin my lecture on the value of letting go of expectations.
The best advice I can give to anyone that is going on any journey is to get on the airplane without any expectations and then accept everything that happens without getting tied up in a knot. If the flight is cancelled use is as an opportunity to explore the airport, make a new friend, or chill with a good book. Do not run around bitching and moaning about something that has already happened and will not change.
During my college graduation, I received my diploma on stage and immediately attached an anvil to my waist. The unneeded extra weight was a crazy expectation to quickly find a perfect job in a perfect industry and start building a perfect career. My self-imposed expectations quickly metastasized into unrealistic fantasies of perfection in all aspects of my life.
I interviewed with several companies and was waiting for the best opportunity. There is a perfect surfing analogy from my recent trip to Costa Rica. The first words of wisdom came from my instructor when he said, “Do not wait for the ideal wave or worry about your style. You can’t identify a good swell and you have no form. Just try to stand up and try make it to shore.” Prior to first lesson I had visions of myself riding a big wave while doing a one-legged yoga tree pose on the board. Hours later, an ear to ear smile stretched across my face with my first 5-second standing acceleration before once again falling into the salty water.
When expectations rule the front row, the only place to sit is the cheap seats with obstructed views. The treadmill begins with disappointment and ends with harsh self judgement. Trade in the rigid guidebook for a high quality compass and explore. This openness creates space for something much greater to come along. The ability to go with flow requires bucket loads of trust that things will work out as they are intended to be.
We all have some sort of inner guidance system that tells us where we need to be. Some call it intuition others see it as faith. Believe it or not, you are exactly where you need to be at this moment. Trust the built in guidance system and release judgement about what you think is happening.
The root of disappointment is not meeting expectations. Delete it by changing your thoughts. This shift in perception may change your life…….