How does love feel to you?
I have always thought that love was hugging on tightly not wanting to let go, consumed with thinking about and not wanting to move away from that thinking pattern, and doing for the other all. the. time.
Are you like me? Have you always thought love was that as well?
I was thinking back to when I first met my hubster and that is exactly how it was. And…I soooo wanted to be with him all.the.time. When the kids were born, it was the same loving. I just could not get enough of them.
I guess you could say…I was consumed with love.
Or so I thought!
Recently, the Universe gave me a good ole’fashion test. And so it begins again for me.
I am learning!!
Something happened with one of the kids and I was forced to sit still and observe. No hugging tightly, no being with them, and no thinking about them because I had to take care of myself in the moment.
It may sound a bit strange that I did not run to the young one comfort and take care of the situation. The truth is…I could not. The situation occurred when the two of us were separated, so physically that holding on tightly was not an option. And…the other truth is (and we are truth talkers here!!)…I would not because something…a small voice within my heart told me not to go to the situation. So I knew this one was big! BIG learning! BIG love!
AND…the most miraculous thing happened….LOVE felt different this time. It was fuller like a hot air balloon rising up with a fire forcing an expansion. It felt warmer and cozier like an intimate snuggle with a very warm fire. It felt actioned by a universal self-caring that seemed to ignite an openness in the kiddo. WOW!!!!
So..this moment got me heartn’
I am thinking that LOVE…
Is letting go.
Is waiting in silence.
Is an all knowing that everything works as it should.
How do I know this? Because love is the greatest teacher there is and it is the gift that keeps on giving.
See all these books that I am reading? Oh my gosh. The pile just keeps getting higher and higher. I start. I read. I find another that seems to grab my heart. I get excited. I start. I read. I see another…and another…and another. The cycle goes on and on.
And to top it off, I get more and more anxious that I never finished the other books. And the more anxious I get the more I begin to alter the chatting I do with me, myself, and I. It goes like this…
“Wow, this book is so cool! It is interesting! It is fascinating! Oh my THIS book is great! Ugh, I need to finish that book. Okay, I’m going to read 75 pages a day until it is done. Ugh I did not read today. Okay..I will read for an hour every day until this book is done. Absolutely no more books until I finish these three books. You seriously have a book issue. Girl, get your shit together and finish. You cannot seem to finish what you start.”
You know how it continues, right? It is the same conversation loop every single time my mind tells my heart who I am and who I am not. The thing about this loop is that it only exists in my head and it is governed by the one factor that influences all negative looping in this way.
Expectations are silent killers of our joy, our inspiration and our most authentic self. They rob our life of the excitement, they rob our curiosity from the organic tendency to search and find, and they rob love from being available in pure form. Expectations are a barrier to love. They are controllers of every person and every situation. And they are tough!
Expectations stand in front of another person and say, “You need to behave in this way for me to feel safe and secure. You have to be this kind of a person in order for me to have the answers. This situation needs to be like this in order for me to be happy.” This control mechanism is all driven by an unforeseen fear that one is not good enough to handle a person or experience outside of one’s comfort level. The boundaries surrounding expectations are not at all healthy. Instead, they are constantly in motion drawing in and out a picking of what our head thinks is good enough. THIS is not love, although many times it is masked in love. THIS is fear speaking silently from behind the mask and the costume hiding the torture one is enduring of fear, anxiety, doubt, and worry.
A Course in Miracles says, “Love is always there. Our job is not to search for love. Our job is to remove the barriers that keep love from being present all of the time.”
Expectations are barriers to love. Expectations wrap us in chains in so many ways – control, enforcing our desires on to another, holding on too tightly, telling another what to do and think, withdrawing love until we get what we want, working more for the desire than the other person, seeing another through our own personal lenses, judging whether another person and their actions are right or wrong, worrying about an outcome, consumed with the future, focusing on the past, believing there is only one exact way for something to happen.
Kind of a big and hearty list huh?
These are all the ways expectations get in the way and ultimately rob us from the love and joy that is our birth right and our universal duty to have.
We are born worthy souls who come into this world in the form of a human body. We are love and pure joy. We learn pain and suffering from our family, our friends, our coworkers, and our experiences. When we have a moment that is foreign we begin to make sense of it by categorizing it. This categorization process enables our brain to organize into right or wrong, good or bad, like and not like, etc. Thus, when the experience occurs again (which most of life works in this way), we keep safe by finding our way to the categories. Sense-making in this way allows us to find a solace in uncharted moments and leads us to how we carry pain and suffering with us throughout our life. This categorization process is also called learning.
Expectations are a strategy our mind chooses in an effort to distract from the pain of an event or person. Expectations are a barrier we employ to keep our self in a secure and safe place. They are a response to a pain we did not recognize and did not know what to do with.
While they are silent killers, expectations are also our greatest teachers. Like love, they are prepared to teach us who we are and remind us of our truth. Expectations are ego-induced mechanisms to push us away from our truth and, in knowing this, they become our most valuable lesson in learning our power to let go and surrender. The warfare between what we want and the presence of truly honoring the individuality of another (whether it be our children, our partners, our co-workers, or our peers) is the act of expectations.
Love and expectations are both teachers and yet cannot co-exist together in union. They contradict each other. One is freeing and is governed by surrender and acceptance, while the other is confining and restrictive with little room for negotiation.
“The greatest teacher will send you back to yourself.” (unknown)
And on that day, when the situation arose for me and the kid, I was taught again. Surrender was the only option to release the shackles of fear I had built up in my human body. Surrender was the only way to remove the barriers I had built up around the love I had. And in the moment, surrender was the greatest gift I could offer him.
In my moment of surrendering me to fear, I gave him freedom to breathe for himself, to act in his own wise-ness, and to let his heart be his North Star.
I remember it all too well…the exact moment of surrender.
There was a tornado in a holding pattern swirling around my head diligently wanting all those thoughts and worries to get sucked into the vortex of its fear induced isolation. And I heard the voice. The voice I had been sitting in silence to hear again. The voice I had been tuning up for years now was faint, in this moment, and I heard it.
Maya Angelou always said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
I had been doing the best I could raising the kid to be independent, believe in his own strength, know how to make decisions, etc. And I had been doing it all on my own. No voice within my gut was guiding me. No heart-pumping power pulling me toward the light of all experiences. But in this moment, it felt different. A change had taken place within me a while ago. A change that reverently replaced my mask and my many costumes with a barren existence. That voice no longer allowed me to hide. That voice broke me free of the shackles that had chained me to a pattern for acting in fear and masking it as love.
THIS moment was my change. The small voice said to me, “Are you ready?” The small voice and I were going to do better together.
“Yes!” I answered with a nervous whisper. “I am ready!”
I hung up the phone with the kid. And I knew. The only choice was to surrender to love and free us both of the expectations I had built up in my head. Tears trickled down my face and the tornado seemed to be in my gut swirling around feeling unknown and empty. I had not felt this before. Doing better is hard work. Love requires hard work. Love requires surrendering.
Surrendering is not a giving up. Surrendering is giving it to God.
As the tears ran vibrantly down my face, my heart knew. The voice was right on. THIS was the only option. To let go and allow the kid to be on his own in this situation. To let go and allow the kid to pull from his courage, his bravery, and his wise-ness. To let go and trust in God to be our North Star. For the kid and for me.
Expectations feel like all those books stacked up in our head. They spark a conversation loop that draws from nothing in its proving. It only perpetuates that which we fear and thus robs us of joy.
What do we do as mothers? As humans?
We remove the barriers to love. Strip our self from the stack of expectations that govern our daily habits with our kids and with others. Be love. Trust love. Find faith in God (or whatever/whomever is your loving guidance).
We begin in observation of our ways. And we start with the removal process of trashing our chains. Begin there and you will find a love so expansive that your heart might even explode. THAT is joy!!