the sun never says

 
 “The Sun Never Says”  
Persian Poet, Hafiz
 
Even / After all this time, / The sun never says to the earth, / “You owe Me.” / Look at what happens / With a love like that, / It lights the whole sky  
 
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Image courtesy of Carrie Lenz
 

First, a side note:  a developing awareness (with a big emphasis on developing) of my expectations has taught me many things.  They are our allies.  If I have awareness, however slight, of my expectations, I am better able to see through my clouds of daily thoughts.    

In an unburdened state, the sun lights the sky again and again without expectation that the earth will repay it.  

Expectations are surreptitious, reliable, and remind me of fireworks.  They are surreptitious in that they can be the sneakiest, slipperiest sort of beliefs dodging in and out of our subconcious and conscious worlds without our awareness of them. Trying to get ahold of them to have a closer look, as I’ve done in my meditation practice or during moments of mindfulness, is like grabbing for mist.  Reaching your arm out for a handful, it lightly disappears. They are reliable in that they consistently couch and strongly determine our experiences.  Finally, expectations are like fireworks.  It is an exclamation.  It is, this is what I think will or should happen (!) with a bang.  

I have been working with these strong belief systems in my meditation practice and during moments of mindfulness because I want to have an understanding of what emotions are packed in and around them.  As I strain to glimpse their components, I experience their  slippery personalities.  As thoughts do, they moved on by.  I know better.  I know I need to be more patient and let them move as they will.  

The reason for my desire to have a better understanding of the emotions surrounding these beliefs is that I don’t want my experiences determined before I experience them.  So, by lessening the bang (!), the this is what I think will or should happen, it gives my conceptual mind a break and a little more breathing room for a more direct experience of reality in any given moment in which expectations are involved.    

Who will join me? Who wants to acknowledge and become aware of their expectations? If you do, try sitting quietly while noticing your breath. Possibly even a consistent ten minute daily practice will allow some of these lightly moving beliefs to be noticeable. Once they are noticed and acknowledged, we may begin to develop a better understanding about why we act and react as we do.  Then, we put ourselves in the drivers seat to change the expectations, should we choose. 

Maybe then we will feel a little more like the sun does each day when it shines its warmth and light over the earth. It does so without burden or expectation. By choosing to modify unhealthy expectations, such as those that have simply been hanging around because they are part of repetitive thought patterns, maybe we’ll have more room for love.  Just as the sun loves the earth.  

 

 

where’s the compromise?

The art of compromise can be difficult, especially if we don’t realize that a compromise is needed. Sometimes, though, awareness  that an accommodation or middle ground is necessary can be a touchstone for a day’s meditation.  It can provide an external reference point.  How so? With the recognition that compromise would be a healthy move in a given situation, a framework of adjustment is established.  In other words, a knowledge that hmmm… my way of thinking about this issue may not be the only way to think about it… gives us an opportunity to treat other situations differently than we typically might.  Which, in turn, can be used throughout any given day to experience a different perspective.  

 

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Here’s an example:

My husband and I use natural flea and tick repellents on our dogs and in our home.  Fleas are not an easy thing to deter in South Florida.  Natural remedies involve a lot of vacuuming, washing towels and bedcovers, and using essential oils to deter the little critters. I could go on, but I’ll spare you.   Yet, the fleas still come.  My response? I get stuck in the “I must get rid of these fleas using only natural products because it is the healthiest thing to do for both human and animal” mindset.  This can go on for (ahem) months.  Stuck.  I get stuck.

One night around 2:00 a.m. when our labradoodle was itching loudly waking up both Scott and I, my husband asked me, “Kelly, where’s the compromise?”  There was no emotion in his voice.  Just a simple question.  

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It was an adjustment.  A re-boot.  An external reference point.  My mind immediately developed another frame of reference.  I’ve carried this new frame of reference with me over the past several weeks.  It has become a touchstone.  I began to look for, around, and under those compromises because I don’t want to be stuck.  Or, if I am going to be stuck, I want to recognize it.  Thus far, I’ve learned two things:

1) The greatest compromise may lie within ourselves.  And, 

2) If a lot of emotion is involved in a situation in which middle ground is trying to be reached, a personal agenda may be lurking in the background.  

The first lesson, accepting what is, is an internal job.  Isn’t a big part of compromising a willingness to allow something to be a way other then what it currently is or that we think it should be?  So, maybe inherent in taking the middle road is adjustment and acceptance.  The acceptance within ourselves that we haven’t failed or done something wrong if we think something should be a certain way. Yet, it just isn’t.  I haven’t failed if, try as I might, the natural flea remedies aren’t doing the job.  Adjustment.  Frame of reference.  I live in South Florida. The uber-flea capital of the world.  (Yeah, there is emotion in that exaggerated sentence.)  Silly as it may seem (it does to me, anyway) to use fleas as an example, I think this can be extrapolated to many areas in our lives. I know it can in my life.

The second thing I’ve learned is that I should first examine my reasons for considering (or not considering) a compromise in any situation in life. If strong emotions are involved or attached to the situation, I may be operating from a personal agenda. If I am operating from a personal agenda, emotion may be driving my response rather than reason or facts.  

In other words, maybe taking the middle road is comprised of both compromise and acceptance.  A compromise between parties or situations and an acceptance between parties and within the individual.  Compromise can bring us back to an external reference point, a touchstone, and an opportunity to see things from a different perspective.