The New York City subway system is one of my greatest teachers.
The other night I was waiting for the #3 train to take me from 14th St. to my stop uptown in Harlem. The #3 is an express train and on a good night I can make it uptown in less than 30 minutes. Alas, this was not a ‘good’ night – all express and local trains were switched to the local track.
“Well,” I thought angrily, “now it’s going to take me longer to get home than I expected, and I’ve got to pack my bag and prepare my lunch for tomorrow. This sucks. I probably won’t get to bed until 1am.”
As the subway moved slowly uptown I became more irritated. “This train should be moving faster!”
At 23rd St., 34th St., Times Square and several other stops the train was delayed and sat motionless with the doors open. “Those doors should be closing now,” I said aloud.
“Really?” answered my voice in my head. “Should the train really be doing anything but what it’s doing now? You could get up and go to another subway line, take a bus or a cab, or even walk home. What you are doing now is painful.”
I took a deep breath and sat up, long and tall, in my seat. I had been leaning, knees on thighs, shoulders hunched and forward with my head in my hands, rubbing my furrowed brow. I looked at the clock on my Blackberry. I had been lost in stressful thoughts about the train (and a few other things that my negative thinking dug up) for nearly 30 minutes and my body was showing me what happens when my mind takes a stroll into the land of expectation.
“If you think you can lead a happy life by going through your days with a list of expectations, please think again.
There is nothing that is guaranteed to go exactly as you think it should.
‘My kids should behave.’ ‘My husband should keep the bathroom clean.’ ‘The trains should be on time.’ ‘Everyone should be happy.’
Those ‘shoulds’ can lead to disappointment, frustration and anger.
What if you just let things be? Or, ask that things be done or kept a certain way without expecting that they will.
Release your self from the nightmarish grip of expectation and you will find that your ride home is always pleasant and that your heart is filled with gratitude for the way things are. What else is there but what is?” – At One
What expectations are you harboring?
Today’s Powerful and Positive Affirmation is:
“I am open to experiencing everything as it is.”
Thanks go out to Jean at Nurture’s Path for giving me an opportunity to see and say what I’m good at, clients who teach me valuable lessons, a sweaty Spin class, friendly bank tellers, Sound Circle participants who fill the room with sounds of love, waking up to the sun, new and prosperous business, my book agent, editor and publisher, Narrativ Inc., and a chocolate-free day.
Thanks and peace to all.