⛰️ Seeking the Lesson of Great Expectations ☔

I feel a bit at a crossroads as a writer, I want to go back and edit my past work to learn the skill of editing, to improve my clarity and cohesion, yet the time I have to write hasn’t changed.

So if I edit more, web design more, draw more, learn to cross promote more (something I may not even do due to shyness), then it means writing less. That’s what I see so far… maybe I can redo my schedule, but at some point there won’t be something to squeeze.

I’m already tight for time, I have martial arts, making workout videos of my own, improving lesson plans, teaching music, composing music, drawing, and taking breaks on my radar, so I don’t know if I do more editing will it mean less writing?

I really get joy and find meaning in writing, so possibly I can work out something else. Maybe writing during the week and editing on the weekend? I’m not sure yet.

Maybe I will write about editing?

“Save the best for last” could be an editing segment?

Anyways, the computer I’m writing on recently had a full glass of water spilled on it, I thought it would be done for, it reset itself and seems good as new now.

I promised myself that if the computer recovered I would be more grateful, but then when it did I forgot to own that. When I remembered, I couldn’t.

I couldn’t force myself to be grateful for what I promised myself I would be.

Maybe the lesson is not to promise something I can’t keep? I’ve never been able to be grateful on cue when I feel like I should and I don’t know why I expect myself to be suddenly different than I’ve always been without acquiring a new skill or new perspective?

I think expecting myself to deliver things I can’t, makes me dislike and distrust myself.

I deliver so much to myself, my family, sometimes the greater world as well, but I often expect more than I can deliver.

I am new to investing, but I just got some NIO stock, it’s a Chinese electric vehicle company, sales have doubled, but stocks have fallen. Sales were good, but investors fled because they weren’t “crazy good.”

I don’t know if it’s human nature or living in this digital age of glamorizing outliers to normalcy, but lately great is somehow poor, and good is somehow horrible.

The hedonistic adaptation of wanting the next best thing and hating what we were once awed by is so much the status quo for many of us that it’s an unspoken epidemic.

Some become depressed about decent to great lives, some become anxious that they won’t measure up or “be successful,” others like me don’t have any publicly shamed psychological “illness,” but we become angry so easily over minimal upsets to our pretty amazing lives, that prevent them from being even more easy or amazing.

Few of us are happy with “enough,” when enough becomes a lot, it doesn’t seem to help, and when a lot becomes “too much” it helps even less.

Minimalism has been helpful to me, but perhaps having less isn’t the solution, the solution is simply fighting the hedonistic adaptation to not enjoy what we have?

Perhaps it matters not at all how much is too much or enough, but how well we appreciate what we have, and how well we mentally balance what we have…?

Like MacGyver, maybe we can make the life we don’t want become our current best life, from using what we have on hand with more ingenuity. Not by being open to getting more, but from being open to realizing that we have most of what we need when we learn how to use it?

Not that it’s not okay to get help, or saying that we have an equal amount of resources, but perhaps we all have enough for what our current step in life requires?

Those of us at square -12, perhaps have the help or book or technique to get to level -11, and so on until we get to square 0, then square 1.

I feel like I started at square -12 specifically with discipline. My mom scared me so much on a daily basis, in a spectacularly horrible attempt to get me to behave how she wanted, without being clear about what that even was. I was scared to start discipline, not sure it was possible to succeed, and completely lost as to how it would be possible. Yet slowly I learned skills that took me all the way to the same 0 some people start with.

Every single level was hard won for me, I feel like it would be almost impossible for a natural leader, good at discipline, to understand the struggle I went through to be comfortable seeing my kids cry normal tears, for a short time, because I was setting a mindful and respectful limit that allowed all of us family members to function as best as I can imagine for us. I think a natural leader would have gotten through that with some, yet minimal internal resistance…

It was the Everest in my life.

Other people maybe 200 lbs (90 kg), and before they were 600 lbs (272 kg one of my favorite musicians really was that big), you wouldn’t look at them at 200 lbs (90 kg) and be inspired by their will power, stamina, and courage, yet they would deserve respect under the surface of what people can see.

Some people climb the actual Everest, but I think we all have our own “Everests” to climb, fearing death less to really focus on and live life, learning to really care about other people, learning how to get along with people who don’t and won’t agree with your values without loosing your values, or your temper, or your mind, learning to love after being hurt, learning to try after failing, learning to come back from a loss.

I think many of these little things are harder than the real Everest (though I don’t really know, because I haven’t done it). Not that it sounds easy at all, just that these little things in life, these little journeys of courage and renewal are so hard.

Some people who I’m guessing could make it up the real mountain, may divorce because they are scared to open up to their spouse after being criticized or argued with too many times before. They may conquer the fear needed to go to a dangerous place, and risk their life, and face great heights, yet turn a blind eye to fears that cost them much more.

I don’t care to go to Everest. There isn’t much attraction to me to a place unbreathable. Yet I feel, I won’t shy away from my own great challenge in life. I know I haven’t found it yet, but I’m guessing when I do, I will “feel” drawn to it, strongly or subtly, I imagine that I’ll have a magnetic attraction to whatever my life’s great challenge will be.

Though I don’t yet know what my great challenge will be, I now know a bit about who I am, where I would like to go in life in the next 10 years (raise my kids for 9 and re-educate for 1).

I don’t know if my path will be the one I am aiming for, but I’m comfortable changing destination, more than I am comfortable having no destination at all. That’s how I am, that’s what works for me.

I enjoy having great dreams, if I fail, it hurts a bit, it shifts me, it calls me into reflection. But the pain is worth the beauty of having the dream sparkling in the golden light of the sun every dawn when I wake up.

Looking forward to a dream, unpromised by reality, helps me get through the real problems that naturally occur each day, or each week.

So while expectations can be bad, they can also be good.

It’s very much like water, to the thirsty water is life, to the drowning water is death.

Expectations for yourself help you empower yourself to take on challenges, to live fully, to try while still knowing you will sometimes fail.

Too many expectations, are too heavy a weight in the long run, but the right amount builds strength of character and resilience, as opposed to none, which leads to a shallow, pleasure driven life, that is hollow in the moments when pleasures cease.

Too many expectations of others, are too heavy a weight for other to bear, or maybe for them to decide to carry at all, yet to have a friend willingly share a burden, is not only a benefit for you, but for them, it’s an honor when not over played.

Expectations are a double edged sword, too many cut, yet the other side, too few, cut also.

The right amount of expectations may sometimes be zero, like for a baby, or for the day your spouse dies, yet sometimes it isn’t the case.

It’s a difficult and heavy sword to wield, one that cuts us many times, burdens us often, but has a purpose of cutting the obstacles down that would stop us from the destiny we choose to follow.

Expectations are murky, tricky, painful, yet not just a four letter word.

Dignity is perhaps the one side of expectations, flexibility the opposite side.

So I expected myself to be grateful the computer survived, yet I couldn’t.

So I am adjusting my expectations for myself to match the reality I can currently produce, yet sometimes I find that I will do my best to adjust my results to meet my expectations as fast as I could possible do so.

Sometimes the bar should fall to meet abilities, and sometimes we should raise ourselves to the bar, it really depends on the mental, financial, and temporal resources available and the cost benefit of the endeavor.

We can only afford to jump a certain amount of hurdles in life, but that means picking battles, not simply crawling to avoid struggle (though sometimes that is all we can do for the moment).

Expectations cause suffering, but also joy.

Expectations create a canvas, the painting upon it being bad is not the fault of the canvas beneath it.

Life simply holds pain, expectations can amplify pain, but they are not the true root of pain.

Behind expectations failing, is an unmet desire.

Behind desire is a wish to find permanence in an unpermanent state, in an unpermanent world, in an unpermanent life.

Behind that wish for permanence, is the lack of the ability to have control to the extent we seek control.

Behind the wish for control is a wish for peace, well being, joy, stability, abundance, expression, understanding, general good.

Behind the wish for good is a aversion to pain, to bad, to the suffering of life, but some of that pain is inevitable.

The mantra, pain is inevitable, suffering is optional, helped me reduce some of the extra pain today when I went on a 15 minute run, on what I found was a not completely healed ankle fracture.

The first 3 minutes didn’t hurt, the next 6 hurt a scary amount, I made peace with myself that if I was really worried about injury I would stop, but if it wasn’t that bad I would keep going without worrying. It took a lot of self negotiation to make peace with the pain. Then the pain diminished and in the last minute the pain seemed to be gone.

I don’t think the pain was all mental, I didn’t expect it at all and it popped up completely without expectation. Yet the physical experience I had with the pain changed a lot depending on the way I mentally experienced it in my brief 15 minute run.

My target was to see how far I could go in 15 minutes of running to satisfy “homework” for Shaun T’s T is for Transformation Book, I had no idea my ankle was at all weak. Other exercise hasn’t strained it at all.

When I noticed it hurt, I had a choice of completing my goal or stopping. If I was in pain that made me worry about my body getting hurt worse I would have stopped, treating my body as a friend is how I roll now. But sometimes pains are somewhat small and steady without getting worse, so I went with it to get to know this pain, to feel it out… I made friends with it in a way. Thinking of the time I stupidly kicked a punching bag that was swinging forward towards my ankle, not doubling, but quadrupling the force.

I remembered shopping for a wedding dress on a slightly broken ankle, getting married in a hot air balloon, forgetting to switch my high heels (for the pictures) to the flats I had brought for the hot air balloon and wearing the high heels on the broken ankle in the hot air balloon as it landed…

I remembered that I had caused this pain, that the pain was doing it’s job to let me know my limits, and the status of the leg that needed rehabbing if I expect to do crazy things with it again.

The more I accepted the validity of the pain, the more it seemed to diminish, thought I think if a blood sample could be taken the real neurotransmitter of the chemical pain signal could be found, I don’t think it’s a phantom pain, yet I do think all pains can be made worse by resistance to accepting them.

It’s another long windy post, but the point of this post was that I find it neccisary and helpful to fight our own hedonistic adaptation (finding enjoyment in life and then becoming so easily board by something which once seemed unattainably wonderful), and also that expectations are not always the enemy though they accompany pain, they are sometimes not the root cause but the messenger.

Those conclusions and pondering are meant for no one more so than for myself, I’ve been prodded to think on them by others, but the conclusions I’ve drawn are specific to my current struggle to manage healthy goals vs overwhelming desire to fit more than 24 hours of activity into a 24 hour day.

I’m trying to find ways to counter hedonistic adaptation mentally, but I also wonder it’s function, if it’s a tool towards growth or a flaw? I wonder if our essential nature is to overcome the mind or be one with the mind? I don’t have real answers to the questions I have, though I’ve heard “pretty sounding” answers before, sometimes the experiences of living run counter to the words that sound the best, and the authentic solutions don’t alwahys have simple solutions nor trendy catch phrases.

Or perhaps life is simple, but my brain is just too fried by the 106°F/41°C weather of today to even soft these things out anymore?

Bitmoji Image
Never been able to “beat the heat,” but at peace with it at least.

Namaste readers!

In case you are curious I can run exactly 1.2 miles in 15 minutes, which is fine, not impressive at all, but not shameful at all either (to me), it’s the best I could ever do, and I can still do it after years of not running, to me that’s pretty decent.

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