I love it when life challenges me. Well, in all honesty, maybe not at the time it's going on but in retrospect, I find that life always has my back.
Take this week for instance. I found myself frustrated with some business dealings. Frustrated because I was asked to do things, did them and when it was time for the other parties to do their part, nothing and I mean nothing.
I have to state up-front that people not doing what they say they are going to do is a pet-peeve of mine. Especially when I fulfilled my end of the bargain. I felt ignored and was growing more dismayed, especially since these folks had initially reached-out to me.
Then it dawned on me late that evening. Maybe them giving me no information (aka no response) was exactly the information I needed. I was being shown the way. Now, I say this not in a jaded way. No passive aggressive stuff. Just the facts. The folks not answering me told me in the end that either beginning a business relationship or continuing one, was probably not in my best interest since this wasn't the first or even the second time that I found myself on a bit of a merry-go-round with them.
Then this morning I was reading about reflecting back on the past year and considering the new one ahead and the teacher spoke of happiness. He said that happiness was easy to find, we simply needed to lower our expectations. That's it I thought? And yea, he wasn't being funny or snide, he was completely sincere.
He said why can't we just be happy with who we are, where we are and who we share our time on this planet with, right now? Why do we always have to strive for more, better, different, why can't we just "set the bar", here? Why can't we just look at the times we enjoy in our lives and be grateful, why must everything and everyone in our lives improve?
Now I know this teaching was not designed to encourage us to live like slugs, no motivation, no inspiration etc. The teachings I read are never black or white, never one end of the spectrum or the other so I get where he was going.
The more expectations we have, the higher they are, the more we set ourselves up for frustration and disappointment. That doesn't mean (like in my case) that I should still work with people that don't seem to work well with me, it just means that my having the expectation that they would follow-through and didn't, caused me angst and I could have avoided that if I just took one interaction at a time, without the thought "they should do this or they should do that." Then decide, like I did, whether to proceed or not.
And although my cartoon is probably supposed to be the joke it seems to be, I think taking "pride in my mediocrity" isn't such a bad thing after all. In fact, I have been striving to live in the "middle of life" for about a year now. Not getting too high with the highs or too lows with the lows because after all, everything is impermanent and when we get too attached to joy or suffering, we always lose, either way.
So here's to going a little lower in the year ahead! Easing up on myself and those around me. Lightening up on the expectations and just enjoying what I have this very day.
Bar set. Bring it 2017.
Happy New Year!