I've been the planning/organizing/goal setting/visualization type, since I was young, but this year, I set the intention to release my urge for control, perfection, and being fueled by expectations.
I can recall saying that I would be a Child Psychologist and have a Jaguar Convertible at the age of 9. In middle school, I remember spending time when I should've been paying attention to my teacher, playing the game MASH. Believing life was a game, and being able to choose who I wanted to marry, how many kids I would have, my future home, and my occupation.
In high school, with the classes and programs I was a part of, goal setting was one of the most important activities to get "emerging adults" to focus on the future. I didn't know how many 1,3,5, and 10 year goal activities I did. Even in my early 20s, I fell in love with art of creating vision boards, which is where the original concept of BE came from.
To be honest, at 25, when I realized, life was almost nothing like I had imagined, I was one of those over-achieving and disconnected from reality millennials who had a "quarter-life crisis." In hindsight, as dramatic as it was, me not "getting my way" on my timeline, is what catapulted my personal development journey and my practice of mindfulness.
What I learned is that expectations often leads to disappointment. In our minds, we craft an idea of what an experience should look and feel like, when in actuality, we have no true concept of the future. Therefore, in my own healing process in regards to life's disappointments, I've learned to live from a place of intention, rather than expectation. I also learned that holding on to expectations about an envisioned future, indicates an unhealthy attachment to ideals that are often ego driven. Unhealthy attachments to no one experience, item, place, or person, serves us in the long because nothing is forever. and nothing is promised
When you truly understand that this life experience is temporary and unpredictable, you will be able to accept that life does not always play out how you imagine, and its ok.
Two experiences this year truly brought that to the forefront for me. A trip to Bali and the passing of my grandfather.
For the last 7 years, I've created vision boards for the next year. So at the end of 2016, I will create a vision of year 2017. Bali has been on my board for about 4 years, and this year I was finally afforded the opportunity to go. I was so happy once I booked the ticket, I started to cry. I admit, I had an obsession because of the film "Eat, Pray, Love." Yet, my anticipation for the trip in 2016 was very different than the anticipation in 2012.
Previously, I expected to have this beautiful romanticized experience during my stay. I imagined I would meet a healer, make friends, and be joyous everyday. Thank goodness I released those expectations before I went because that was not my experience. In an effort to flow and be open, I made sure to not over plan and over fill my stay with activities. I knew in general there was some things I wanted to do, but my intention was to just be open, be connected to every experience and relax. Let me tell you, it was one of the most transformative experiences ever. Not only was it my first solo trip, but I grew even deeper in love with myself for my ability to just be connected.
Now, imagine the #1 person you cherish in your life (if its not one, no problem) and multiply that by 1 million. That is the affinity I have for my grandfather who recently passed. In my head, he would've been there for every major milestone. My first TV show appearance, announcement of a best selling book, my wedding and my first child. But none of that will happen and about 3 months ago is when I released those expectations. I went home to visit him a lot in those last 3 months, each time with just an intention of caring for him, saying I love you, and holding his hand. As his health dwindled and he couldn't walk, talk or even hold his eyes open, I know my younger, more idealistic self, would have been disappointed in his lack of response to my movements, assistance or words. But the Tiffany that strives to live in flow and intention, was able to be humbled and grateful for the opportunity to feed him and clean him, with no acknowledgement. I felt blessed to sit at his side, hold him and just tell him how much he meant to me. I can say, in my "planning" of 2016, I didn't "expect" to be mourning my grandfather.
So now I can say, there is so much more abundance in intention. There is so much more possibilities for growth and joy in flow. Learning to accept the seasons, light, and darkness of life brings about an inner strength that I cannot really describe. Flow in the possibilities. Surrender to the unexpected. Let go for the need to control and plan everything. There is more power in trusting there's a greater good and connection webbed throughout your life experiences. There's a greater feeling in trusting your intuition from moment to moment and having faith in a divine design.