Having expectations in my life is the beginning of suffering, always. The wanting, the expecting, the suffering; in that order. Like one of those inventory control devices that are attached to shirts at the mall, suffering is attached to expectation. There is the saying, pain is inevitable, suffering, optional. It is optional because I can choose where to place my attention, or my wanting. Buddhists say to want nothing, and suffering goes away. My serenity is inversely proportional to my expectations and wants. My happiness is directly proportional to my ability to accept life as it is right now. Acceptance means that I don‘t have the tugging in me that says “But wait, it should…” Finish that sentence and it is like pulling the pin on the grenade.
My suffering arises from the belief that something, this or that thing, should not be the way it is. As soon as I start down Should Road, I am in for it. I know this, or at least, I have said this/read this/written this/taught this before. When I teach you about it, it is a pretty simple concept. When I am convincing myself of it, I feel like I have been told to stand in the corner of a round, white room. As I have recently written here, I have been struggling with changes at my work. The actual work of seeing patients, doing operations and showing up in the hospital is all going well…hmmm, it is good to even write that; what is not going as planned is pretty much everything else. All the mechanics of running the business are not what I thought they would be. I had this thought, this expectation, that it would be different than what it is right now. So I have all the right answers that would sound great in a blog, but I am not feeling them.
For me, that is really the issue, the feelings. I have all these feelings that I am not sure what to do with. Feeling them, really just allowing those hard feelings, would be a good place to start. I guess I am attached to the idea that I should have the answers all sewn up and that I should not have hard feelings like embarrassment, anger, shame, etc. But the truth is that I do feel all those things, because I have had an image of what my business would be like and I have become attached to those beliefs. I fail to see that I am just where I am supposed to be, that I am a lucky bee living in a nectar-filled flower of opportunity…gag.
What I do know is that I can‘t get out of this or through this–the feelings or the realities at work–on my own. It is literally not possible to lift oneself off the ground by pulling on straps attached to one‘s own boots. I know I need help, even to just have feelings, to let my heart run freaky and wild and scary and weird. I have grief to feel and anger. I need help with those things. Once I do that work, I can usually count on my brain to help me see the landscape as it is and then, without having to try to hard I can become grateful for what I have. Once I am in that place, I usually start to feel better, and I guess that is what we humans really like, isn‘t it. We like to feel better.