I have lots of expectations. From the moment I wake up till I fall asleep at the end of the day. I expect to make a cup of masala chai in the morning and journal. I expect to meditate and eat breakfast. I expect the weather to follow the forecast. I expect my groceries to be delivered in the time-window promised. I expect the internet to work flawlessly as I teach online classes with students in different countries and time-zones.
Sometimes my expectations come to fruition and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I’m frustrated, angry, or sad that my expectations didn’t manifest, and sometimes I’m not.
What I’ve noticed is that being let down by the expectation – the sense of entitlement that I’m owed basic necessities and some small luxuries throughout the day and every day – often causes me the most pain.
If there’s no almond milk in the fridge when I make my tea in the morning that could upset my whole routine – if I’m not mindful.
It’s not the lack of milky-chai that is most upsetting (maybe a little, though). It’s the idea that each moment of life owes me something. This concept, to be blunt, is crazy-making and a recipe to live one’s life in continuous, or at least sporadic, irritation.
I am not owed anything by this moment. When I don’t see almond milk in the fridge, it’s not because this moment conspired against me. It’s because I didn’t keep track of how much milk was in the fridge.
My desire for milk in my tea leads me to take action to buy it and drink it. But if I don’t have it, I don’t have to fall into negative habits and patterns of reaction.
If my process is dominated by anger and frustration, there’s a chance the result will be the same.
If my process is mindful, peaceful, and kind, there is a chance that the result can be mindful, peaceful, and kind.
And I believe that peace and clarity of mind is what allows me to make sure there’s almond milk in the fridge, waiting for me each morning.