For the next 350 days, I will be writing entries under the title, ‘I AM TROY DAVIS.’ Moved to pick up the pen not merely by Troy Anthony Davis‘ death/execution, but more so by his life/evolution, I hope that there are those out there who can relate. If so, we must connect. We are already connected. Axé.
If we don’t want it, why do we hold on so tight? The past is done, but it still lives on in our brains, spinning like a tire in the mud, until we consciously push it on out of there. Removal from this muck is spiritual ‘dirty work’ that takes a serious amount of time and energy.
We don’t want to work.
‘Can’t we just hire a mover to take care of it? Do I have to lift this all by myself?’ we think to ourselves while sitting comfortably on our spiritual ‘love seat,’ sipping from a full glass of vintage denial. It’s expensive, but after a few more glasses, we get drunk, and fall back asleep.
Some of our past ‘weight’ isn’t that heavy at all; swept quickly out of the mind’s temple without much effort. But, then there is that ‘heavy’ past that just sits in your consciousness like a two-ton gorilla with a demolition ball in his pocket. We have fed this gorilla since our childhood, so he expects to get fed. He doesn’t want to move. He wants our undivided attention the longer we keep him around. We know he’s crowding our mental space, but we’re afraid of redecorating, so we just ‘work around’ him. We try to turn your backs, but the beast remains, waiting for its next feeding.
Letting go of the past is a difficult task indeed. I think we can all admit this fact. But, what about the present? One of my life’s most difficult challenges deals with learning to let go of my own expectations in the present moment.
Whether applied to my personal relationships, artistic creations, or daily endeavors, I often hold a preconceived vision of the ideal outcome in my mind’s eye. When things don’t play out according this vision, I will feel discouraged, overwhelmed, or disappointed.
We have to let go of expectations if we are going to be happy. No matter what, nothing is predictable. The key is to do your best. If someone in your life comes up short, don’t let your expectations for them create disharmony. You can be disappointed, but don’t hold on to it. We all fall short. Letting go of your disappointment allows you to move forward.
Putting expectations on people or situations is a subtle, passive-aggressive form of control. You want to control what happens through your sheer will/vision, but you can’t. No matter what, the unexpected always occurs. Embrace and accept this fact harder than you are choosing to embrace the expectations you create in your mind.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with having some form of preconceived idea about future outcomes in your life. But, we must always remember to carve them out of butter instead of stone or metal. See, butter is more flexible. If you can keep it cool, it won’t melt. But, if the ‘heat’ of your desires get too high, the beautiful, picturesque, sculpture of your original intention/vision will melt completely.
But hey, at least you can drizzle that over some corn-on-the-cob, right?
Seriously though – lose the need to be ‘in control’ of outcomes in any situation. Keep the vision, but lose the attachment to the specific outcomes on your terms and conditions. You can want your next album to be downloaded by 15,000 people, but don’t be stuck on the fact that it has to happen in the first week.
Be flexible. When things don’t go the way you expect them to, don’t panic, or take frustrations out on your friends/family. Just give thanks for whatever did happen (because it’s all a blessing anyway), and then analyze what could be adjusted to create more satisfactory outcomes moving forward.
Write your goals down, but don’t get totally stuck on specifics. Specificity is important, but not pressure. Pressure busts pipes, and definitely strains relationships/distorts reality.
One of my biggest issues is the subtle/passive way that I have tried to control situations, and/or people. The reason I wasn’t able to recognize this until recently was because the negative attribute came from a positive place. In the past, ‘helping’ people was my subtle way of being in control of them. This definitely wasn’t always the case, but it surely played out often because I couldn’t see that my attempts to support others actually took away their power.
I would get so involved in ‘helping’ someone that I didn’t leave room for the person to figure things out for themselves. My own expectations for what they should be doing with their lives interfered with where they were actually at developmentally.
This definitely played out in my relationship with my wife. At times, I pushed way too hard (with what I considered love), but needed to lay back and play the Phil Jackson role from the sideline. She needed to learn things on her own (without my input), but I wanted her to move at my pace, and my level of expectation. This ultimately strongly affected how she felt about herself early on in our relationship.
So, whenever she brought up frustrations about the ways that she felt I was being ‘controlling,’ I pushed back with justifications. I was coming from a loving place, but couldn’t see that this form of love is stifling. The wounds from our early relationship scars are slowly beginning to heal as I realize the power that expectations can have as a form of control. Subtle, or not, the power is real.
I will definitely be writing about this more over the next few weeks as truths are revealed. Even with the best of intentions, and love in your heart, expectations can be a form of control. Please lose the need to control people, situations, or the future.
Thank you, Ghislaine. You are my reflection, and my greatest teacher. Axé.
My name is Jonathan ‘Jbro Mpeanaji’ Mahone, and I am one-half of (RAS) Riders Against the Storm. I AM TROY DAVIS.