Expectations: The Road to Burnout 201

I hung up the dog leashes, went to the cupboard, chose a mug, added a touch of cream and filled it with hot brew. I try to squeeze a little reading in during the morning as I am often too tired to do it in the evening. So I grabbed a book, settled in, along with the cat and started to read. A couple of paragraphs later I realized I had no recollection of what I had just read, so I read it again. And again. Three times through, and still I can’t tell you what I read. “I must be distracted because I am still running warm from the walk. Maybe I will go on the deck, cool off and read.”

Off I went to the deck. Cozy chair, different cat, same book and mug. And the same outcome. After a couple of times through the same old paragraph, I decided to stop, breath and see what would come along. Honestly, what I expected “would come along” would be that the desire to read would kick in. It did not happen. So I let go.

I was facing east into what would soon be the sunrise, when I saw an eagle flying toward me. (No kidding, you can’t make this stuff up.) Not only was it an eagle, it was an eagle with an enormous branch in its beak. Calculating wingspan and such, it would have been a good 10+ foot long-branch this eagle carried! It flew straight toward me, took a left at the lilacs, another left at the compost pile and headed back toward the west and into a grove of trees. What a way to start the day!

Last week we talked about practicing saying ‘no,’ allowing the open space created, to remain open. Sometimes our planned outcomes (in this case reading), seem to say ‘no’ to us. We even have expectations around the “open space” we create. Sometimes something completely beyond our imagination is waiting to happen to us, in us and through us, it just needs a little space and for us not to be distracted by our expectations.

This week, notice where you have expectations. (Clue: we have them all over our lives.) Choose one, release and breathe deeply into the place. Dashed expectations are a big factor to burnout. We will often work extra hard and long to make sure the outcome is what we expect it to be, because we believe it will lower our anxiety if we remain in control. Allowing ourselves to release expectations increases well-being. What are the situations that cause you the greatest stress? Is there an expectation that you can observe, one which you might be able to let go? In some situations, accepting “what is” helps lower anxiety and stress, moving us away from burnout and toward a greater sense of well-being.

Share your experience with a friend, colleague or family member. Remember: this is easier to do in community, than alone. Join in.

Create the weekend you want to experience,

Andrea

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