Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Expectations


There is such a fine line between dreaming and pushing the dream. As someone whose mind is roaring and running from the moment my lids open to the instant when my brain coaxes them to stay closed, I do a fine amount of talking in my head. No, not of the Sybilaphile kind--at least not yet--but rather a wishing and wondering, dashing and retreating dance. "What will the afternoon hold?", I wonder while running through the days list in my head...and automatically, ideas are attached to each item until it effectively becomes a Wish List. 

I remember telling my "Uncle" Tom (who is related to me only because he has known me "before you were born") at the brass bold age of thirty that I had it all planned out. I was going to keep working "one hundred percent" on my career for this many years, meet the man of my dreams at such age while following up by hopefully having one child (only) within the next few years. How sure of myself I was! He looked at me calmly and said, "Life doesn't work like that, Heather."

How right he was. The unpredictability of life has often left me delighted, offering something beyond what my pirouetting imagination could have served on a silver platter but it has also left me in tears of utter disillusionment. And yet I keep needing to learn it on levels little and big. 

Buddhism reminds us that expectations can only lead to disappointment. So when is "looking forward to something" different than trying to make a moment other than what it is? I want things to be exactly how I hoped but of course that happens so rarely. This note is a little reminder to myself to just be present and push away the smokey clouds that pollute with their noise of braying to be heard. Just breathe. For there is nothing but peace in our heart rising and falling and cool air splaying over our lips with each exhale to know that all is well. All is well.  



Everything is fine and dandy, I just caught myself in the act as storm clouds have gathered before going to see Melody Gardot in concert, my little dress put aside for something more reasonable and whining on the verge of escaping. I wondered if anyone else does the same...

I will be back to the wedding festivities on Friday. 

36 comments:

Judith Ross said...

"So when is 'looking forward to something' different than trying to make a moment other than what it is?" Great question and one I will have to think about. This was a good reminder to all of us — one that I can't believe you dashed off in the heat of the moment.

Enjoy that concert! Here's another song about 'breathing.' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo-UKCxCglg

Paul actually loves the Willie Nelson version of this song, but I'd rather look at Eddie Vedder (shallow, I know).

david terry said...

"Buddhism reminds us that expectations can only lead to disappointment..."

yeah, yeah, yeah, Heather....and, yes, this unedifyingly orthodox Anglo-Catholic ( I am one, actually) is quite aware (courtesy of some dreadful undergraduate courses in "Comparative Religion") that "All Desire is as a Cloud", "We see but through a glass darkly", and the degree to which one's having any practical plans-for-life is a sure-fire way to fuckup your karma or displease Jesus (who always seems to be depicted in retrospect as much less forgiving than he seems to have been in person).

Personally?...if I were you, I would simply tell that smart&handsome husband of yours to take you out to dinner more often...OFTEN, in fact?...to buy you things you WANT for yourself.....access your innner Pearl Bailey/Eartha Kitt...Remi can, all done and said, BE replaced. You can also replace the dogs; it's not as though any of them were going to live more than another ten (at most) years. You, by contrast, will be loved by your public and last forever. Love Remi and the dogs as you see fit..but do not ever confuse them with yourself or your needs. I speak from experience.

So?.....why SHOULDN'T you get what you want, and have it NOW? As I have reason to often remind myself in my own transprently absurd parody of a marriage?...."I am the star; everyone and everthing else is supporting-cast or a dispensable prop." Please take a care, Heather, to remind yourself of this every morning as you look in the mirror and brush your teeth.

Do I need to emphasize (this is, after all, the internet) that I am JOKING? Qui8te franklky, middle-aged Herve and Ispent last night eating leftover chicken and making plans about which of our parents are going to die first, and what we're going to do with the remaining ones. We agreed that his mother and my mother probably wouldn't get on very well (for one, they don't speak the same language) if we just ran off and gave them our house.

Life doesn't necessarily get easier while it gets longer.

Play this, and let the boy tremble in his tracks!!!!!:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXhebJpB6Tw

AND I AM JOKING, YOU KNOW (folks are so humorless on this danged internet)


Fondly as ever,

Uncle David
www.davidterryart.com

Suze said...

Tears.

Loree said...

Our wish list and out life list - the two are so vastly different. So many unfulfilled plans and so many dashed expectations. And yet, life does manage to surprise us with gifts wrapped in the most unexpected of packages.

puppyfur said...

I agree with Loree. Yet life is bittersweet for most, I think. Twists and turns, some wholly unexpected, sometimes lead us in the most delightful directions. We can't know, but we plan anyway - the human condition. We believe, we hope, and even if what we believe in and hope for doesn't happen, our hope springs eternal....if we're lucky and don't give in.

Laoch of Chicago said...

Fine post.

Unknown said...

"There is such a fine line between dreaming and pushing the dream"... My dreams rarely have been very specific, and my pushing them mainly consists just of noticing open doors and trying make choices that close as few of those doors as possible. It's been amazing how many dreams have come true (beyond my wildest imagination) or remain possibilities. And how thoroughly I've been blindsided by steep challenges.

I get the sense (as much as one can via virtual communication) that you are on the cusp of taking some kind of action...(or deciding not to right now). You are well equipped to make whatever decisions may be presenting themselves to you.

Thinking of you, with every good, empowering wish, Leslie in Oregon


I Dream Of said...

Great question, Heather. I can so relate to the "busy brain," the expectations, and thinking you have it all figured out until life tells you something different. I think as with everything in life, there is a balance. Between living in the moment and plotting the future. Between being engaged in the task at hand and enjoying the delicious anticipation of what's around the bend. I haven't quite gotten my balance together in very many parts of my life, but I work at it every day! XOXO

Mumbai said...

Oh Heather, i"m surrounded by Buddhism every day but disappointments, sadness, also happened here ending up in tears and sorrow. It's so hard to accept the unexpected but we
are only humans and are obviously born to suffer. However life can also be beautiful and there will be a day where sun is shinning again of us.

Acquired Objects said...

Funny but every birthday I used to be so disappointed not because I wasn’t getting what I wanted but because I expected more. More of what I have no idea but since I’ve learned to let go and just enjoy the day I say bring them on. I’ve learned to stop expecting and to wait for what will come.

XXX
Debra~

Heather Robinson said...

Hmmm, I listened to them both and would agree with Paul but wished the duo would have been with a fine female voice, just me. But oh, there is nothing wrong in looking at Mr. Vedder. I saw Pearl Jam at a triple bill with Smashing Pumpkins opening, then PJ, then the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Roseland Ballroom many years ago. It left me breathless and a little freaked out--at one point during the Peppers, my feet got lifted off the floor and didn't touch again for nearly a minute. Needless to say, I watched the rest of the show from further back.
Another Eddie Vedder collaboration to give back to you: http://youtu.be/GoSyDxLBqqA

Heather Robinson said...

By the second paragraph I had my head in my hands, thinking "Oh how am I going to explain that he is joking???" So I was grateful that you took that work off of my hands. I bet some folks still don't think so though. I am, of course, not one of them.
Keep on riffing, Uncle David.
Bisous,
H
Ps That fabulous, fabulous tune made me wish that I was some sort of 1950s burlesque performer that had a way with fans.

Heather Robinson said...

Why, sweet Suze?
Sending Love.

Heather Robinson said...

Ps. This came up randomly on the youtubey page after listening to Pearl and while it devolves into a big Mess towards the end, I had NO idea that there was any footage of these three greats singing together. Hold onto your hat!
http://youtu.be/UfGiUQ1DgLU
PPS. I remain faithful to Sassy.

Heather Robinson said...

Now I understand.
Still sending Love.

Heather Robinson said...

So true, Loree and thank goodness for that!!! And with surprising timing too...

Heather Robinson said...

A bittersweet response for our bittersweet lives. And I am not complaining for my part, just keeping a vigilant eye. More in terms of the everyday little bits and pieces that I make more complicated than they should be..."I hope this happens..." "I bet this will be like that"...that kind of silliness that just gets in the way of what is.

"Hope springs eternal"--three of the loveliest words together right up there and related to "I love you." Right? Love being given to us in the form of hope...

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you, Mr. Laoch.

Heather Robinson said...

Your response was so intriguing that I thought about it all day, Leslie.

I do know that it is important to take some sort of action, even if it won't necessarily give us the desired reaction. That things aren't linear for most of us. That is why hope is so mercurial even though it is just the essence of all that is right in the world. You do take action and I will keep the image of open doors in mind.

Isn't it funny what sense we have of each other without having met? I sometimes pick up on similar waves happening on other blogs too. And what is interesting is that I think you are right. If my instinct is right, some sort of change is on the horizon for me but I have no idea what it is...hoping (that word again) that it is something positive and that you are right.

Thank you mille fois for all of your kindness.

Heather Robinson said...

Me too, Jeanne! And I loved the way that you phrased it and agree whole-heartedly even if anticipation tends to tip the scales on my end alllll toooo often. Le Sigh.
Gros Bisous,
H

Heather Robinson said...

It is true, the unexpected. They are the hardest blows perhaps. But yes how right you are, the sun always returns in some way or another. As my Mom says, "the wheel always turns" and she is right.

Heather Robinson said...

See? That is EXACTLY what I mean, Debra!! The perfect example and one I still do EVERY SINGLE YEAR. Hello?? Isn't it awesome enough that we just made it one more year? Why does it have to be about what restaurant or which gifts. Crazy expectations...Glad I am not the only one and that you are learning--it means there is hope for me yet! :)
xo,
H
Hope DD is well too!

david terry said...

OH, I remember the day (the exact day, in fact; I was in first grade) when I came downstairs just GIDDY with the knowledge that IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY!!!!

My two brothers (7 and 1, at that time) were in the kitchen, along with my parents and my grandmotbher.

I joyfully announced to everyone "It's my BIRTHDAY!!!!! I get to have anything I want! I get to be KING FOR A DAY!!!!!"

I have no idea where I'd gotten hold of that "King for a Day!" bullshit....probably some television commercial for kids' cereal.

No one said anything. My brothers stared at me. My grandmother (who'd been the matron of a boys' orphanage for 25 years and, therefore, brooked NO nonsense from any male of the species) flatly announced " No, you don't....and no, you DON'T.....what a ridiculous thing to say...be quiet and sit down to breakfast.... NOW."

I don't think I've had such a deflating moment in all the subsequent years.

And while we're on the subject of birthdays and dashed-dreams?...

My aol email account was hacked this past year, for the first time since I opened it 14 years ago. At dinner that night (with about ten folks there, some of whom I scarcely knew) I whinily mentioned the matter, concluding with "So, NOW I have to come up with a password that no one will ever guess."

A longtime (if renownedly sharp-tongued) friend said, in front of everyone "Why don't you just use your birthdate?". I said that sounded too easy, and he, without blinking, said "No....your REAL birthday. Come on....you're a middle aged gay man; you probably haven't told anyone your REAL birth date in at least twenty years....."

And THAT, I suppose, is what "friends" are for.....

---david terry
www.davidterryart.com

helen tilston said...

Hello Heather

You are seeing Melody Gardot. I would be playing her music at a decibel level that would have the neighbours banging on the door. Have a wonderful time

Helen x

joyful17 said...

Heather...May I have your'Uncle David'? Or at the very least, borrow him?

Sara Louise said...

Oh life is certainly unpredictable! I sometimes compare my life and where I'm at in it to my friends... the result is both happy and sad, but one thing I know for sure, my life will always be full of surprises! x

Heather Robinson said...

In my family, the Queen for a Day policy is still in full effect. 1) Birthdayee can do whatever she wants within reason. 2) All persons coming into contact with Birthdayee must be as sweet and kind and lovely as possible. No fighting, bickering or obvious efforts to attract attention.

Hence...expectations=disappointment with smatterings of happiness mixed in like confetti.

Heather Robinson said...

Helen, she was phenomenal. A true artist and jazz diva with a big heart. If you EVER get a chance to see her, GO!!!!!

Heather Robinson said...

I think that we ALL need an Uncle David in our lives.

Unfortunately, there is only one, the original, the unique, the tell it like it is even if it smarts Uncle David. I am always so grateful that he found his way over here.

Heather Robinson said...

That I don't doubt for one second, Missy. Adventures too.

david terry said...

Hey Miss Heather (and, yes, in my stuffy, mothballed, old-fashioned, all-too Southern world, you're still a "Miss"...until Mister Britches follw La Contessa's suggestion and works up the nerve to pop the question...and that's ASSUMING that you might say "yes" to the proposal).....?

You should know this quotation from Annie Dillard's Pulitzer Prize winning "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek". Read the book if you haven't already done so. It's one of what I refer to as my "bibles".....and has been so for many folks since it was published in the mid-seventies:

"All my life I had been a bell, which I never knew until the moment I was lifted and struck."

Your writings/photography/blog often remind me of this talisman-saying of mine (I've loved it since I first read the book, at age sixteen....a gift from my otherwise strict (but VERY smart and VERY funny) grandmother.

You should stick that Dillard quotation in your back pocket and keep it for the seemingly dark days. I've done the same for myself for over thirty years.

And, yes...Dillard's writings and poetry remind me of Yeat's phrase "A terrible beauty is born" (the best writers/bloggers/poets do tend to remind one of the finest of the other ones, don't they?).

Amusingly enough?....Herve and I live in Hillsborough, North Carolina (all too regularly referred to as "The best little literary town in the South"). you can't throw a rock without hitting an author on any of our six, 18th century, intersecting streets.

Annie Dillard actually lived in our tiny-town for a while (I think her husband had a teaching gig at Chapel Hill). A friend of mine (who's a justly renowned, if quiet, photographer) lived next door. I asked her what it was like to live next to Annie, and she said "Oh, she's wonderful....but I would start to go out to get the mail, see her there in the yard, and wonder 'Am I UP to this?'.....".

Annie is, to say the least and not-surprisingly (if you've read a scrap of her writings or poetry), INTENSE (if, of course, wonderful...in the original sense of the word).

Meeting Annie at the mailbox would be like running into Jeremiah, Job, Linnaeus (sp?), and Melville....all encapsulated in one woman.

In any case.....do remember: "All my life I had been a bell, which I never knew until the moment I was lifted and struck".

The quotation suits you & your own work, I think.

----david terry
www.davidterryart.com



Heather Robinson said...

My dear David, I was going to write "you can't possibly understand what that means to me" but it is you writing, so you do. Or you wouldn't have sent it otherwise. While I have heard of Annie Dillard, I have never read any of her work, including that stunning (at least it stunned me) quote. My goodness. You see, when I was a theatre actress, I knew I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. Something that I was not only good at but that could have an impact, even if in the smallest of ways. So when I chose to walk away from that to make a life with Remi, it shook the world under my feet--so much so that it has taken years to stop looking around to continually check the horizon. If you think that I am getting anywhere near something...useful...with this blog, well then that is encouraging...thank you. I'll take that dose of hope and send back gratitude and friendship.
xo
H
PS. I like being called "Miss" as Lord knows nobody is still calling me "Mademoiselle"...

George Snyder said...

Dear Heather, love your writing and your music selection and the inspiring comments. I taught at the school Annie Dillard attended, you will love reading her, and yes she's intense. My other favorite is Anne Lamott, who's Annie Dillard but a little rougher and tougher around the edges.

Much as I hate to admit it, my expectations nearly always get me into trouble, mostly because they're tangled up with my attachment to so many old ideas about what I think I deserve, what I'm afraid I'm going to get anyway, what has happened in the past, old scores, old hurts, old disappointments, old decisions and old choices and old familiar heartache and resentments. It's a wonder sometimes anything new gets in at all. Such a nuisance! Now I don't even really try to get rid of the old, I just tell myself to set it aside. It's a trick. 'Yes, yes,' I say, 'how true that all is. How brave you were back then, and how heavy the burden has been ever since. Now let's just set all of it aside for the moment and make space for a new experience. Just for today.' XXXXX

Heather Robinson said...

Hello, George. And thank you sharing your trick because I think that I can put it to good use! I had really only thought about how expectations about future events can get messy for me, I hadn't begun to consider how the past can also tie reverse loops around my ankles too. But I have been trying in the past few years to not have such a fixed idea about "I was this and now I am that"--or actually Life has knocked the stuffing out of me enough to not hold on too tightly to such ideas--but of course it is all still there, rolling around lopsidedly like the fake dice from Roman times that Remi photographed the other day. Can you believe it? Those sneaky Romans, they stuck a little metal bearing on one of the inside walls of the dice to make it roll a certain way.

And yes, I have heard of Anne Lamott as well but have not read her either so I have TWO new authors to discover, always a gift. I am currently (finally) reading "Flight Behaviour" by Barbara Kingslover and am really enjoying it when I can sit in front of the fan long enough to cool my brain so that the words actually go in...

Wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead,
xo
H

david terry said...

Were you at Hollins, George?......Lee Smith lives two doors up the road fromme in Hillsborough.

I've spent half my life surrounded by smart folks (mostly women, of course) from Hollins. Did you know Richard Dillard? He's one of those men who seems to have been married to half the women I knew in my twenties and early thirties(I know....a grotesque exaggeration...but some men in Literature/Writing departments do get around, to say the least. I should add that whatever went on at Hollins is as NOTHING compared to what still goes on at Breadloaf every Summer....but I gather you're in a position to already know this).

and, yes, Annie (no one calls her "Anne",once they actually know her)Lamott is a wonder....and not scared a bit of a single thing in this world (and she has been through a LOT before becoming what she is now). She's also very-very funny, I think. When I don't know what to give someone for his/her birthday, I always give them one of Annie's books.

---david terry
www.davidterryart.com

George Snyder said...

Dear David, thanks for your note - I actually taught at The Ellis School (K-12) in Pittsburgh where Annie attended from 6th grade on; although I joined the faculty a good deal after Annie, she was one of our most famous girls and consequently well remembered by the senior staff.