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Why We Must Let Go of Expectations

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You may have remembered from my post earlier this year that I was planning a month-long trip to Australia, Bali and Hong Kong. I’d mentioned that this trip was a long, long time coming—something I’ve wanted to do for over a decade.

For a few weeks after I booked my flights, the excitement was intense. I couldn’t wait to plan what I would do, where I would stay and have friends connect me to their friends in the cities I would be visiting. I envisioned a fabulous, relaxing trip full of fun, adventure and maybe even a little romance. However, my expectations were high, and I didn’t account for the fact that real life doesn’t take a vacation.

The thing about expectations is that they rarely lead to happiness. In fact, more often than not, our expectations deliver nothing but disappointment. {Tweet it!}

So when my back went out, I lost my credit card and I encountered let’s just say some not so nice people, I got REALLY upset. All of a sudden the “bad” overtook the good, and it became very difficult to turn it around. My attachment to the way I had expected my trip to go sent me into survival mode, and I spent a good majority of the trip simply surviving until I could make it back to the states.

Sometimes you don’t even know you’re setting absurd expectations. You may mistake them for clarity on what your want, or high standards or whatever, but honestly expectations are just a set of arbitrary guidelines you made up in your head.

I don’t think expectations are entirely bad or useless, but we have to be willing to let go of them at a moment’s notice and deal with the present moment powerfully. Most of us, myself included, aren’t always so good at that.

Despite everything that went “wrong” I don’t want you to think that the trip was a waste. I admit I slipped into that thought from time to time along the way, but each time I did something would happen—I’d meet a kind and beautiful person, I’d experience something I never had before (like surfing in Byron Bay or the hospitality of the Indonesian people or the infamous and quite hilariously random mouse on the plane incident on my first flight over to Hong Kong).

When these things would happen, they would remind me that sometimes reality can exceed your expectations. I didn’t plan for any of those awesome experiences and yet they ended up being the highlights of my trip.

Practice letting go, especially of expectations. Because when you start to master letting go, you will see there is so much to be gained.

How to Reawaken Your Inner Child

How to Reawaken Your Inner Child | Levo | Inner Child

Photo via Serendipitous Wanderings

I live in New York City and although I love my city, sometimes the hustle can get to me. You can see it in my face when it happens. I’m annoyed, insecure, distracted or all of the above trying to “make it” or just get to my next destination. 

But when I see a child smiling at me, my mood transforms. All of a sudden, I’m playing hide and seek on the street or the subway with kids I don’t even know. I’ll say, “I see you!” They’ll giggle and I’ll instantly feel a sense of love. Because when I see them, I also see myself, or at least the part of myself that possesses the qualities I love about children.

The older we get the harder it can become to remember and recognize our inner child. But it’s important for all of us who want to live a remarkable life and create amazing businesses to connect to who we were in our youth.

Here are a few reasons why.

Play is essential to making something out of nothing.

For the most part, children will play with and enjoy whatever is in front of them. Hand them a pile of blocks and they will build you a skyscraper. They’ll try it one way and if that doesn’t work they’ll try it another—without judgment or guilt. Children are masters of creation.

Fear doesn’t have to stop you.

Children attempt things regardless of fear. This is because they are focused on their goals. Children don’t spend time concentrating on what will happen if they fall off the monkey bars. They just climb. It’s only as we grow that our mentality shifts. We become more cautious. We take fewer chances. In doing so, we actually limit our potential for success.

You already know what your purpose is.

My clients often ask, how do I find my purpose and how will I know when I find it? I encounter surprise, sometimes bordering on shock, when I tell them they don’t have to look for it because it‘s already there. Last year I found a picture I drew when I was six. The drawing shows people holding hands and smiling while the sun shines above them. I had titled it, “The Whole World.” It’s clear to me now that at the tender age of six, I knew my purpose. I wanted to support people and show them that one day the whole world could be happy and connected. We all have a purpose, and I believe that purpose appeared when we were young. Our job now is simply to rediscover it.

It really is OK to cry.

Kids get upset. They cry. Then they get over it. As a woman in business, I’ve often had concerns about being too emotional, but the act of crying can help release tension and stress, stabilize feelings and connect to the underlying upsets. It doesn’t mean you should break into a temper tantrum, but it is alright to find a quiet space, connect to your heart, free yourself of restrictions and have a good cry.

Magic exists and anything actually is possible. You just have to believe.

Granted the above sounds like a commercial for Disney World—and for good reason. Remember when the world you lived in was big, miraculous and full of wonder? As children we think we can do and have anything we want. But most of us lose that confidence as we grow up. Maybe someone told us once that we couldn’t do something. We didn’t realize at the time that what that person said was not the truth. We started to make choices, live our lives and change our beliefs based on other people’s opinions. Today we can make the choice to look at our lives through a fresh lens and see that world of wonder and magic we loved as children still exists.

I wish we could all be kids forever, that we could trade coloring books, play in sandboxes and wait for the tooth fairy. In many ways, I think we can. All of those magical qualities we had in our youth are still there. Perhaps we’re just a bit out of practice.

Click here to read the original article on Levo League.

 

3 Great Gifts To Give Yourself (For Free!)

Oprah is one of my idols. She has taught me about compassion and continues to inspire me towards personal expansion and growth. I was always a fan of her “Favorite Things” episode each year and decided to share of few of my favorite things with you this holiday season. They’re all free apps that friends have shared with me this year and have helped me to keep calm, productive, and happy.

Who doesn’t like presents?! These are all gifts to give yourself, and the best part is you can start enjoying them right away. 

Happier

Gratitude is so important, and yet I still forget to practice it sometimes. Happier is basically an online gratitude journal with social media. Users can post things they are grateful for and the community can “smile” about them or comment. I like it because of the built in feedback loop, which helps me remember to post again. It’s also a great way to document your gratitude each day and check out what other people are grateful for, bucketed in nice little categories like “time with friends” or “chilling out.” And the app shoots you periodic reminders to share in case you do forget. Pretty smart. https://www.happier.com

F.lux

I struggle with sleep so I’m always on the lookout for ways to sleep better, longer, and with less anxiety. The blue light emitted from computer screens may limit the production of melatonin, which can mess up your sleep/wake cycle. F.lux adapts your computer screen to the time of day. For someone like me, who often works at night and then has problems sleeping, the app really seems to help. F.lux minimizes this and allows you to work later at night without side effects.  http://justgetflux.com

Insight Timer

Two years ago I was lucky enough to run into my friend, Emily Fletcher, who had just launched her business, Ziva Meditation. Lately I’ve been struggling to find, or may be make, the time to complete my 20 minutes of meditation in the morning and at night. One of the ladies I coach, and a fellow meditator, introduced the app to me a few days ago, and I have to say it’s been reawakening my inspiration to meditate and keeping me on track.  You can document your meditation and earn milestone points, connect to the app’s meditation community, time your meditations, and see who is meditating at the exact time as you. There are also guided meditations available. https://insighttimer.com

I hope you try these apps, and I hope they help you as much as they’ve been helping me. Wishing you the warmest of all holiday seasons.