Expectations. Even the word carries a heaviness for me.
In fact, it makes me want to hum that Star Wars theme song in my head. You know the one I mean? Darth Vadar.
Imagine this playing in the background and the volume gets louder and louder… enough to push one into a nervous state of panic. Doom. All of the above.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are necessary and good kinds of expectations (the non-gloomy kind). Benchmarks so to speak. Sometimes they are goals to strive for. Sometimes, limits on what you’re prepared to stand for or standards per se.
But there’s just something about the word: EXPECTATIONS.
And no I’m not yelling.
I could write it as expectations and still it carries a “feeling”.
Let’s break it down. For me, I know a lot has and always will be semi self-inflicted. As I ponder and am curious (setting aside what is already known), I notice a faint sensation of a tight ache that builds.
To explore this further, multimodal play is always encouraged!
In Arts Therapy style: using a few loose strings of wool, I start winding these up tighter and tighter.
Embodying: it’s the point from where the bind tightens (neck down). Descriptive words emerge for me, like screwed up, tied, bound and tight. Simply by looking at this process and feeling in to the slow twist on twist of increasing resistance against – I am starting to form an essence of what I think I know expectations to be like for me.
Expectations at play: How do they show up for you? Can you collect some found objects from around the home or a few crafty materials to re-create this sensation for yourself? Magazine images are great too. Remembering this doesn't have to look ‘creative’ or ‘artsy’. It’s simply about using modality in your inquiry process to capture a “close enough version” of that felt sense or image (or even song).
Out of the blue. What happens when I do fall short? Fish out of water, running out of breath.
Personally, it’s an expectation that I need to achieve in all lanes of the pool. This image of standing on a podium readying myself to dive in, I notice it’s just me up there. A desire to place, in a race I’ve designed and set up only for myself.
Over the past two months, Papernook Arts Therapy & Wellness has become busier than ever. As Arts Therapist come business owner, this phase of growth has been both wonderful and overwhelming. Booking's are filling up, I’ve had workshops to run and exciting new contracts and projects to plan. And they’re all the parts of the job I love! The background to-do lists and relentless book keeping not so much.
It has churned my brain late at night, right next to: “I need to do better”. The expectation word has crept in regularly and loudly. Even my own need for self-care waving vigorously at times. It’s been a conscious battle of keeping up with appearances, including the social media front. I’ve wondered about how to invest the little energy and time left over into the more important things.
So what next? Where does it all come from? These expectations. We can be curious and ask ourselves the origins of why we are the way we are.. what makes us tick.. how our thoughts came to form? Is it a timing thing?
Awareness helps, certainly.
But for now, let’s give permission to create space for our expectations to co-exist. Maybe even consider if we could become mates in time. On occasion, I’ll give something a personality or imaginary name, just so that I can sit with it differently and acknowledge it’s a part of – and still separate.
Be kind and go gently.
Words by Jasmine