As I have created before, distinctions are crucial in the practice of the philosophical arts. It is through distinctions that, well, things become distinguished, separated, and even visible. We see something newly, we gain insight, and we gain access to new realms.
So let’s rapid fire our way this coming month and a bit through some powerful distinctions. And since we’re talking about new possibilities, let’s start with:
There is a distinction, a difference, between a possibility and an expectation.
When we take on and set ourselves to something, we pretty much always have a view, a vision, for how we’d like it to go. Which is great! We have an intent, we have a vision, we have invented a (new) possibility.
The problem, though, is that very quickly it can easily shift from how we want it to go into being how it should go.* “I’m going to go in there, do that, and the result will be all those,” or, “We will visit here on these days and it will be amazing in this way,” or “I will say this to them, and they will say this back, and I’ll get that,” and so on. And if – or, more likely, when – that narrow outcome doesn’t come to pass, well…
When you have an expectation, and it isn’t met, you are left with disappointment.
But here’s the cool thing. When you have a possibility, and it isn’t met, you are left with a possibility.
In those moments of ‘not it’ we are left with our vision and intent intact. Rather than demand a limited outcome we are instead ready to dance with what comes, be like water, and flow towards our vision.
Because the doubly irony of holding tight to an expectation is that we become so fixated on it looking a certain way that we lose out not only on the flexibility to make it happen, but also on all the other opportunities for something equally grand or maybe even grander than we had imagined in the first place. Locked into an expectation, we’ve reduced the myriad of options and outcomes to only one we will call success and creating a thousand and one ways to lose.
An expectation is a possibility with a built-in disappointment. When we keep our possibilities from collapsing into expectation we remain free, peaceful, and full of possibilities that grow and grow and beget ever more possibilities.
* Which can also just as quickly become more extreme and turn into how it will go…