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Great Expectations

“You might not need eyes to see!” Last week’s episode of This American Life, entitled “Batman,” is about how expectations affect the way people live their lives. It focuses on the story of Daniel Kish, who is blind, but can navigate the world around him by clicking with his tongue, or “echolocation,” like bats do. He has, by all accounts, exceeded expectations society has of blind people, and he attributes this to the fact that his mother never set low or limited expectations for him, so he never set them for himself. Are expectations good or bad? There are lots of reasons given for not having expectations, or for not having high expectations to avoid disappointment, stress and increase happiness. Expectations can get in the way of great life experiences if we are constantly trying to “live up to” other’s expectations of us. But there is a difference between living UP to expectations and living DOWN to expectations. If we never set a high expectation, or if we are constantly reminded of low expectations others have for us, it is impossible to grow. Our culture seems to prefer HOPE over EXPECTATION. What is the difference between Expectation and Hope? “Expectation influences our behavior and attitudes. It affects how…

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Asking for Help

The sermon at church yesterday focused on the 3 Wise Men … and how even they had to ask for directions when they lost track of the North Star (insert joke about the husband not stopping to ask for directions here). Surely, if Wise Men can ask for help, we can too. Why is asking for help a hard thing to do? It may be a blow to our ego, or embarrassing to admit we don’t know everything. We may not want to impose on someone, or feel indebted to them, needing to return a favor. We may not realize we need help, or think we can solve our problem alone. Our culture promotes self-reliance. While we joke that men don’t ask for directions, women are known to avoid asking for help when they need it. Life coach M. Nora Klaver, author of Mayday! Asking for Help in Times of Need writes, “Being on the receiving end of a helping hand seems harder for women because we’re raised to be caregivers … Asking for care ourselves feels like a personal failure.” And yet, a series of studies show that people tend to underestimate how likely others are to help them in a time of…

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Jumping In

The ball just dropped in Times Square. There’s no time like the present to jump in and begin a new challenge. How many times have you put something off because you are not “ready?” I recall mornings when I rose early to swim in the open water, training for a triathlon. I was never a strong swimmer. The water was cold and I kept imagining bumping into slimy fish or drowning out where no one would find me. I would stand at the edge of the dock for several minutes, tempting myself to turn around and go back inside. It took a lot of courage to finally jump in. So here I go – jumping into an experience, though I don’t feel quite ready. After reading this post yesterday, I confirmed that I need to have faith in my ability to “learn as I go.” The discomfort of starting something new is balanced by Oliver’s observation that “if you’re worried you don’t measure up, that could well be a sign that you do.” This space will be a place for reflections, lessons, and stories that revolve around life as I want to live it: with tender loving care. Perhaps having this goal will inspire…

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