Bad Moods and Stupid Stuff:
A few weeks ago I was in a bad mood & feeling frustrated by some stupid stuff, nothing serious, but it was getting in my way. I decided I needed some fresh air and nature so I headed to Forrest Park. The trail was crowded for a Monday morning; men, women, kids, dogs. When I saw an elderly man with a US Navy hat I remembered it was Veterans Day and thanked him for his service. This made me think about my earlier meditation and I decided to take control and get myself out of my foul mood. It sounds silly, but I said to myself…“I will NOT let petty shit, darken my heart!”. I said this over and over and before I knew it, my heart warmed up, softened, and opened wide. As I started smiling and saying good morning to people passing by, they responded in kind. All of a sudden it seemed like EVERYONE was in a good mood. Incredible how a little effort could change and uplift my whole being. Next time you’re feeling crabby you might try your own version of tough love for yourself. It’s worth the effort and the results can be very rewarding!
Wag more, bark less
Later this same day I read an article by Timber Hawkeye (@BuddhistBootCamp). He spoke to me when he said, “Whenever I get upset, it’s always because I have an expectation that isn’t met. I know expectations are planned disappointment yet I still catch myself expecting people to behave a certain way (the way I think is best), and I expect things to work, to make sense, to be smooth. The more expectations we have, the more time in our lives we spend disappointed. It’s not fun. And if someone is upset with me, it’s because they expected something of me that I didn’t deliver (often without my knowing). We then spend even more time trying to console each other and fix what wasn’t even broken in the first place. It’s exhausting! So as of today, I’m going to try something new: If I flip a light switch and the light turns on, I will celebrate the miracle of electricity. If it doesn’t, then I will either learn to navigate in the dark or figure something out, but I will not go through life feeling entitled to anything working the way I think it should, to people being kind, or even expecting my heart to beat 10 minutes from now. I will probably slip from time to time and still get upset about something, but I will not take it out on anyone anymore, I’ll just laugh at myself for expecting anything else. Wag more, bark less.”
Expectations Not Allowed Here…
Having unrealistic expectations has gotten in my way more times than I’d like to admit. I’m getting better about staying open and accepting what the universe has in store for me but, like Timber Hawkeye said, I will slip up. Birthday’s, anniversary’s and the holidays can be especially tricky and a good time to check expectations. What do you expect of others AND what do you expect of yourself? When we expect perfection of ourselves or others we’re getting set up for disappointment. Friends and/or family may be dealing with something we’re not even aware of. Offering someone loving kindness instead of misplaced expectations can go a long way toward cultivating good feelings all around. Don’t let petty shit darken your heart and try not to take things personally (one of my struggles!). If we make the effort to be kind to each other it can cure a bad mood, lower expectations and turn the light on in hearts everywhere!
A recent Chopra Center Newsletter posted a great article by Emily Holland titled “8 Simple Ways to Improve Your Mood in 5 Minutes or Less”. The article offers some easy suggestions to get out of that bad mood and back to your happy self.
One of my favorite quotes of Buddha says:
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
Till next time…
Peace & Love,