Quote: Nothing in nature lives for itself. Rivers don’t drink their own water. Trees don’t eat their own fruit. Sun doesn’t give heat for itself. Flowers don’t spread fragrances for themselves…..Living for others is the rule of nature.
My birthday falls on May Day bank holiday, so I’ve always had an “it’s MY birthday week” kind of mentality. From lunches with family, girlie nights out, special treats (usually spa or theatre) and craving the highest and sickliest level of romance you can imagine. In fact one year, my best friend advised my new boyfriend “whatever you do, don’t forget her birthday!” Looking back, I did have an unspoken highly demanding expectation.
That only really changed towards the end of last year, when I heard an internationally renowned self-development author and speaker Dr Wayne Dyer share his story of how he chose to spend his 72nd birthday. Dr Dyer went down to Union Square, San Francisco and gave money to the poor, the homeless, the needy giving away anything from $5-$50. He passionately shared about his sense of fulfilment through his random acts of giving.
So I promised myself, my next birthday would be different. I wanted to do something that would involve giving of me too; perhaps volunteering but certainly being involved in something that was not “all about me”.
It is so true that ‘what you focus on you attract into your life’.
Whilst in a transitional stage of relocating, it wasn’t easy finding out where or how I could volunteer; I didn’t have the safety net of local friends or contacts to fall on. However as my birthday drew closer, I kept in my mind my desire to give and sporadically brought it up in conversations. Through somewhat flippant suggestions and a little bit of help from ‘Google’, I managed to volunteer my time with a singing workshop for Alzheimer’s patients. Not only is this an area of passion for me – with a background in singing (live band, studio, gigging and theatre), it was also a 2 mins walk from where I’d been staying and a potentially regular weekly slot. It was perfect. I had desired something, it happened.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still very much a lady who appreciated every “Happy Birthday” greeting, card or gift, the family and friends (some at great effort) who came and spent my birthday with me, I particularly loved hearing from my F.L.L.I.T.W.W.W (favourite little lady in the whole wide world). However, what was incredibly special this year was as well as giving of myself to others, I exchanged my expectation to expectancy.
I was reminded of this life lesson, discovered through an insightful, beautiful analogy in the book The Shack – ‘there is major difference between expectation and expectancy’.
Expectation: a sub-conscious demand on what should happen tarnished with a sense of “it’s my right/what I deserve” attitude.
Expectancy: an open, heightened sense of anticipation and excitement to what may happen.
I changed the way I looked at things and things around me changed. My birthday was a wonderful day of giving, appreciation of friendship and family, reflection and a real sense of calm. Funnily enough, the thing I most wanted on my birthday, I received, for which I’m very grateful.
So I ask you – what situation in your life could you look at differently? What areas can you choose awe over indifference, gratitude instead of grumbling or expectancy rather than expectation. Imagine the difference, to yourself and others these mind-set changes could make. Asking yourself “what else could this mean?” could shift the focus from “what’s wrong” to “what’s possible”.
Do the things that make you sparkle!