There have been moments in the last few days of extreme lows like nothing I have experienced in a long while, but there has also been some very joyful moments, and some moments of great clarity. I had one of the clarity moments earlier. I was teaching yoga and my focus for the class was on an aspect of ahimsa (a yama or "yogic principle"). The aspect I was focusing on is one interpretation I have heard where ahimsa means, "freedom from." Usually we talk about ahimsa in terms of non-harming or non-violence, in this case, the "freedom from: might be freedom from violence towards oneself or others in deed or action. If I have somehow misunderstood or misquoted, may the yoga experts forgive me. I try to relate what I teach to things that have meaning in my life at any given time. Anyway, I digress... So in class I was talking about "freedom from," suggesting that students insert their own word into this phrase to fit their needs, and I kept thinking, "freedom from fear." Fear often impinges on my world and mars my present, so I always want freedom from this fear. To make a long story short, when my students were in svasana (a final, sedate, supine pose) I was thinking about the idea of freedom from, and I realized it was not so much freedom from fear that I sought, it was freedom from expectation. So much of what brings me down is expectation. It is my perceived idea of what others expect. It is my expectation of myself (also often based on what I think others expect). It is my default expectation that things will not work out the way I want them to, or that I will somehow "fail." In short it is negative thinking based on expectations (many of which are also negative). I have a huge self-expectation that everything I do must be done well, that everything I create or do must be done with some kind of final, or grand outcome. Sometimes the joy of doing the things I enjoy (even blogging) gets lost in my expectations about the final product. Exhausting. The other day I drew a sketch just to practice. I didn't think I needed to create some final, near perfect thing. I loved the process. As I realized all these things about my own expectations, I also realized that is what I really want freedom from. It is such a cliche to say, "It is what it is" but truly, It is! I want, "Freedom from expectations."