Working Together

"We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again..."

Excerpt from "Working Together" © David Whyte
in The House of Belonging

Many Rivers Press

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I thought I saw Miss Havisham - Expectations

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.” ~Henry David Thoreau

It is word of the year time again and it has come to my attention through a post on Facebook that I have been remiss in giving due credit  to the person who I originally got the idea of this annual tradition from. Christine Kane years ago came up with this idea in lieu of a New Years resolution to pick one word to focus on.  I came across Christine as a singer/songwriter and I see on her website that she is still making music and has expanded her work to include helping people realize their dreams as she is now a Mentor to the Women Who Are Changing the World

"Christine’s philosophy is that you are the artist and your life is your work of art."

I have become distanced over the years from Christine's work but her idea about the word of the year stuck with me.  It appeals to me because of its simplicity. It suits my nature.  I'm happy with my one word and it serves me well, I think.  Thanks, Christine!

I have known that my word of the year for 2011 would be expectation since December.  Over and over again last year the word expect would surface as I tried to make sense of events that were becoming blindingly clear.  The farther I got into the 2010 word clarity, the further the word expectation made for the distant horizon.  I found it spent, in a puddle of exhaustion, on Winter Solstice.  So much of my perception, it seems, is entangled in what I am expecting and what is being expected of me.  Too many times I found myself mumbling and asking, "...and just what WERE you expecting?"  or "How could they possibly be expecting THAT?" When I was laid off;  when my intention was completely misunderstood; when things turned out better than I anticipated; when I realized I chose a difficult route in life; when the economy tanked; when I found myself blackballed for my choices; when I felt political disappointment; when I was emotionally extorted; when the worst happened and I felt relieved; when I realized I have everything I need to be happy and when I found myself utterly and absolutely alone in the world yet surrounded by everyone I ever needed and wanted.  Who knew that all of these events were tethered to expectations, entitlements and assumptions?

All I ever intended to expect from the world was for the promise of its turning to the sun each morning and a chance to be myself...but I'm human...and an American, too boot.  By the time the sleep is rinsed from my eyes, with a nod to the rising sun, I'm off to dance and forage and be concerned with the matters of the collective human beast everyday.  It is in these moving bits that harbor the seeds of expectation that trip me up and trip me out.  I'm challenged to figure out what I expect and find ways of understanding what is expected of me. This is my work for the year.  This is my word of the year.

Expectation [ek-spek-tey-shuhn]
the act or the state of expecting: to wait in expectation.
the act or state of looking forward or anticipating.
an expectant mental attitude: a high pitch of expectation.
something expected; a thing looked forward to.
Often, expectations. a prospect of future good or profit: to have great expectations.
the degree of probability that something will occur: There is little expectation that he will come.
the state of being expected: a large sum of money in expectation.

1530s, from M.Fr. expectation  or directly from L. expectationem (nom. expectatio "anticipation," from expectareRelated: Expectations .

Regarding Miss Havisham.

Painting by Eric Gooch.

1 comment:

Story Connection - Our Memories Bring Us Together said...

Cile, expectation is such a positive, optimistic word. I just may borrow it from you.