You may have now heard many times the idea that “we are spiritual beings, having a physical experience.” I don’t doubt that one bit, and have come to know this on many levels in my own personal life. As the world is awakening, many of us are going through various personal spiritual transformations, and as great as this is, there is still one part of this picture that presents a certain kind of challenge. This is the expectations of the physical world.
The truth is, that if we all learned to act out of the love, kindness and compassion that we are, I have no doubt most people would feel as if they live in heaven. However, the fact is that greed, lies and deception are still a real aspect of this physical world for many. So how does one on a spiritual path merge these two worlds?
Let me explain better what I mean. A while back I wrote an essay entitled, “The Challenges of Expectations“. As I have another case scenario for you, we can consider this the part 2 of that post, and try to see how we can really merge the spiritual aspect of ourselves with the modern physical world, when it comes to dealing with certain expectations.
Dealing With Expectations
I will indeed be the first one to tell you not to expect things outside of you, whether it deals with your happiness, security or whatever the case may be. All of these have to primarily come from within. And while this sounds great in theory, and I do practice it on a daily basis with those closest to me, like family and friends, for the most part – putting it into practice on every level is quite another thing. In reality, we do live in a world where there is a certain expectation to how things run.
You watch television on your cable and you expect there will be a bill at the end of the month. You deposit money into your account and you expect that it will be there when you need to withdraw it. You go into the hospital and you expect that you will be taken care of. These are just, but a few examples, of how we have come to expect our society to operate, there are millions of other examples that we can of course list.
Perhaps an enlightened master wouldn’t blink an eye when a societal expectation falls through, but the truth is most of us will do much more than blink, if a certain standard is not delivered the way we have come to expect it. And while I do realize that some people’s expectations are very unsound in what they expect from others, what I am talking about here is basic expectations in society that are part of a system that we have constructed.
Last time, in “The Challenges of Expectations“, I shared with you a personal story of how my expectations were not met and the choices I had to deal with the situation, in terms of how I chose to see and take it.
Well today, I have another personal example for you. I know we should not focus on things that we do not want, but I truly believe this example can not only help you from a spiritual perspective, but from a practical perspective too, in how you can avoid what I will choose to call the “unpleasant” situation I encountered.
A Story of Expectations
About a week ago, my husband and I decided to book a trip. I found a great deal on a web site for a hotel package, and I knew that I would need to find a flight separately. No problem I thought, I know several so called “reputable” online sites where I knew we could find a flight easily and for a great price.
And so before I confirmed any dates with the hotel (which could not be changed, once set), I researched over 20 dates of possible flights for the best connection, availability and prices. Indeed I found one that suited all of our criteria and followed it through just up to the point of payment to make sure that, that was indeed the price that I was going to get (because I have seen several prices change when you get to the last step). At that point I contacted the hotel to make sure they had an availability during those dates too, and when they assured me they did, I booked the hotel. I then went on to complete the flight booking online. Everything went smoothly and I was very happy and satisfied needless to say.
The next day turned all of this a little upside down. To spare you the details and not dwell on what was, basically we got a few phone calls about how that was not going to be the price and we would have to pay almost $400 per person more. Perhaps you too would be as confused a little as I was, thinking how can you book and pay for one price and than find out that in fact it is a much higher price.
So at this point what did I do? Well perhaps as I mentioned, an enlightened master would have simply said “Is that so?” and thought nothing of it, but I am not there yet. My husband perhaps, me no ;)
As I mentioned to you, there are certain expectations or rules in our society that we have come to accept and hold expectations about, otherwise I think the whole place would be mere chaos. I mean, can you imagine walking into a store paying $29.99 for a sweater, only to get your credit card statement and see that they took out $59.99. I think we can all agree, that we wouldn’t agree to such rules.
Okay, so what happened? Well I am not a loud or confrontational person, never was and never will be. I actually stayed very calm thinking this would all be taken care of properly and the price posted would be honored. This is in fact what I communicated to the sales agent.
Well, that is far from what happened. This was a Friday and all we were told is that we had half a flight, which was overcharged, the airline was refusing to refund it and we would have to wait till Monday for more information.
How would you react to this?
Monday came and we got a couple calls from a supervisor saying that that there is no way they are going to honor the price and in fact a refund would be next to impossible. The person was anything but kind and held a very hostile tone. There were no apologies. There were more complications with the two flights as it was a connecting flight, but again I will not dwell on the details. I explained with calmness, kindness and as much compassion as I could muster, that it is completely unfair to leave the consumer with a burden of now booking a separate flight themselves (when they were supposed to get a package deal), and for far more money then agreed upon. All I am thinking in my head is stay calm, I am sure they will come to their senses, see this is completely unfair, misleading and deceitful marketing and like any reputable company, would apologize and honor the price as it went through during my online booking.
Yes… well this is where the topic of dealing with expectations comes in. We have to remember and understand that no matter how hurt or upset or whatever the case may be that we feel when our expectations are not met, we are not alone in this. There are at least 2 parties involved, and they have their own expectations to meet. So those were my expectations and there are no rules saying that our expectations will ever be fulfilled.
Did this cause me an uneasy feeling within? Yes. Did I have a choice in how I was going to perceive this situation? Yes. I chose to be bothered by it. My husband, seriously barely even blinked. He said we could either be happy and accept what is, or choose to feel uneasy about what we think it should be. And while I totally agree and get that, I feel that by moving forward with this, and not just letting it go, I am standing up for more people than myself here. I feel that I should speak out against this perhaps small, but injustice nonetheless and not let the company just get away with such an act. I know there is a lot of “ego” that comes out in situations like this, but I did my best to stay conscious and aware of what I was feeling and why.
We all choose to walk this path of our physical experience in our own way. There really is no right and wrong. Many, if not most of the problems in our modern world come from miscommunication.
In this example, somewhere along the way there was a big error in communication. Unfortunately I fell into that error, and the onus was put on me to fix it. At least that is how I chose to feel about it.
This situation definitely gave me a lot to think about. On a day to day basis, I can honestly say my life is flawless in terms of not having any stresses or problems to worry about. I do not consider myself lucky, I just consider myself conscious. I am a calm person, and lead life in the most conscious way I can. I also believe that everything we have in our lives, we have attracted to ourselves. So I took some serious time to reflect as to how and why I could have attracted such a situation to myself.
Was it because there is passion within me for justice issues?
Was it perhaps because after I booked the trip for the great deal I got, I jumped up and down, saying “I can’t believe it”? (I do not for a second today undermine the power of our thoughts, words and intentions and definitely should have chosen better words.)
Was it for me to find my inner voice and practice standing up for what I believe is just? (I am not used to confronting others.)
Was it perhaps that we were not meant to be on those flights?
Was it perhaps because the Universe felt I can handle this situation and bring it to the level where the error would be fixed once and for all, so that other innocent people don’t get put into the same situation?
I don’t know for sure at this time. Maybe it was a mix of all of the above. What I do know, is that I am in no way a victim. I am an active participant in this whole situation. And just like with the last story I shared with you in the other article about expectations, the same still applies here – we have a choice at every step of the way in how we are going to act and how we are going to choose to perceive the events.
What I know for sure is that if nothing else, it taught me a great practical lesson – manage your expectations even more, whether of this society or people in general. I don’t mean to sound harsh or hopeless, but the truth is what I mentioned at the beginning still stands – rely internally on any happiness you seek. Be accountable for yourself and your own actions. No matter what the situation, we still have the choice of whether we choose to feel negative or positive about it.
Will I be doing any more online travel bookings? I am not sure. Naturally I can sweep this all under the rug and take it as an isolated case, but being spiritual, also does not mean being naive and allowing any kind of abuse. I always hold the statement in my mind “God protects those, who protect themselves.”
By Tuesday morning I did 2 things that I truly believed changed the outcome of what looked like a “grim” situation. The first thing is I brought myself to a place of peace by simply asking what would be the worst case scenario in all of this, and the truth was it was just about paying a bit more money. Yes, it is not an outcome we find pleasurable in this society but I had to look at the bigger picture, we would still be healthy and going on a trip and happy if I chose to be. So basically, I detached myself from the outcome. I allowed what is.
The second thing I did is I asked my angels to connect with the angels of the person who was in charge, handling this. I asked for them to remind them about compassion, kindness, love and simply put themselves in our shoes.
That afternoon I got a phone call from the same person as the day before, but they were not the same person. Today they were kind and gentle and delivered the news to me that they would honor the price apologizing for the situation. I have to tell you I was in awe. The supervisor even told me that on the way to her work she put herself in our shoes and realized that we really needed both these flights and it was not fair to not honor the price they were booked for. I was nothing short of speechless.
This taught me a lot…and I have so much gratitude for this situation, for this experience.
What I took away from this perhaps more than anything, is that if there is ever a situation that you feel strongly about where your expectations were not met, stand back and evaluate the situation from a deeper perspective, a bigger picture point of view. There is always a reason, always a lesson that can lead to our evolution or de-evolution. We can choose to act with love, kindness and compassion, or we can choose to let our ego rule our thoughts, words and actions, which not only will not make you feel good, but it will make any situation worse.
So the good news is that yes, all is fine with our booking and our vacation plans and I grew as a being because of this for the better. While I will be away at the start of January, I also am grateful to the wonderful guest authors who will be sharing some amazing material with you.
I appreciate any comments you would like to provide. I would love to hear how you would choose to handle this situation in a spiritual or enlightened way?
And for another example of how we can manage and deal with our expectations, check out Karl’s story from Work Happy Now – How To Deal With Goals You Don’t Reach.