Great Expectations

“Great Expectations”

From the book The Art of Being: 101 Ways To Practice Purpose in Your Life

Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations. –Earl Nightingale

Once upon a time, a traveler from a far and distant town approached a wise man who was just leaving the city into which the traveler was entering. The traveler stopped the wise man and said, “Can you tell me about the city from when you have just come? What is the quality and character of the citizens here?” The wise man replied, “Frist, stranger, tell me: What were the people like in the last town you visited?” The traveler replied, “Oh they were a cold bunch of people with no kind words for anyone. It was not a happy town; they were very judgmental, and the people were mean-spirited and unwelcoming. I couldn’t get out of that town fast enough.” The wise man paused and then replied, “Ahhh…I believe you will discover that the citizens of this town are exactly the same.” A short distance farther down the road, the wise man encountered another distant traveler entering the city. And likewise, the traveler asked the same question of the wise man, saying, “What is the quality and character of the citizens of this city sir?” Again, the wise man replied, “First, stranger, tell me: What were the people like in the last town you visited?” The traveler replied, “Oh, they were an amazing group of people! They were outgoing and friendly and welcomed me with open arms. They were unconditionally loving, and I felt like each one was my brother or sister…Oh I miss them greatly.” The wise man paused and then replied, “Ahhh…I believe you will discover that the citizens of this town are exactly the same.”

I am uncertain of the origin of this story, but it makes the point very well, doesn’t it? Life tends to respond to our outlook. It shapes itself to meet our expectations, which are birthed in our consciousness. In the words of author Jon Kabat-Zinn: “Wherever you go, there you are.” In other words, where you go on the journey called life, you project your attitude and expectations ahead of you, and life can only be a divine reflector of your consciousness, drawing to you the people, events, and circumstances that reflect what you expect to find when you get there. You might keep this in mind the next time you go to that party or business meeting with people you may feel less than loving toward, or the next time you speak with that ex-spouse, or the next time you go into any other environment where, up until now, you may generally have expected the worst from people rather than the best. The secret of the ages is to learn to have great expectations with very low attachment to the outcome. If you can achieve this, you will discover that true inner peace means.
What I have discovered is that what I expect from other is what I get. People generally live up to or down to the level that I expect. Why? Because the energy that I radiate (broadcast) can draw to me only more of the same, that’s why. On a very practical level, give some thought to this principle before you take off on a vacation, before you walk into the post office or the grocery store, and most certainly, before you enter your home. What will you expect your experience to be? Because any wise man (or woman) knows, you will find that people there to be exactly as you expect them to be. What will you expect of others? Start with yourself: What is the character and quality of the person who lives in your skin? Ahhh…as within, so without, yes?

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I’m inspired to share this story with you because with regular mindfulness practice we learn to self-reflect with a mind of self-compassion and acceptance- not judging ourselves for the patterns that we observe but meeting these patterns with kindness and openness. We can’t change what we are not aware of, but in the process of awareness we can be kind to ourselves. Learning to be kind to yourself translates to being more kind to others. We can not give to others what we do not give to ourselves.

I also I have some great news to share…I’m starting the journey to become a certified mindfulness meditation teacher! This is a opportunity that I have been reflecting, praying and meditating on for a while so happy to starting this summer!

Sending you all lots of good vibes and never give up on a dream that is put in your heart!

-Dr. G

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Published by

Dr. Gloria Petruzzelli

Dr. Petruzzelli is sport and performance psychologist and mindfulness meditation teacher located in Sacramento, California and works with elite sport teams and athletes across the country. She is competitive athlete herself and enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her family and traveling.