Expectations ~ they can make for many a perfect, sparkling fantasy in the wide expanses of my imagination, where the anticipation of how something is going to look, feel, taste, and happen can amplify unfettered. I use the phrase “I am looking forward to….” a lot, and if I’m using it, it is in relation to some kind of longed-for, hoped-for, planned-for experience:
“I am looking forward to the day this project is finished.”
“I am looking forward to the dinner I have planned with my friends.”
“I am looking forward to the day I can teach Tilda to fold laundry.”
Such imaginings are not inherently bad, but I have learned the importance of keeping them in check. I’ve also come to realize that no matter how much I try to manage these particular ribbons of thought, they are going to find a way to unfurl without my even noticing, until the day I physically step into whatever moment I have been looking forward to and run smack into a situation that looks nothing like I thought it would. Whether I decide an actual outcome is good or bad is irrelevant; the more important point is that it is different, often times wildly so, than what I had so carefully (or perhaps unconsciously) sculpted in my mind.
The glaring exception to this occurs when I travel. In no other circumstance in my life am I better adept at releasing expectations and literally going with the flow. Because I consider travel, particularly overseas, such a wondrous adventure, I am always more open to the twists and turns that each journey is going to offer me. It is not only fun and exciting to get my passport stamped, it is also thrilling to let go of so much of the control I delude myself into thinking I have under my own roof.
Ever since I signed a contract with North Light Books for the publication of my forthcoming book ~ Desire to Inspire: Using Creative Passion to Transform the World ~ I have considered it a journey of sorts. It has been a journey of writing and collaboration, where my work has been to explore and then (hopefully) clearly express some of my most deeply-held values with the help of nineteen amazing contributors. And it is the kind of project that, if I had not been especially vigilant, could have become so weighted down by expectations that when it came time to release it to the world, it might have hit the earth with the thud instead of gently setting off like a heron.
I do not know where Desire to Inspire will go. I do not know whether or not anyone will like it and I can’t predict whether or not it will lead to more book projects. With its now mere-days-away official release date*, I feel like I am getting ready to board a proverbial airplane (or rocket ship, or magic carpet, or what have you) with the book in hand, where an unknown adventure awaits us.
Whenever I go on a trip, the officially crossing over from journey preparation to journey commencement occurs when I get through the security screening at the airport. Once I’m through the scanners with ziploc baggie re-packed and shoes back on, any and all mental or actual to do lists melt away. I have done what I can do and prepared as much as I can, and if I’ve done my work, my only task from that point forward is to enjoy myself. In just a few days, Desire to Inspire will begin shipping from the North Light warehouse, and then the journey begins. Whatever happens will happen, and I’m just along for the ride.
* The official release date from North Light is November 22nd, so it should start popping up in bookstores and on Amazon 2-3 weeks later!
Christine Mason Miller is an artist, writer, and explorer from Santa Monica, California. The official book launch for Desire to Inspire will be held there on Thursday, December 15th. Click here for details and let her know if you’d like to join in the fun!