Since Fall is the time of letting go and letting more good come into the space we are allowing by letting go, I’ve been noticing all the things I’ve been holding onto. And as my layers rise up in my awareness, I see more of my expectations. And it’s time to let them go. Maybe let them all go. Really give them up. Again.

Our expectations keep us from seeing what is true right now. When we overlay our expectations on what is really happening, we can’t have compassion for what is. In the last few years of my mother’s life, I kept expecting her to do what she had always done. She loved going places and dining out. So I would plan outings and expect her to enjoy them – because that’s what she liked to do. She expected that of herself. And then the event would happen and it was too much, or too tiring, or not resonating with her anymore. Neither of us could accurately assess the idea beforehand using current information. Was this the best thing to be doing or place to be going? Was it accessible? Did she really enjoy this anymore?

I couldn’t admit how much she was changing or declining, and neither could she – at least to me. So we did this awkward dance of missed connections and disappointing events. Neither of us knew how to be present to what was actually happening or how to have compassion for the changes and what that would mean.

As I get older, I now have the opportunity to have compassion for myself, for how I am changing. And if I am compassionate, I can embrace the shift, the continuing, evolving unfolding adventure of my life. In the openness and willingness of compassion, I more easily and quickly see my expectations of me, old stories that no longer fit.

If we are willing to see our expectations of ourselves and others, we have an opportunity to make a new choice. We can choose to be kinder and softer. We can be aware of what is loving and appropriate now. We can give up the overlay of old, outdated expectations. And with that soft and loving heart, we embrace who we and others are, just as we are, right now, in this precious, present moment.