Saturday, February 25, 2012

Losing My Expectations

“We always enter into relationships with expectations of what the relationship will do for us. This is true not only in romantic relationships but also in other areas—family, work, friends, and even casual encounters. More often than not, we’re not even aware of our expectations; but when we experience a relationship difficulty or conflict, it’s likely that our expectations are not being met.”
Ezra Bayda, “Beyond Happiness, The Zen Way to True Contentment”

When I recently came across this book by Ezra Bayda, my thoughts immediately went to my relationship with Siete. I am always lamenting that I do not have the closeness and trust with my little horse that I share with her mother.

“When our expectations aren’t met, difficulties automatically arise and we may experience disappointment, anger, or fear. Unfortunately, instead of looking inward to see our own expectations, we usually focus on who we can blame or how we can fix the situation. We’ll almost always view our relationship difficulties as problems to be solved, as obstacles to overcome.”

If I think about why I don’t feel any tension with Silk, I see that it’s because I don’t want her to “be” any particular way. I have always just loved her as she is. Rather than wishing things were different, I simply deal with what is and accept that she and I can work it out to make it better for her. So, why can’t I do that with Siete? Partly, it’s because I compare her to her mother, and they are very different personalities. Silk wants to be my partner and is glad to be with me, no matter what we are doing. Siete has a vibrant spirit, a strong will, and does not give a hoot about whether she is pleasing me or meeting my expectations. So, over the years, I’ve come to assume that when I have an expectation of how I want something to go with Siete, it’s often going to end up being a challenge or even a battle of wills.

“These difficulties are our exact path to freedom, in that they push us to go deeper into our life, to work with the very things that cause us so much unhappiness, namely, our demands that life, and others, be a particular way, and the sense of entitlement we have in thinking that we need to feel a particular way.”

Over and over again, Siete offers me life lessons and little tests of my confidence and my ability to communicate without using words. Spirit to spirit.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Thoughtful post. Siete is her own personality and that's the way she's always going to be. With our horses we tend to expect them to behave one way and when we don't we are sometimes disappointed.

I know exactly how you feel. Dusty could care less about me and Blue is a close second behind her. It's a hard feeling to get used to after having such a close bond with Erik. So I'm often disappointed when I expect them to be more like he was. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed and it is what it is. Now Donnie on the other hand is a love bug much like his older brother Erik was, maybe it's a grey thing...

Anonymous said...

So interesting - I agree. My relationship with Keil Bay is much like what you describe with Silk and what A. has described with her Erik.

Salina is so different. It's interesting b/c in some very concrete ways she is far more attuned to me that Keil is - but she has her own mind about things and she will make that known to me without hesitation.

She can easily set into motion a dynamic where the two of us escalate together into a battle of wills - and the most fascinating thing is that she taught me, quite my accident on my part, that if I simply let go of my expectations, breathe, and center, she does the same thing and almost always then offers to do what I had moments earlier tried to demand of her.

Keil has his own mind, but he is so much more willing to go along with my ideas that we rarely have anything but connection - which is beautiful and part of why I love him so much. But Salina has actually taught me more about myself.

Thank you for sharing these terrific quotes!!

Lori Skoog said...

What I do know, is the strong love you have for both horses. Like us, they are all different. My friend Tina speaks the same way of her haffy, Sandman. She is disappointed that he does not want to come to her. but she loves him to death and keeps trying. I feel fortunate that the horses I've had seem to love people.
They know their names (now I am down to 2...from 6) and will usually come when I call them..bribe or not.

From what I have read, Silk and Siete have given so much to you and the quality of your life (and you back to them). Another meaningful post. Thanks.

Kate said...

Wonderful thoughts for us all. Drifter is a real people horse, always up for grooming or socializing. Pie is very standoffish most of the time - he's one of those horses who cares a lot more about other horses than about people.

I'll have to hunt out that book you mention - it sounds very good.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Another lovely post...

We're bound to be disappointed when we "expect" one individual, horse or human, to be everything for us. Logically we know this, but it's a very difficult lesson.

(I suppose I'll have to get another horse then...) ;)

Victoria Cummings said...

What's unusual about Silk and Siete is that I am the only person that Silk really likes. Granted, she was abused by people before she came into my life and I worked very hard to earn her trust and affection. But she will usually hide in her stall if anyone else is around. Siete is the one who loves people and attention. So when I read what Ezra Bayda was saying, a light bulb went on inside of me - oh, it's about me and my expectations. Siete has no expectations- she just is as she is. I'll let you know how this develops as I explore it further.

Thanks for all the great, meaningful comments!

detroit dog said...

Since I have two greyhounds and no horses, I'll offer my experience with two rescue dogs that came to me when they were 3 - 4 years old.

We had "Star" for 18 months before she even allowed us to pet her head. There were a lot of issues she had to overcome. But now, no matter what my agenda is she's on board with it.

"Quasar" is different and challenging. I always get the sense that his restlessness is because he needs a "job." He is always looking for something to "do." It's clear that he loves us, but I suspect that he wishes my husband and I would be on board with HIS agenda. Rather, he wants us to be a part of his life rather than him being a part of our life.

Siete is much younger and hasn't been through the hardships as her Mom has. Youth often has a different agenda.

Thanks for your always thoughtful posts, Victoria.

Oak in the Seed said...

There is a reason our animals come into our lives. You and Silk learned into each other over time and Siete is taking you to the next step. Oh. And so is Stella....

Máire said...

That post strikes a cord. Rosie will follow me anywhere and come to me always and of course I have no agenda with her. Ben demands a lot and often holds back and, yes, I do have an agenda. I am aware of this already but I must look into my own expectations every time I feel disappointed or annoyed with him.