A few months ago, I was doing a chakra meditation, and when I got to my solar plexus, I saw a vision of a basketball hoop. I was trying to get the ball into the hoop, and in the vision I could feel my frustration mounting as I missed more shots than I made.

The message that came through gave me a clearer perspective on expectations and how clinging to them can narrow our experience of the world and limit our joy.

Think about your expectations as the basketball hoop. When you attach to what you expect will happen, you set up a scenario in which you are only satisfied if you get the ball through the hoop.

And when you compare the diameter of the hoop to the entire universe–well, this is a clear illustration of how significantly expectations narrow our experience. We’re no longer open to the universe of possibilities that truly exist; we’re only satisfied if we get the ball into that tiny hoop. (I originally captured this idea using a dictation app, and it translated one of the phrases above to “diameter of the poop.” 😉 )

Not only does this narrow our experience of what is possible, it sets us up for a higher probability of failure. If we’re only “winning” when we get the ball in the hoop, we’re destined to lose far more than we win because, again, the hoop is so incredibly tiny compared to the true range of possibilities.

Here’s the other thing: If we do this long enough, we start to think that this game we’ve set up in our own minds, i.e. the game where we have to get the ball into the hoop, is the way things really are. And for me, this cropped up in my life as anger and feelings of victimization when the universe didn’t play according to my rules. I had forgotten that this was my game to begin with and that the universe wasn’t bound by my made-up rules.

I’ve written about my inner work with money issues quite a bit, and there’s a connection to this, too. One of the rules of my game was that if you were a “good” person–if you got the ball into the hoop–you would be rewarded with financial success, and I experienced a great deal of anger and frustration when I saw people who I judged as being less good enjoying a great deal of financial prosperity.

I had forgotten that the rules were a figment of my imagination, and in that forgetting, I felt betrayed by the universe.

In the world of my made-up game, you had to work really hard to make a basket, because if you didn’t, you failed. It was black and white, and there was little room for seeing “mistakes” as opportunities or valuable lessons. They were merely reasons to self-flagellate and stockpile shame.

In this game, the odds were stacked against me, and it was easy to slip into victimhood and become paralyzed by perfectionism.

Let’s change the game.

I’m finding more and more that when I create frameworks fueled by a desire to control the world around me, things get shitty.

But when I consciously choose to trust the voice of love, rather than listen to the controlling voice of fear, the basketball hoop fades…and my world expands into possibility.

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