One of my children used to love to be tickled, surprised, pounced upon, – still does. Back in the toddler days, it would be a repeated request. “Tickle me! Get me!” Eventually, the tickling and surprising doesn’t work and Daddy gets tired. “I’ll surprise you when you least expect it,” I would promise.
The reply would come back: “I least expect it! I least expect it!”
I know that behavior so well. I do it all the time. Often, there’s some hoped-for outcome I have pinned my whole emotional state upon. Maybe it’s a work thing, maybe it’s my personal life. Maybe it’s money. I know deep down, from bitter experience, that the only way many such things come to fruition is for me to let go entirely of the outcome. Don’t try so hard, loosen up. But it’s impossible to will yourself into that state.
So I push myself to let go. I fool myself: Yes, now I really have given up on the outcome, so surely this thing must happen.
It’s only after time has passed that the hoped for state of equanimity comes around. Eventually, I notice with a start that I actually don’t care about the outcome. And just thinking about my big plan doesn’t set into motion a new round of pining. It just stays neutral.
When that state comes around, the state of perfect readiness, I have found that things really start to take off. The things I used to want so badly but couldn’t have begin to come true. New things I had not dreamed about come into my life.
It only happens when I truly, really, least expect it.
And that just can’t be forced.