When You No Longer Expect It
Updated: May 1, 2022
My husband and I were recently discussing how rewards for our work don't come when we want them. Rather, rewards are more likely to occur when we don't expect them. They come when we have been doing something just because we love to do that thing. When we learn to give up expectations and align our purpose to work that brings us joy, we transform our communities and the people around us. We are happy and fulfilled, and our happiness ripples out. The work becomes its own reward. Then, when any recognition of our work happens, it feels like kindness rather than vindication or the fruits of our labor. The unexpected recognition, in that case, doesn't change our behavior, because the work is the fulfillment and the goal.
This perspective aligns with a number of yogic philosophies. The last Yama of Patanjali's eight limbs of yoga--Aparigrapha--instructs us to practice non-greed and non-attachment. This includes not expecting rewards for our actions. As well, the last Niyama of Patanjali's eight limbs--"Isvara Pranidhana"--instructs us to offer our actions up to the divine and to humanity, rather than for any recognition. In Don Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements, we find instruction not to make assumptions, to always do our best, and not to take anything personally. If we make those agreements with ourselves, it will cease to matter whether or not our work is recognized, as we are free from the burden of expectations.
More to the point, the purpose of life is, in many ways, to have joy. Anything we construct that gets in the way of that limits us. To explain:
"There exists the possibility for joy (ānanda) in any and every experience, though some yield up that potential more easily than others. By joy (ānanda) I do not mean 'extreme happiness,' but rather a kind of deep loving acceptance of any given present-moment reality. The Heart has an innate capacity to grant a deep affirmation of whatever is going on in this moment, to envelope the whole of each experience in loving awareness (even experiences that the mind might dislike). When the heart exercises that capacity, it is called ānanda. This granting of the heart's consent to what is might be the most beautiful and profound thing we are capable of as conscious beings.” - Tantra Illuminated by Christopher Wallis
What this all means is that we are meant to live our lives in such a way that living itself becomes its own reward. Yes, it is possible. Yes, it is worth it.
Many cool things are happening!
April giveaway! Each time you attend yoga at Força, enter your name to win this yoga mat bag! Drawing will be on Thursday, April 28.
May 7, 6:30am-10:00am: Digital Yoga Concert at Força. Senior Inside Flow teachers will lead three different flows live from Japan, South Korea, and Germany. A new class starts at the top of each hour. Join us for the beginning, the middle, or for the whole thing!
New Yoga Class at Sole2Soul. I will be teaching an Inside Flow yoga class at Sole2Soul in Russellville on Sundays at 3:00pm, beginning May 1. This will be a room-temperature class. ATU students can attend for free.
Upcoming Music Monday hot yoga classes (Mondays at 6:30pm at Força)
4/25 The Beatles' White Album (with video projections!)
5/2 Missy Elliott
5/9 Hall & Oates
Follow me on TikTok! Want to see what I'm doing with Inside Flow? Check out it out here.
Full teaching schedule below! (Note the new time for Mysore Practice, beginning May 1!)