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The Attachment Zoo: Are You Caging Yourself In Expectation?


Picture this…

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning- an absolutely lovely day to go to the zoo! Sounds fun, right? Or does it…

A fun day out with two toddlers always runs the risk of becoming a complete disaster. You could be chilling with the orangutans then and suddenly one kid has a diaper blowout while the second one trips, scrapes his knees and declares that he now will never walk again (true story). Carsickness, temper tantrums, crankiness, the list of potential disasters are endless.

On the other hand, it could also turn out to be a perfect day - everyone well behaved (including the husband), snagging awesome seats for the seal show and getting home before anyone has a chance to fall asleep in the car. Score!

In mental preparation for such a day, you have three choices:

A) Ridiculously high expectations: This will be the BEST DAY EVER. 

B) Absurdly low expectations: This will be the WORST DAY EVER. 

C) Non-attachment to outcomes: This will be a day.

Yoga teaches us non-attachment or aparigraha (in sanskrit). Aparigraha is an important principle that we integrate into our yoga practice which also greatly benefits our lives off the mat. For example, in yoga we try not to get too attached to achieving specific asanas or poses. Obsessing over the perfect handstand does not lead to inner peace (believe me I’ve tried). 

Back to the zoo story: The problem with choosing A or B is that we are unconsciously setting ourselves up for defeat. But, Kat, aren’t yogis the eternal optimists? Isn’t "option A" the yogi’s choice?

If you’re an "option A" person with super high expectations, often times you’ll end up disappointed. Setting unrealistic expectations isn’t healthy - typically things don’t go exactly as planned (especially when children are involved!) and women especially feel like failures themselves if their plans fail. Accepting that sometimes, things go wrong and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it will set you free from perfectionism, which will open up a ton of space in your heart and mind for gratitude and compassion and all that good stuff. 

"Option B" people, on the other hand, believe that they’re setting low expectations so that they can be pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t turn out to be the worst day ever. But in reality, they’re unknowingly bringing negative energy into the situation and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. The day ends up sucking because subconsciously they only see the negative and miss out on the simple things that make life beautiful - like a cool breeze on a particularly stiflingly hot day or finding a decent parking spot.

Going to the zoo with zero expectations - what could be more freeing than that? If something goes right, cheer. If something goes wrong, laugh and move on. You’re at the zoo and it’s a day. Have that day. Appreciate every moment of it without attachment, and see how your life changes. 

So who’s up for a trip to the zoo? Make sure you pack sunscreen, bug spray, water bottles, and 7,000 snacks - but leave your expectations at home.

Ready to bring some non-attachment into your life? A good place to start would be a Forrest Yoga class. Email to book in a class or private session. How are you handling life's unexpected bumps? What strategies or practices do you have in place to "let go"? Leave your thoughts in the comments section. We always love hearing from you! 


© Tangram Fitness 2013