Imagine you had a ripe, juicy tangerine sitting on the table in front of you. You pick it up eagerly, take a bite and begin to taste it.
You already know how a ripe, juicy tangerine should taste, and so when this one is a bit tarter than expected, you make a face, feel a sense of disappointment and swallow it, feeling cheated out of the experience you expected.
Or perhaps the tangerine tastes completely normal—nothing special at all. So, you swallow it without even pausing to appreciate its flavor, as you move on to the next unworthy bite, and the next.
In the first scenario, the tangerine let you down because it didn’t meet your expectations. In the second, it was too plain because it met your expectations to a T.
Do you see the irony here?
It’s either not good, or not good enough.
This is how many of us live our lives… unhappily.
It’s why so many of us feel let down, disappointed, and unexcited about almost everything.
Because nothing really meets our expectations.
Now, imagine you try this instead: remove your expectations of how the tangerine “should” taste. You don’t know, and you don’t expect to know, because you haven’t even tried it yet. Instead, you’re genuinely curious, impartial and open to a variety of possible flavors.
You taste it, and you truly pay attention. You notice the juiciness, the texture of the pulp, the simultaneously tangy, tart and sweet flavors swirling around on your tongue, and all the other complex sensations that arise in your awareness as you chew. You didn’t know how this tangerine would taste, but now you realize it’s different than the rest, and it’s remarkable in its own way. It’s a totally new experience—a worthwhile experience—because you’ve never tasted THIS tangerine before.
Mindfulness experts often refer to this as “beginner’s mind,” but really, it’s just the result of a mindset free of needless, stifling expectations.
The tangerine, of course, can be substituted for almost anything in your life: any event, any situation, any relationship, any person, any thought at all that enters your mind. If you approach any of these with expectations of “how it should be” or “how it has to be” in order to be good enough for you, they will almost always disappoint you in some way… or be too plain and unexciting to even remember. And you’ll just move on to the next disappointment or unworthy life experience, and the next, and the next, and so on and so forth…
Until you’ve lived the vast majority of your life stuck in an endless cycle of experiences you barely like or barely even notice.
But I have good news, there is a mentally stronger way to think and live…
Legacy got to experience her first snow and she absolutely loved it we are also doing our Advanced obedience and more in depth service dog training work.
Jett 14 years old and Arctic 1 year old
The peace of God is at the center of my being.
I am conscious of this peace.
I enter into this peace.
I am surrounded by this peace.
This peace moves out from me in all directions.
It calms the troubled waters of my experience.
It heals everything it contacts.
There is nothing but peace.
I rejoice in this peace.
I permit this peace to enter my soul,
to fill me with calm,
to inspire me with confidence.
I know that this peace goes before me
and makes perfect, plain and straight my way
I’ve seen it before. You’re out in public, something catches a dog’s interest and they bolt.
And the owner succumbs to panic.
But this isn’t ever going to happen to you.
Because this is what you’re going to do.
The Super Special Toy
This is the one they rarely get to play with and only for a few minutes.
Every few days to start with, then once a week or so.
Make a big deal out of it, put your heart into it.
Speak softly about it and with reverence.
Let them know how special it truly is.
Carry it with you whenever you go out with your dog.
Then if that happens, calmly hold up the toy and calmly say:
“Maldasha, want the duck?”