Sunday, November 8, 2009

High Expectations

Since entering the monastery in 2001, I've gone through an 8 year conversion process. I told a retreat director once that I'd like to reach a plateau, just a leveling off or break from all this growing and changing. It just proves how much growing and changing is needed.

A plateau and a break would be nice, but I know I'm in need of lots more change. One thing I would like to change is the level of expectation I put on myself. At times, it's brutal. Sometimes I perceive it as coming from others. Often it's my own doing.

I remember one summer helping my grandpa on his farm. Since I was 20, and he was 80, logic told me that I should work 4 times as hard. If you knew my grandpa, even being able to match the work he did at 80 would have been an accomplishment. Quadrupling it would have been impossible. He was a hard worker and also very wise. Surprisingly, he would say to me, "Take a break. Get a drink. Rest a bit." He knew how to work, but also how to rest and take care of himself. A good balance for success.

Somewhere when I was growing up, I got the idea that I was supposed to know everything right away. I've just about driven myself crazy with this belief. Somehow I was to jump from beginner to proficient without all the steps in between.

For example, I remember wanting to take piano lessons when I was 7. However, I didn't start taking lessons until I was 24. Therefore, my reasoning told me I had 17 years to make up. Of course, there was no time to waste. I had to do it overnight. Do you know how exhausting it is to think like that?

In the situation with my grandpa and with the piano, my expectations of myself were unreasonable and impossible. We are very blessed at the monastery with wise mentors who see things more reasonably. When I look at what I think I "should" be, they help me see logically what truly is. I know I can't jump to the final step after taking only the first one. With practice, hard work, and perseverance, I can reach the final step, but only by taking the other ones in between as well.

I have definitely grown a great deal since entering the monastery, and I know I still have lots to learn. Thankfully there are many wise women here who teach me. . . . . . . It looks like it may be a while before I reach a plateau in my personal journey.

1 comment:

  1. i really enjoyed this. i think it is very true in everyday life. thank you