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Releasing Expectations...Again.

Wasn’t sure how the day was going to go yesterday but instead of telling a story about it all, I just allowed the day to unfold. It was unscripted so that meant that it was free from my mind’s grip of how it should be, ought to be or needed to be. And, as always, when my future is not tied to making up for something lacking in my past or present, the future showed up just fine when it arrived.

I had a lovely, leisurely brunch with my parents. Followed by reading in the backyard and some light yard work. It was sunny, cool and just perfect. I tried the pool, but that was a little too cold for me...yet.

The kids and I took the dogs to the beach and watched them unfurl themselves with abandon to the waves, sand and sky. It was overcast and a little sad but that seemed to allow for a better time for all. The sky keeping a lid on the exuberance of sunny days. So many expectations quashed when the sun declines to shine brightly all over you. The gray days of May, contain those expectations, granting them only a dimly lit passage. Allowing the coolness of the day to keep the atoms of expectations calmer and less reactive than those days of bright sun and lots of movement.

And like the day, we moved slowly across the tides. We languished on the beach, walking arm in arm and talking about things that teens can only share by the water’s edge. Laughter was felt in each waves lapping at our feet. We walked on and on while the dog’s lapped us time again. Life was subdued, muted by the day’s grayness but felt all the same. We talked, we walked, we loved each other in conversation that had no bite, or motive. We just were there on that beach, watching the dogs show us yet again how to live life best. And we gave them our attention as a supplicant student does to one’s master. We have learned so many things from dogs. Not the least of which is how to love...

We finished up the day with pizza and cake to celebrate my friend’s birthday which coincidentally fell yesterday. A mishmash of children, ages and personalities. It is always interesting to watch each child’s reaction to being thrown together with other children. Teens provide an even larger window to their own souls. One confident, one chattering, one slightly scornful, one meek, one withholding. They were all present for the meal, but each, in their own way, staging a refusal to submit. They joined us at the table, but each did their best to keep themselves at a distance. Our worlds intersecting in appearance, but like all relationships, so much running just beneath the surface that unless invited in, is never shared. Close enough to touch, but miles away in a place unreachable without a more youthful ticket. The kind of ticket that has long since expired as a parent.

We ended the day with each child withdrawing to their rooms. Their presence accounted for, their duty done. I took a long, hot bath and allowed the pressures and stress of parenting to melt away. I tried to reach but found myself too tired to focus and too old to decipher the words without my reading glasses which I forgot to bring to the bath. A new accoutrement to my ever growing advanced age baggage...

I retired for the night, cracking the spine of a new book of poetry by Mary Oliver. I read the lines of her work, and felt them carve me out, as only good poetry can. Her words, curved and traced the outline of my body and soul until they found purchase in my skin. Finding the place that resonated back, the commune of kindred souls, whose love of the natural world and the prose to describe a pairing that could not be made better, or more whole. I just read one and let it reverberate my soul. Then I quit the lights and drifted off to sleep.

It was a good day by any account. And the best part of all, was that my release of expectations brought us all to a new place that was free from demand, restraint or duty. I lived the day as it came, free from scripted communication and forced giving. I was present in my life and that, any time it contemporaneously happens, is cause for celebration...and so we did.

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Christopher Dunne
Christopher Dunne
May 10, 2021


Thanks for sharing. As always I gained an insight into you and myself. How much my expectations have run my life, mostly to a neg place.

As we say expectations are a disappoinment waiting to happen.

I have honestly not been reading your posts, sometimes they hit home, I am still struggling with that.

The danger is for me to peak I to that rabbit hole, there is likely something or someone in there who will grab my nose and drag me into my own peculiar abyss.

I know when I do read these thoughts that I will gain a healthier view point of my situation.

Keep up the great work, it benefits not only you,but also everyone who…

May 10, 2021
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For me, it is willingness to stand at the abyss (our multiple and ongoing abysses) and really confront the demons we believe lurk there that we are set free. What we think are demons are only ego, pride and a whole host of other aspects of our own character that will control us as long as we run from them. My wish for you is that you will stand at the abyss and peer deeply within...I know (from knowing you for more than 20 year and still calling you friend) that you will only find manifestations of fear. That is all. What I have found in the fear and in facing fear is a closer relationship with God, my…

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