We have often come to fear the unknown. We find comfort in what we know and being in control of outcomes. Letting go of our expectations and fear of uncertainty can seem impossible. We all have expectations. We grew up knowing our parents and other people in our lives had expectations. We were expected to perform and be successful. And when their expectations were unmet, it oftentimes left a negative impact on them and especially on us.
When working on anything, I usually have an end goal in mind, an expected outcome, and continue to work on it until successfully completed. When I started working with clay, however, none of my work ever turned out as I had envisioned. When I got into wheel throwing, there were so many variables from the type of clay used to its dryness or wetness to the amount used, the speed of the wheel and so many more factors; even with the glazing process, the final color is never nowhere near the initial color. The pieces, while firing in the kiln, become red hot, physically and chemically transforming, resulting in very unique pieces that don't resemble their previous appearance. During this process, I get to practice letting go of expectations, waiting for their final appearance to emerge. Surrendering to the process. Finding the beauty. If I held tight to expectations of how I want the pieces to turn out, it would definitely result in quite a bit of stress, anxiety and perhaps even some disappointment if the outcome was different than what I'd set my heart on. Being attached to those expectations have no upside. When working on clay, I let go of all of my expectations. And what's left is CURIOSITY! I now say to myself, "I wonder what will be in the kiln when I open it!" Suddenly the worry is gone, replaced by excitement and celebration. Opening the kiln becomes like seeing what's under the tree on Christmas morning. Of course there are still many failures but these are overshadowed by many discoveries.
We can apply curiosity to almost anything that usually gives us anxiety - transforming that worry into wonder.
This is what we ask of every ROA parent...let go of expectations. What you think your child should be working on, how fast they should be learning, how they should be doing things, who they should become etc... It takes time but throughout their learning journey with a mixture of failures and successes, they will overcome struggles in their own time and on their own terms. Just like the clay pieces going through a kiln where they are subjected through numerous obstacles, moving away from the need of control, creating space where they can grow and thrive in their own right. Seeing the beauty of the person unfolding right in front of our eyes with limitless possibilities.