When Your Expectations Hurt You

by Mike Sententia on May 2, 2011

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Beltane was great. 48 hours in the woods with pagans and mages, doing energy healing and talking about magick.

But it also left me sad. Which I wasn’t expecting.

So I write a (terrible) post to figured out why. Then I wrote this (non-terrible, I hope) post about what to do when your expectations hurt you

Unhealthy expectations — the kind that don’t map to reality, the kind that lead to disappointment — also lead you to express yourself badly. Which make you generally less effective at everything you want to do.

I don’t have a simple recipe. But I can show you how I fixed one unhealthy expectation today, and how it helped me see a better way to build friendships and build a community.

Find Unhealthy Expectations

Unconsciously, I’d expected lots of people to be interested in direct magick. Not for any rational reason, but because I’d unconsciously assumed other people were like me.

I realized that, even among people who practice magick regularly, direct magick isn’t right for most folks.

Well, that’s an oversimplification. First I was confused, then I wrote a lot, then I realized that direct magick isn’t right for most people.

Direct magick is for someone who:

  • Wants to be the best in the world at magick, in a technical, “change reality to this” sort of way.
  • Values accuracy above all else in their beliefs.
  • Demands a systemic explanation of why magick works — explaining all the pieces, unifying all styles of magick — and will put in the time to develop the technical skills to grasp it.

Yeah, I know those all make direct magick sound good, and make other mages sound a bit like philistines. Mea culpa. It’s more balanced than the list I had yesterday.

Most people aren’t going to be into direct magick, just as most people aren’t into calculus, medical research or quantum physics (the real science, not the new-age habit of calling everything “quantum energy” so it sounds sciencey).

If I expect other people to be into it, that’s my problem, not theirs. And realizing that let my mind update its expectations.

Focus On Their Interests

That got me halfway to feeling well again. The other half was figuring out how to connect to people anyway.

Short answer: Give them just enough of direct magick to help them solve a problem, without requiring them to learn the rest.

The first night, I met V. She had recently had spirits connecting to her, draining her energy. So I walked her through removing a connection:

  1. Steady your energy, so you can see anything unusual more easily.
  2. Look for changes in your energy, and anything in an unusual signature. Those are connections.
  3. Visualize grabbing and cutting the connection. (Each of those is a simple step that your unconscious should already know how to do).
  4. For any connections that resist that simple cut, visualize making several connections into the spirit’s connection, then use them to cut or break the connection. (You’re telling your unconscious how to do a more intense cut).
  5. Visualize removing the left-over parts of the connections that are still inside you. (Now that the spirit isn’t supporting the connection, they’ll come out easily).
  6. Do an energy meditation to re-balance your energy signature. (Spirits usually drain energy in their signature. Losing a bunch of energy in one signature will shift the signature of the remaining energy, like removing all the green paint from a painting will make it look weird).

On each step, I explained why I do it that way — the parts of direct magick that are relevant to solving her problem. She was interested in a way I doubt she would be if I talked about systems, mental muscles, and the other parts of direct magick that I normally work with.

That’s going to be my model for connecting with people on direct magick: Instead of talking about the theory or skills I’m working on, use it to help them solve some problem, and along the way, explain why each step works the way it does.

I’m hopeful that this will be much more effective. Yeah, that’s an expectation too, but I think it’s a more accurate one.

So, what are you trying to solve that I can write a post about?

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

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