Needs, Expectations, Preconceptions

Needs,  Expectations, Preconceptions

We often go into situations with an unconscious agenda, that may help, or hinder us.  When we meet, interact, and connect with other people, what are we carrying with us that may effect the outcome?  Like an actor excavating a character’s motivations…we too  may benefit from taking a look at what we are bringing to the table.

Having recently moved to a new local, after decades in another, I find myself in the exciting, unsettling, stimulating and unnerving position of meeting new people for work and play, in business and friendship, absorbing information, directions, feedback and attitudes, in a place where the style, mores, frame of reference, and even the food, are different then what I am used to in ways both drastic and subtle.

Resisting the temptation to howl in the wind…I tuned in, and became aware of attitudinal dangers and pitfalls.  Braving  the entwined dragons of fear and self-consciousness over and over again,

I began to get a handle on what we carry in our


and how it could be affected by our


I saw that it was easy, especially in a new and challenging situation, to come to an interaction with a sense of need, whether conscious or not…a sense of wanting reassurance, validation, support, or affirmation..or guidance, information, direction or referrals.  There is nothing wrong with having needs or wishes.  It is how we are made.   We WANT …and we NEED…

However, “wishing doesn’t make it so….”. If we come in with expectations, we are bound to be disappointed.  Having expectations of others may cast a long shadow on our interactions with them.

The answer is not to wear a mask, or hide our light under a bushel….or muffle who we are.

We just need to know that other folks are dealing with their own kettle of fish.  We  have no idea where they are coming from, what they have experienced, or what they, themselves are wanting, or needing, or even expecting from others, from the world, from us.   It  makes

who we are, we are all informed by our own past, our own family, our own hereditary. We are the products of our culture, our era, our genetics.


Even if we think we have a handle on our needs, and have let go of our expectations, we may still discover that we have preconceptions of others, that might bring us confusion, get us into trouble, or lead to let down, hurt or outrage.  We may find ourselves reacting to people based on their appearance, the sound of their voice, their profession, family background or public persona, We may find ourselves drawing conclusions we don’t even know we are drawing, and then having to erase them.

I have found that as I meet,  interact and connect with people,  it is helpful to try to be aware of the needs that I carry, the expectations I bring, and the preconceptions I observe myself having, most often based on insufficient data.  Increased awareness creates increased consciousness and self-empowerment, and thus greater self-responsibility, empathy and kindness.  When we are, as the French say, “bien dans la peau”   (“Well within our skin”- IE, Comfortable within ourselves)

We cam be  better to and for others, for the world- for ourselves.

The transformation of raindrops into rainbow…

is what I  hope to deepen and sustain….as I spread myself through this thing called Life, and attempt to span the sky.

What about YOU?

Oak-town Wonderland

Oak-town Wonderland

I  recently had occasion to traverse the San Francisco Bay east-ways,  travel over the two spans of the East Bay Bridge, and take a little foray into “Oak-town”, or our fair city across the Bay,  Oakland, Ca.
Often maligned, perhaps not enough appreciated, Oakland is a diverse, multifaceted place,  encompassing its own wonders,  not the least of which is warmer weather.

Even though I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I know it, and I APPRECIATE it, sometimes it is just good for the soul to take a foray into a different world.

Here in the Bay Area, that is very easy to do. I am fortunate in that my work takes me North, South, East, and as West as you can get without hitting water.  In fact, many of my job sites take me across water, over hills, under freeways, and around town. It’s big fun.  I especially love it when I am afforded the opportunity to get a fresh new view of a place, a site, a town, or, a lake.

Oakland's Water Jewel: Lake Merritt

I had a meeting planned at Oakland’s Kaiser Hospital, right on the shores of Lake Merritt,  with a fun associate, and a new contact, already setting the stage for an energy boost!

On this beautiful day, the water glittered, and sky scraping buildings of the City of Oakland curved away from its banks, as the lake itself, framed by its walking path, seemed to curve towards me in a gesture of welcome. “Take a moment”,  it seemed to say. “Take a breath, take a moment, enjoy the sun, the air, my water,  and the ‘Three Sisters sculpture in the park  across the way.”

"Three Sisters" hang out...

Being one of three sisters, the sculpture rang resonant, humorous, timeless, forever.  Who was who…I wondered.

Forever Three Sisters

And then…all too soon, it was time to go back.  Back to the other fair city across the Bay, traversing  the two span bridge yet again, westward this time.  Back to the other body of water I am privileged to dwell near…mother to the Bay, and great big sister to Lake Merritt, the blue Pacific.  It tends to be a little colder there!

Indians on the Beach

It was time to get back to work, back to the rest of my work for the day.  But I left, vitalized , energized, and inspired  by the warmth, community, vitality, and connection, that is Oakland.  It wasn’t just a glimpse into another world, it was a moment in time in a world that is mine, too.  A world that is there for all of us to visit, support, participate in, and enjoy.

Oh- those aren’t “real” Indians on Ocean Beach.  But that’s another story…ah, I mean, post!

Here’s wishing you discovery, happy adventures, inspiration and energy, wherever you go, and whatever you do, today, and every day. If you have an adventure or a discovery that was right around the corner, or across the Bay, please share it here. We’d love to hear about it!

Happy Trails!