From where I sat on my deck, the oak tree blocked my view of the bird feeder. I knew it was there. I had filled it an hour ago, washed, dried and folded a load of laundry and was sitting outside enjoying the beautiful weather, feet up, reading a good book.
A red-bellied woodpecker, a regular visitor, flew down and perched on the oak's trunk, churring away and hopping around to his left until he was out of sight. I heard him fly over and land on the feeder and, about 15 seconds later, I watched as he flew back into my line of sight, up and over to a neighbor's ash.
I see this bird a lot. I watched him come and go several times. So, even though my view was blocked by the oak, I knew the bird was there. Imagine my surprise when I stood up to move to a sunnier spot and noticed he wasn't there at all. There were other birds -- blue jays, sparrows, a bright yellow goldfinch -- but no red-bellied woodpecker. I had not seen him fly away again, so I expected he was still there. He was not.
Experience endows us with important expectations. We expect the sun to shine, the seasons to change, our lives to last to old age. We expect our car to start and to like the same food tomorrow that we like today. In fact, we rely quite heavily on our experience and with good reason, however sometimes that experience blocks our view completely.
Aside from the necessities of daily living, I encourage you to check your expectations -- of the world, of your allies as well as opponents, of your loved ones and even of yourself. Allow for the truth that your point of view may actually be impeded by your experience.
Let go of expectations this week, and make room for other perspectives. I hope you surprise yourself.