Hill of Expectations

They climbed the hill with a strange mix of emotions. Milo felt intrigued by what he would find, but also found himself saddened at Epic’s departure. He couldn’t help thinking that Epic should have stayed with them during this crucial part of their journey. A winding path up led them to the top of the hill. Just as they reached the crest, they caught sight of a bridge.

Upon drawing closer, they discovered statues of carved heads on either side of the entrance to the bridge. Daisy marvelled at the beauty and detail of the heads, each representing a different creature. Despite her obvious awe, Milo failed to share her wonder. He drew closer, his eyes darting about as if trying to find something.

Unexpectedly, he found words engraved above each head. The words read SHOULD and MUST.

This meant nothing to Milo. In fact, the lack of clarity irritated him. He wanted to go back.

As they descended the hill, Milo raced ahead, hoping Epic would still be there. In his rush, Milo was confronted by his thoughts and feelings. He felt undeniably angry with Epic for leaving when he did. He had regarded him as a mentor, even a kindly uncle. Epic should have stayed with him and shown him the answer. He felt let down, upset and angry for being so bothered. Daisy, however, although fond of Epic, had been looking forward to travelling alone with Milo once again. Their separation from Epic did not have the same affect on her.

Throughout the next few days Milo was withdrawn, brooding. He remained locked in his head, thinking. When he did communicate with Daisy, it was only to moan about how Epic should have stayed and should have shown him the answer or that he should be able to work out the answer himself.

Finally, after another morning had passed with the same behaviour, Daisy snapped.

“Milo you are completely in your head!” she scolded. “Should, should, should! What Epic should have said, what he should have done, what you should be able to do!”

Milo stopped and looked at her. It was a ‘eureka’ moment. Now he understood! The head carvings represented the mind; his mind.

He had expected to find an answer in his head. The answer should have been there.

He remembered so clearly the bold SHOULDs carved into the heads. Epic had presented him with the means to work the answer out for himself. He respected and admired the squirrel all the more for this. He felt a tremendous sense of gratitude. Casting his mind back, Milo realised his errors. He had thought he should have been able to climb out of the cave in the story and that he should have been better when crossing the ‘Trust’ bridge.

He realised suddenly that he did not have to hold himself to overly high expectations. He could do what works for him instead.

“That’s it!” he gasped, overcome with joy, “Do what works.”

He could instead of should. He could do one thing or he could do something else. This realisation and understanding restored Milo’s wonder and lifted him from his dark mood so that he barely noticed passing over a bridge, the Could Bridge. They enjoyed a blissful day together and Daisy, happy for this change in her companion, began to enjoy spending time with him again. Their journey began to progress calmly.

When we have expectations we think that things in our lives 'should', 'have to', 'ought to', 'need to be' a certain way.
Expectations are totally unrealistic aims and targets, we set for ourselves and others. Once we realise this, as Milo did, we can change our shoulds to coulds, which will free us and reclaim our ability to choose.