“Know that everything is in perfect order
whether you understand it or not.” — Valery Satterwhite
From a spiritual perspective there is no such thing as disappointment. What we call disappointment, Spirit sees as opportunities for learning. We are spiritual beings having a human experience, and disappointment feels unequivocally real. There is tremendous value in first working through our emotions, thoughts, and actions because then we are more open to moving into the profound shifts that occur on a spiritual level.
When I say “spiritual,” I am not referring to any specific religion or doctrine. I invite you to try on the belief that there is an infinite loving force you are connected to, which you may call God, Lord, Spirit, Divine, Oneness, or even Nature, and that this Higher Power loves you very much. Spirituality is about returning to the place of original innocence and connection. Simply put, it is moving out of the energy of fear and back to love.
Returning to love is a removing and remembering process — it is not something you need to learn how to do. The more we allow ourselves to be who we truly are rather than holding rigidly to who we have been expected to be, the less we have the kind of strong reactions that create disappointment. The more connected we feel to a Higher Power, the easier it becomes to release expectations and hold on to faith.
“Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.” — Marianne Williamson
The Goal Line Versus The Soul Line
At the University of Santa Monica (where I earned my master’s degree in spiritual psychology and currently serve on the faculty), we learn and teach that there are two lines of life: the goal line and the soul line. The goal line is everything that happens in our life that takes place in the external physical reality. It includes our money, jobs, actions, body, relationships, possessions, and so on. The soul line corresponds to our “spiritual curriculum,” composed of life lessons we are here to learn and the evolution of our internal awareness.
The goal line is like a horizontal line: there is not a clear final destination. We simply move forward on the goal line in a constant pursuit of more, better, or different, attempting to fulfill ourselves through external things. When things go awry on the goal line, we find ourselves with an Expectation Hangover.
There is no final destination or end game on the soul line because we are never really “there.” But there is a distinct direction we are headed on the soul line: toward Love. And not the love for or from someone or something, but the big love that is the essence of each one of us, Agape Love.
Allow me to clarify that we absolutely feel love for people and things on the goal line. Yet there is a place inside each one of us that can only be touched from within.
The soul line is where we evolve in our consciousness and embark on a journey of returning to love. What do I mean by “evolving in consciousness”? This is not just some woo-woo jargon; it is actually physics. When you release experiences, emotions, judgments, thoughts, behaviors, and old patterns that have been based in fear, you literally change the electromagnetic vibration of your body. As you let go of expectations and your attachments to them, you literally become lighter.
Disappointment Triggers Spiritual Evolution
Nothing has catapulted my spiritual evolution more than disappointment because it has shown me where I have been most invested on the goal line. Through the painful experience of feeling lost, I found my way to the soul line.
Now here is the part to get really excited about: as we resolve issues on the soul line that have triggered or reinforced Expectation Hangovers, life on the goal line becomes a lot more graceful and synchronistic. Soon you will marvel at how many opportunities flow into your life that are more in alignment with your most heartfelt dreams and desires.
Since we are spiritual beings having a human experience, we cannot live entirely on the soul line because it would be impossible to pay our bills and feed ourselves. Not to mention all the fun human things we are blessed to be able to do, like creating art, connecting with loved ones, and traveling to beautiful places. The goal line is not negative, for it is where we get to celebrate our gifts and share our love with others.
The happiest and most content people I have come across are those who, although aware the goal line is a wonderful part of the human experience, are dedicated to their journey on the soul line. In our modern world the path of the mind is separating more and more from the path of the heart. Moving our awareness to the soul line helps bring them together again.
Your Spiritual Curriculum: Life Is One Big Classroom
“I am learning that everything is for me and that Spirit knows better than I do what is best for me. Now to get my ego to move into acceptance and cooperation with that. I am aware today that this is the shortest path to freedom and really the only way of opening to and expanding into what is next for me.”
— Paula Majeski
What if life really were one big classroom where all the lessons you learned were specifically designed to help you grow on the soul line? A classroom where you were never good or bad and there was no concept of right or wrong. And where you felt loved and never alone.
Wouldn’t that be a pretty cool classroom? I’d like to go to school there, wouldn’t you? Well guess what — we are all students at this school!
Although there are some common lessons, we all have our own unique curriculum that consists of the events, people, and Expectation Hangovers that teach us what our soul is seeking to learn. All our life lessons come bearing the gift of wisdom. We miss this gift when we begin to identify with the challenge or setback as who we are.
We are far greater than we can imagine; but we doubt, and we allow the current circumstances of our Expectation Hangover to dictate our possibilities. Knowing that life is indeed like one big classroom and we are all here to learn can transform you. This is much different than the American Dream of status, power, and money. By seeing our lives this way, there are no mistakes, no failures, no victims — just gifts and opportunities for spiritual growth and connection.
“What’s happening is merely what’s happening. How you feel about it is another matter.” — Neale Donald Walsch
I understand that these concepts may be hard to swallow because your mind could make a great argument that there have been some pretty brutal things that have happened to you that felt more like punishment than a lesson. You may also object by saying there are definitely things in the world that are bad or wrong: war, disease, poverty, crime, cruelty, and injustice, to name just a few. And you are absolutely correct that there are things in this world that feel tragic, unfair, and even unbearable. The truth I am inviting you to consider is that from a spiritual perspective, there is no evaluation of or opinion about what happens.
Love is Never Wasted
At forty Edie lost her husband and found herself a single mother to her eleven-year-old son. For quite a while she walked around in a numbing fog. The adjustment to being widowed after being part of a team was intense. Then she heard “the voice of God” tell her to finish the work that her husband hadn’t been able to finish, and she became a motivational teacher and Reiki master. Here’s how Edie describes her transformation:
I would go through rounds of anger, but I knew I needed to move forward in my life and turn it into something healing for myself and others. As a result, I also became an organ-donor educator. Much of what I teach and write about is resilience and thriving in the face of major life change. I learned that love is never wasted; that everyone is on loan to us; that everyone we know and love will one day die or leave us, or we will die or leave them. All of those things are cause for celebration rather than despair, and this helps me appreciate the people in my life.
Acceptance Is The First Law Of Spirit
Most of us judge far more often than we accept. But acceptance is the first law of spirit, so if we desire to live a life based on love rather than fear, we must stop judging as much as possible.
Now, does that mean we have to like everyone and agree with everything? Does it mean we just take everything that comes our way even if we do not like it? No, no, no. We still have discernment, which is about preferences. When we discern, we are simply saying yes or no, without all the internal commentary. Judgment is charged because it entails a feeling of “against” or “for.”
To explain discernment, I like to use the analogy of going to a buffet. When you go to a buffet, you look around, put some things you want to eat on your plate, and leave the rest behind. You do not react with disgust to the things you choose not to put on your plate. You don’t think, “Look at that awful potato salad! Get that off the buffet — it shouldn’t be here!” Instead, you just pass on it. And that’s true discernment.
Freeing Yourself From Right/Wrong Thinking
We all have our own little judgers in our head who believe they are protecting and assisting us with all their opinions. But they’re not.
When you free yourself from right/wrong thinking regarding your Expectation Hangover, you move through your life lessons more quickly. If you don’t pick up the meaning of a particular lesson, you may feel stuck with it until you discover the gift or teaching it holds. Judgment keeps us in either a controlling or a victim consciousness because we see the world as happening either by us or to us rather than for us. When we approach our Expectation Hangovers from the elevated perspective that everything is really happening for us as part of our spiritual curriculum, we no longer see our disappointment as a form of punishment, misfortune, or failure.
Expectation Hangover: Overcoming Disappointment in Work, Love, and Life
by Christine Hassler.
About the Author
Christine Hassler left her job as a successful Hollywood agent to pursue a life she could be passionate about. In 2005 she wrote a guidebook for quarter-life women, 20 Something, 20 Everything, and she later wrote a book for men and women, 20 Something Manifesto. Today, as a life coach and speaker, she supports people of all ages. She leads seminars and retreats at colleges, at conferences, at corporations, and in beautiful locations around the world. To contact Christine or to learn more about her workshops, speaking events, and coaching sessions, visit www.christinehassler.com.
Watch a video with Christine: Moving Out of Fear and Into Love