Sometimes the Universe serves up lessons on a silver platter, seemingly custom made for us. I got one of those this past weekend. I planned an open house for my new business in which I represent a collective of Montana artists on an etsy site. The etsy site has been slow getting going and I really wanted to get some work sold for the three artists I'm currently working with. For two weekends I worked on my house pretty much non-stop - mopping, scrubbing, sweeping, polishing, decorating. I sent e-mails, put flyers out and told everyone I could think of about the open house.
The event was planned for Sunday afternoon and as the time approached I felt so confident that it was going to be a success. I wouldn't even have called this "expectation" at the time because I entertained no thought of a less than stellar event. I did everything right - even the astrology looked good for it and it never occurred to me that the response wouldn't be excellent.
The open house began at 2:00. At 3:00 when only one person had shown up I began to get a little nervous. I ended up with only a dozen guests in three hours and a dismal amount of sales. Suddenly I was face to face with how much it hurts when expectations are not met and how it would have been good to have been prepared for a different outcome.
When I did my yoga Sunday morning, I offered the entire day to the service of my community, the artists I work with and to Spirit. But by the end of the day it was painfully apparent that I only wanted to offer it as a success. Yesterday I wrote the artists to let them know how it went. Ouch. I even rallied and decided that maybe I could salvage it by inviting all my friends and my Monday morning yoga class to lunch - I mean the house was still gorgeous, I still had food and everything was still out just waiting to be purchased. Three people came and no additional sales were made.
On a side note, it's very interesting to me who buys and who doesn't. It is the people who don't necessarily have a lot of disposable income that will usually come through. When I attend something like this, I always go prepared to spend money to support the event - even if it's only $10. It just seems like a good way to spread the wealth. If I don't want to spend money or don't have it, I usually don't go. So it was interesting to me that of the 12 people that came, the ones with the appearance of having the most money didn't spend a dime. Some of my dear friends, ones I know are struggling financially, bought a card or a candle or just some little something and I appreciate that so much. Some people don't even look at the stuff - I think they just come for the food!
This is an ongoing lesson for me. I've wanted to feel much more of a sense of community than I do from several groups I'm involved with. I like to get out and support people, to boost them up and in the process hopefully take us all to the next level with whatever we're doing - writing, yoga, business, art. But I expect it to be returned. And I keep getting slapped right in the face with that expectation over and over.
I'm also facing that this business, the way it's structured right now, won't work for me. I'm doing a tremendous amount of work and since none of the art is actually mine, I won't ever make enough to even cover my expenses. I am currently re-thinking the whole thing but am not prepared to give up on my commitment to the artists yet.
I'd like to know what ya'll think - how do you handle expectations, how do you make yourself vulnerable without fear? How do you decide that it doesn't matter who or what responds to your best efforts and trust that in the long run someone will notice? How do you truly offer yourself in service with no expectation of the results?
I'd also like to thank Claudia and Julie for coming over early and helping me out with some last minute details. If it weren't for some of my very good friends, I would be experiencing a lot more disappointment.