Most of us want to trust the universe. And most of us do, until the universe delivers us something we didn’t ask for.

Like saying “I love you” but it’s not reciprocated. Like finding the perfect new home, but someone beats you to the deposit. Like breaking your arm before vacation, so you wrap your cast in a giant Ziploc bag and scoot around the pool’s perimeter because you are 8-years-old and, by gosh, you want to swim.

Our trust that everything is going to be okay is firmly rooted in choice. Even when the universe delivers us exactly what we’ve asked for, though not in the way we anticipated, it’s still possible to find fault.

Growing up, I was a pessimist disguised in the phrase “realist.” For no reason, I often chose to see all the reasons why something wouldn’t work out. That sort of thinking landed me deep in depression, twice.

Maybe you call yourself a realist because you don’t want to be let down. Maybe you think it just makes good sense to manage your expectations. After all, when things don’t turn out the way you wanted, at least you won’t feel that bad about it.

Spoiler: It’s going to suck, regardless.

What to expect when you’re ‘expecting’

It’s not hard to make up our minds about the small stuff. Lemon kale soup for lunch, tempeh quesadillas for dinner. Yoga for a midday snack.

When it comes to making decisions about where to live, who to love and whether or not to try Handstand in the middle of the room—all of these come with expectations and self-imposed limits.

I’ll try Handstand if I have someone to spot me is a good limit. I’ll only consider homes if they’re within this 1-mile radius will probably keep you house hunting for a while.

When you put limits on what you expect from life, how can you expect that your expectations will be exceeded? 

The answer is: You can’t. You can only expect more of the same.

My hunch is you don’t want more of the same. I sure don’t. I want a life filled with an abundance of freedom, not restricted by tight hip flexors or a inflexible mind. I want the deep truth of knowing that when the darkness comes, it will always be followed by daylight.

And I want you to know that it is never too late to shift your expectations.

How to trust the universe

If you don’t know where to start, but you’d like to trust that the universe is for you (not against you) it’s time to be bold. It’s time to set your mind’s new default on surplus and not deficit. It’s time to tell yourself this, over and over:

Everything is going to work out in the best way for all involved.

This phrase involves a tremendous amount of surrender and trust. Surrendering control of the situation and trusting that by doing so you’ll come out on top.

To implement this on a daily basis, “think a lot about what you want, and think only sparingly about what you don’t want,” says David Cain of Raptitude who adopted this very idea and changed his life, just as I did.

Why not believe that everything is going to work out? Our monkey minds bully us into believing that we won’t get what we want. Except we will. We absolutely will get what we want if we believe that we will.

There’s no reason to think otherwise.

To quote The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: “Everything will be alright in the end. And if it’s not alright, then it’s not yet the end.” (tweet it!)

If you’re ready to learn how to trust the universe, join me for The Trust Intensive, a 6-week course to banish self-doubt and anxiety to bring your goals and intentions to life.

Practice: Child’s Pose, Balasana

To feel what it’s like to surrender, pop into Child’s Pose. Usually the first yoga pose taught to a beginning student, Balasana is all about deep breathing and deep letting go. Weighting your hips with a little dog, optional.

  1. Come to your hands and knees, then widen your knees so that your torso can fit between them. Bring your feet together to touch behind you.
  2. Exhale and sink your hips down to your ankles, stretching your arms long in front of you. Allow your forehead to make contact with the mat. Modification: If you find your hips elevated far from your ankles, roll up a blanket or stuff a pillow behind the knees and then settle your hips back down.
  3. Take six to eight deep belly breaths, expanding the ribs and back body as much as the abdomen on each inhale. On each exhale (perhaps through the mouth a couple times) envision your worries dripping off you and melting into the ground.
  4. When ready to come out, inhale and walk your hands back as you shift your hips up to a tabletop position.