Acceptance vs. Intentions for 2016
In coaching others I often work in the realm of acceptance to identify their vision and reach their goals.
I am in Shillong, a hill-station in the foothills of the Himalayas in Meghalaya, India. It’s freezing. We’ve just hauled our 23month old and 3.5yr old boys through Thailand, Nepal and now across India and they’re alternating between reeling from it and reveling in the heat of family, spices and mayhem of crowds that is India. They’re slowly getting used to the warmth abundance of affection that comes with this population and the culture I come from.
I’ve had an interesting trip this time round to India. It is my first visit as a parent despite having journeyed here every 2-5years over the past four decades.
Many times I’ve been told, explored, practiced and drawn a line in the sand around giving to beggars and haggling for a good bargain at the markets. The difference this time round is I’ve had the overpowering message of ‘how important is it?’
What a person could earn in one-hour in the West has far more spending power in India. So for the price of a coffee at home this may allow a worker to buy a new jumper for winter or a street vendor to feed his family for a few days. I find myself giving away a lot of ‘coffees’. Overseas a $20 tip would be a rare event but here giving each worker at my families home a tip of $20 seems right when it is half their monthly salary and it is a means of supporting the families of those worse off than me.
We ourselves head back to a new mortgage and a period of acclimatizing to a new financial plan so being irresponsible isn’t an option yet I find myself giving more than perhaps is prudent.
So what is my point in all of this? I’m in a place of acceptance.
I accept that I have a good life – a rich life that grows and prospers. I accept that my mind is small and what the universe has to bring is vast. I accept that supporting someone for a month is worth the price of a coffee or 20 coffees. I accept that I have enough, there is more and there will be abundance.
I also accept it breaks my heart when its 10 degrees outside and I see a 6 year old girl in barefeet, threadbare clothes carrying her tiny sibling crying, looking through a garbage bin. I accept I have profound grief I can’t take her home and rescue her. I accept that my heart makes me walk over and give her a dollar in the hope that she has a warm meal. I accept it didn’t feel right to offer her $50 and I accept that I wish I followed her, spoke to her, asked more about her and met her family but I felt to shy to interrupt her life like that. I accept her surprise, joy and her shy stare-the way she kept watching me as I smiled, winked and waved to her. It was about a gift, joy and ongoing hope.
Things happen when we are young that are out of our control and we adapt. I was left unexpectedly at 6yrs of age for 2 years away from my immediate family in this very town. Joy and ongoing hope were things I also scavenged for at the same age. I came here this time round to India to make peace with my past and practice acceptance.
Making peace with our past via practicing acceptance opens possibilities in ways that 100 new years intentions can’t.
In acceptance I’ve less compulsion to change anything. I discover how invested and habitual I’ve become wanting to change others to feel safe and belong. How compulsive I’ve became trying to change myself to be a newer and more improved version of myself so I never had to go through this lack of control over my own life again.
Making peace with my past through acceptance of key situations has meant a freedom and an openness to life without ‘my story’ or reactions leading my decisions today. My behavior and responses are genuine today and therefore my goals can now be REALised.
Instead of setting new years intentions for 2016 is there something you can practice acceptance about today?
Allow for what unfolds with this practice of acceptance. It may offer a moment for you to step out of your own way/beliefs/reactions to allow for something greater and truer to yourself to transpire both unexpected and beautiful.
Best wishes for your new year,
Author: Monique Kalmar