In the past few days, various teachable moments with the kids have come back to the attitude of ‘accepting what is’.
The elder one was away on an inter-school sports meet in Ahmedabad, and three days into her trip, she called to say she’s not feeling happy, she’s bugged about something but cannot share it, she wants to come home. I said, “As long as you are there, and cannot change your situation, then change what you think about the situation. Accept what is, and say, ‘Okay’ to it. The more you fight with your circumstances, the unhappier you are.” I was drawing inspiration from Byron Katie’s quote: Whenever I fight my circumstances I lose, but only one hundred percent of the time.
Then the younger one was ill, and couldn’t go to school to give her weekly test. She’s a controlling personality, and wants everything to be organised in her life; unexpected changes like falling sick or a deviation in routine bother her no end. While forcing her to stay home and rest, I told her: “What purpose is this sickness solving in your life? It is making you take things easy for a while, take a break from your friends, your routine. Maybe you needed it. Maybe you were running on high without realising it. So make an effort to realise your own body’s needs, be aware of its signals.” I further explained the psychological theory of being ‘at ease with uncertainty’. “Do you worry whether it will rain today? No, because you know you will deal with whatever happens, right? Similarly, make peace with uncertainty, and tell yourself, ‘It’s okay if my re-test is harder than the original one I missed. I will deal with whatever happens’.”
And then came the time to apply the lessons to my own life. I had planned to get my own apartment, and after years of search, I found a place I fell in love with. But at the final moment, the deal fell through for technical reasons. Though disappointed, I couldn’t help remembering a recent quote I’d read: “If you face rejection, remember, it doesn’t mean ‘no’, it just means ‘not this way’.” Perhaps this isn’t the house for me, perhaps something better awaits.
Even if it doesn’t, I will accept what is. The obstacle is the path, after all.