And as an Adele fan, I feel compelled to follow that up with: it’s me.
In a strange way, I understand what she’s talking about in that song. Not because I had a long lost lover from a past broken relationship, but I think there is something that rings throughout her album, and not just this song: acceptance.
I did not want to start this off as an analytical piece of “Hello,” but this is my first blog post, and I really have shuffled between a love/hate relationship with blogs. I have always wanted to write one to share my mind and my thoughts, but when I read blogs from some of my friends, or those that go viral and are mass shared on Facebook by half of your friends with the comment “OMG so relatable,” I doubt myself and my ability to convey my message. I fear that my passion, my emotions and feelings and even my understanding of ideas will get lost somewhere between the ever-changing condition that resides within me, the words that flow out through my fingertips, the vast interwebs and finally reaching you, in whichever mindset you are reading this. Putting my thoughts down in writing solidifies them, and that makes me uncomfortable. Not only does this open the doors to potential misunderstanding, but also judgement of me. And this fear has held me back from doing much of what I could have.
So today, I have put aside my reservations, and done something regarding this situation that I have found myself doing lately– accepting.
I’ve been a planner. I love to have my life sketched out before me and in my hands. I suppose it brings me a sense of calmness, but mostly it crosses out 700 things that I am constantly rotating through my mind, out of a list of probably 70,000 (a conservative estimate). Over thinking and over planning works really well, if you live under a rock by yourself. As a 22 year old starting her first job in a Management Training “Rotational” Program, not only am I NOT living under a rock, but am also rarely by myself.
To give you some background, my job coming straight out of college is a program where a group of young adults, like myself, learn the ins and outs of the company together for 3 months, then separate across the footprint of the company and learn from different departments, eventually to accept a job in an area that is of interest. Most of my peers uprooted their lives from Arizona, Chicago, Connecticut and Texas to join this program, while I stayed in my college town to start the new job. It was a wonderful incubator, where I still had my college friends and my younger sister, as well as this new found group of built-in work friends that I saw on a daily basis, and in no time, had formed a family of people that were close to my heart.
So this lead on for some time: happily driving a 7-10 min commute to work, walking around in parks with my trusted friends, going to yoga classes and workouts, and spending lazy Sundays in hammocks reading while living an 8-5 work life. I did not have to plan my life much differently from college, and nothing was drastically new other than the fact that I was getting paid!
Out of nowhere, an opportunity arose for me to rotate in Houston, TX. Immediately, my computer program of a mind recognized that something was off and started panicking; everything that I had planned for is amiss. All of my friends consoled me and told me it would be the perfect launching point for my career, and I would soon forget about little Birmingham, AL and be immersed in big city life. After all, I had grown up traveling and moving to cities all the time, and I even lived in India for sometime without my parents, for goodness’ sake. Nothing I haven’t tackled before.
So I took the rotation, and it was a culture shock that hit me so hard that I put my head on my steering wheel in stand-still traffic and sobbed on my 1 ½ hour commute to work. Not many of my work friends had joined me in the 4th largest city in the US, and I had no more daily routine. Getting out of my family friend’s house at 6 AM to beat traffic, and dragging myself back to the suburbs later in the evening to, again, beat traffic. I loved what I was doing at work- it was, in fact, exactly what I was looking for, but discovering the new city didn’t seem appealing without my people around to adventure with. I could not start a new life here, still unsure if I my stay would only last for this rotation, so I resided in a state of limbo where I just existed.
Once I physically and mentally adjusted to the Houston lifestyle, I restarted my morning practice of meditation. I woke up 15 minutes earlier, and spent every moment I could absorbed in a pure and simple state of being. And one day during this time, a soft realization fell into my lap: we all have a choice. Accept who you are today, and that you are going to change. Accept that the circumstances in your life are sometimes out of your control, and it is up to you to make the best out of each situation. Your material life, what you see, touch, hear, is all fleeting, whereas your inner condition can stay, and keep you, balanced.
I find meditation to be a most useful tool. Most of us are submerged in the stress-induced lifestyle of constant thoughts and emotions that wear down our beings. When you are in this mental state of disarray, meditation gives you the clarity to view things in an optimistic, yet objective mindset. It provides you with an undercurrent of acceptance, regardless of out-of-the-blue situations that could impact your mood, for you to hop back on that “it’s okay” train, and move forward.
So whether it was accepting a change in my lifestyle, or accepting that my writing is imperfect and out in the open of everyone to view and judge, do it cheerfully, and you will find that progressing from that point of ambiguity or fear will be more of a push than a pull.
“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen.”