It is funny that this website was started to encourage people to step outside their “norm” in order to find their voice . . . and their bliss. And as one who loves to be ‘outside the box’, I am ashamed to say that my challenge this week has been to accept the ‘new norm’ and engage in it with curiosity, respect, and patience.
I come from a long line of fear-filled doubters. It is the southern way. One must prepare for the worst, worry about others, make sure that no one will question the action. The statement emblazoned in my brain ( but which I rarely attended to) is “what will the neighbors think?” If someone in my family announced that they were getting started in something new – a new job, a new love, a new hobby – congratulations were never offered . . . you had to EARN congratulations over time. No, responses were always more attuned to what could go wrong . . . had it been thought through? What if something went wrong? How much would it cost? I realized long ago that such a response was not within my control and I became determined to be honest and forthright and not allow guilt or worry to cloud my sense of adventure . . . but goals are always a work in progress! Truth be told, I waited until 30 days prior to our long-planned trip to tell my mother ( the rest of the family was sworn to secrecy) and my 98 year old grandmother STILL doesn’t know that I am traveling in Indonesia. I call her from skype praying that she will not notice the caller ID! ( yes, she is still that sharp!)
I truly felt I had exorcised the long-standing demon within my family lineage as I left to embrace the new Indonesian culture. Yet, our first morning here, I was appalled and alarmed at the crazy traffic (read my previous post) and wondered how we would get through the next month. I was certain that this was horrible and we would die walking the street or trying to turn in traffic. But partners have a funny way of pointing out your ‘challenges’ – and telling you to ‘buck up’! And I am so thankful for Marc’s willingness to take on challenges with openness, analyze novelty rather than shutting it out, and even for calling me a wimp when it was earned. After only a day and a half of openly learning and wanting to understand our situation, there emerged a clear pattern in the street traffic, even with the absence of stop lights or ANY apparent traffic rules. AND – the sidewalks may not be those of suburban neighborhoods, but clear walking patterns became easily identifiable! Today was a new awakening, and with Marc sick in bed with “Bali Belly”, I walked the neighborhood with a new mindset – Accept the Neighborhood and learn to adapt. And by the end of the day, I found that I not only had conquered the fear, but I felt rather fond of my new neighborhood!
So the lesson of the Absolut Acceptance Cocktail is that we should honestly seek to understand and be patient enough to allow the benefits of newness or diversity to be revealed. Whether or not we choose to participate is not important. The beauty of life is in its kaleidoscope of approaches.
WANT TO TAKE A DRINK?
Consider one item that brings you consternation and challenge yourself to learn more about it . . . delve into it . . . maybe even participate once or twice. Maybe it is a computer program, speaking up in a crowd, or being honest about your feelings. You don’t need to start big. Take a little bite of something that you are not accepting of and feel how it opens your world a little!
Courage to you all,
PS: Photos of the Neighborhood!