Saturday, June 25, 2011
In Deepak Chopra's Book "Ageless Body: Timeless Mind" he mentioned one of the important qualities to people who lived past 100; adaptability, acceptance of change.
This brings to mind older folks walking around with cell phones, dinking around on Facebook and listening to current music, but adapting to change doesn't necessarily mean being up-to-date on technology. Adaptability to change means that you know life will be filled with changes all the time, roadblocks, detours, and giant brick walls with smooth surfaces that say "Dead End!"
You know those disaster movies of the 70s like "Poseidon Adventure"? You had your folks who feared moving from their spot on the dance floor ceiling and those who realized that to stay there was to be deeper in the water and to climb was to get closer to the surface. Some folks stop in the midst of a change in their plans and either freeze, unable to make a decision, or stubbornly stay with the course they were on, even though the path is no longer navigable.
Adaptable people don't stomp their feet and cry and scream that it's unfair that their plans were interrupted. They neither believe life should be perfect nor go as planned every single time.
I have never known a new reality to not have some amazing payoff. Sometimes, it's simply a perspective on things. When I was a kid one time, my sister drove me out into the countryside and we stopped to look at a cool railroad track. The car wouldn't start. My sister didn't have a fit, didn't wait for a stranger to finally come down the road and climb into their car. Nope. She thought a moment. "Who do I know around here?" I mentioned a sibling's friend who lived nearby, just through the woods.
So, my sister and I went on an adventure across the train tracks to the friend's house to use the phone. On the way, however, we discovered a huge pond. We stopped and sat down for a time and watched some beavers hard at work. We got up and headed further into the woods where she handed me some beautiful fallen colored leaves like they were treasures and I squealed with delight to know I could go press them into wax paper when I got home. We stopped and listened to a woman in her back yard singing as she hung laundry and her crisp beautiful voice seemed to make the autumn leaves shimmer overhead like gentle applause. We remembered our purpose and made it to the friend's house where the mother happily called our parents and sat us down to some newly made warm chocolate cake and hot cocoa. We talked for an hour until our family showed up to help and during that time heard amazing stories of her upbringing in the deep South.
The day provided not a car that refused to work and a trek that was stopped short, but a new path, new experiences, beautiful memories we couldn't have made if the car hadn't broken down forcing us to walk through the woods and find leaves, a beaver pond and a woman singing and a warm cake and hot cocoa and stories. Had we just driven home, that would have been the end of the adventure. Sometimes, adventures are born from how you handle glitches in your plans.
Serendipity: An aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
Adventure: An exciting or very unusual experience.
Adaptable: Able to adjust oneself readily to different conditions.
People ask me a lot why I'm such a positive person with so many miserable events in my life, but the truth is, I didn't enter the human race to make a planned out trek with great rigidity. The world was here long before I came along and long after I'm gone. It didn't suddenly come into being when I was born and conform to my expectations of what it should give me. I came to adapt and learn, observe and grow, become resourceful and always know that whatever happens, I just skip around it, leap over it, or plant a happy bunch of daisies atop it!