Accepting whatever comes along: a shared experience

03 May 2018
Accepting whatever comes along: a shared experience

A new horizon

As I mentioned in my March newsletter, this month I gave myself a birthday gift, a solo journey in Asia: Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia.

Before leaving I felt both scared and excited: what if I met people I didn’t like?  What if spending two weeks and a half all alone plunged me into blues?  What if….

I finally succeeded in solving this pointless dilemma by deciding that during this trip I would adopt two attitudes: “letting go” and accepting whatever might come, without trying to influence events.  Throughout my life I have always strived to get what I wanted: projects, clients, even my husband! Now that I am stepping into the second part of my life, I have decided to loosen up, to choose being rather than doing. This is definitely not a passive attitude; it is just another way of looking at the world and at events. I have also decided to let life surprise me and to accept it as it unfolds, trying to learn from the joys and sorrows that I may encounter. This is quite a program for someone with my rather anxious and restless personality… Only recently have I adopted these two attitudes, loosening up and accepting. I am at the beginning of a long learning journey and I plan to move on with humility and the awareness that, if I fail, I will start all over again, concentrating on the journey itself rather than on the end of the road.

 

First step: dropping expectations

My purpose then was to carry out all the above during my trip, intentionally and, whenever possible, systematically. I started by telling myself that I had to stop thinking that this journey should be perfect. Having high expectations often leads to disappointment. I had carefully organized the journey during Christmas vacation by following different criteria that I considered important: safety since I was travelling alone; some comfort; a rather slow travelling pace (no running from one place to the next) and, finally, choosing places that were close to bodies of water. Having done all I could to satisfy my needs and desires, I knew I had to leave expectations behind, open my chakras to make the most of this journey, effortlessly, without false hopes. I would stop doing and start living.

I am going to tell you how I put my purpose into practice, simply, without a real effort, which leads me to believe that when we live in harmony with our inner self, well, it works!

 

Hong Kong: the first unexpected happenings!

My first stop was in Hong Kong, where I stayed with my friend Lina who lives there. She is a very dear friend and I knew that we would exchange excellent vibes during our light chatter and profound talks.

In four days I discovered Hong Kong’s gastronomy, Lina’s friends, the tangle of alleys high up in the city, its incredible spots and the beauty of nature: beaches and mountains, all in such a small place!

I would like to dwell on the unexpected experiences I collected during the four days of my stay there.

First of all, upon my arrival I found out that Thursday the 5th of April was a holiday in Hong Kong.  Thanks to this holiday I spent a day on a Chinese junk with Lina and her friends exploring the archipelago and its wild nature. I found out that Hong Kong‘s buildings cover only 20% of the total surface, and that they occupy mostly the area called “Central” and its surroundings. With Lina I took wonderful strolls in the unspoiled mountains. Besides, the unexpected holiday enabled me to get to know Lina’s friends, very nice and dynamic expatriates who told fascinating stories about their success in opening new markets. Quite by chance, I acquired a new client and sent an offer to companies dealing in luxury goods in Asia. I assure you that I did not chase or push; I simply let those people come towards me and I listened to them…magic, isn’t it?

Then, without having planned for it, by sheer coincidence, I had coffee with a Hong Kong friend whom I had met 30 years earlier while in London. He had found out from Facebook that I was in Hong Kong and had written to me. The reunion was lots of fun; we caught up on our lives. Now we look forward to seeing each other again in Italy with our families. Once again, a touch of “magic”!

 

Halong bay in North Vietnam

On April 7th I started my solitary venture: a flight to Hanoi followed by a cruise on the Halong bay, dotted with thousands of rocky islands, an extraordinary and surrealistic landscape wrapped in a mist that dimmed all colors.

For the cruise I chose a small boat with only 6 cabins, to stay away from large groups, which I dislike.

At first, I dreaded being alone after spending four lively days with friends in Hong Kong. I was afraid of meeting people I didn’t like, and also of sinking into melancholy. Luckily, it was quite the opposite! Every day we went on two excursions and I met some extraordinary warm-hearted people.

Before describing my most significant meeting, I must tell you that, in order to renew myself as a professional, every year I decide to do an in-depth study of a particular technique and every 5 to 8 years I explore a new corpus:  mastering it requires time, attention and experience. After concentrating on the theme of adult development, at the beginning of this year I decided to set myself a new goal for the coming years, i.e. the body/spirit/energy link. I started reading books (see my January 2018 newsletter on TIPI), I took a Reiki course… In short, I rushed into the exploration of this new horizon in my usual both messy and resolute fashion. I confess I was a bit lost, since this technique was new to me.

And, lo and behold, during my cruise I had the chance to meet Judy, a psychologist who is an expert in this technique and who in addition lives in New York not far from my apartment. She is an extraordinary woman, with an infectious enthusiasm and a keen intelligence, two qualities that I have always appreciated. Unbelievable, isn’t it? We plan to meet for dinner with our spouses and I am sure we will both profit from our respective skills and experiences.

This episode reinforces my conviction that things don’t happen by chance: they happen when we are ready for them.

 

The ruins of Angkor in Cambodia

During my stay in Siem Reap, the city where those amazing ruins are located, I was completely alone, except for my guide Phirrum who during three extraordinary days told me the story of one of the greatest civilizations in the world.

Actually, I was happy to be by myself; when I didn’t tour, I read, I daydreamt, I watched some TV show. The Khmer urbanity was my only company; I enjoyed their gentleness, their delicious cuisine and … the air conditioning. Otherwise it would have been difficult to endure the unbearable peaks of 36 C° with 90% humidity!    

I also realized that I liked being by myself, an unexpected discovery, since I am rather restless and basically anxious, and hence afraid of emptiness and solitude. Surprisingly, I was calm and happy.  Perhaps, now that I am 50, I am at last at peace with myself. Realizing that such a state of mind is attainable has given me tremendous strength.  NOW I KNOW THAT I CAN DO IT EFFORTLESSLY AND PAINLESSLY.

 

The cruise on the Mekong, Cambodia side

The first two days (out of five) were a bit complicated. The group was rather large: there were 26 people, all couples except me, all retired “baby boomers”. Being “only” 50, I was the group’s “baby” and didn’t have anything in common with the others. I nevertheless decided that I would serenely accept the situation and live with my books and the superb discoveries made during the excursions. I was alone most of the time. On the third day a couple invited me to sit at their table and then, surprise!, everybody started inviting me. I don’t know exactly what happened, but as of that moment I began having very interesting conversations with pleasant people, who loved travelling and had amazing life experiences. I therefore told myself that it is quite all right not to expect anything, because if we listen to what happens around us, we’ll find that the world and people can reserve surprises that are the more agreeable, because they are unexpected.

 

Praising the unexpected

Living these adventures has had a positive influence on my self-assurance. Now “letting go” and acceptance are no longer abstract ideas; they are part of a reality that has concrete consequences and fills me with a feeling of joy.

I think this experience came at the right time: until now I wasn’t ready for it; my inner self was still pervaded by fear. I had to wait for the right moment, attentive but without stress. I think I was very fortunate to be able to carry out my project.

 

Now I know that I will often ask myself the following questions, which you may also want to ask yourselves:

 - In our busy and devices dependent lives, how much room do we leave for the unexpected?

- How much room do we create within ourselves for warning signals that tell us something might happen without any planning on our part?

As a conclusive tip, I invite you to explore this subject, perhaps simply by observing from a different perspective the people you work with. During a meeting, for example, try to adopt the attitude of an active onlooker rather than a hyperactive participant.

Who knows, you might be pleasantly surprised!




Read other articles