When my children were young, one of their favorite books was, “Ming Lo Moves The Mountain”, by Arnold Lobel. In the story, Ming Lo and his wife live in a tiny house at the foot of a mountain. They love their home, but they do not love the mountain. They are unhappy because the mountain blocks the sunlight and causes their garden not to grow. Rocks fall from the cliffs and roll down the mountain, damaging their roof, leaving them damp and cold. Ming Lo’s wife urges him to seek the advice of the town wise man.
The wise man gives them suggestions on how to move the mountain. First he tells them to cut down a great tree, and to use it to push the mountain out of the way. It does not work so the wife urges him to return to the wise man for better advice. Next, he tells them to go home and bang on the pots and pans, making a lot of noise to frighten the mountain away. Of course this does not work either.
Next, the wise man recommends for them to bake several cakes and loaves of bread, and give them to the spirit that lives at the top of the mountain. When this doesn’t work, Ming Lo visits the wise man for a fourth time. The wise man ponders and contemplates. He instructs them to pack up all their belongings, and place them in bundles upon their backs. They are to face the mountain, close their eyes, and do the “dance of the mountain”. The dance involves placing one foot behind the other, over and over, for several hours. They went home and did just as he said.
After several hours, they opened their eyes and were so excited to discover, the mountain had, in fact, moved! Isn’t this simple story analogous of life, and how we react to our circumstances?
Occasionally, there are situations and events that occur beyond our control. All too often, our initial reaction is to try to move the person or thing that is plaguing us, and we get frustrated when they don’t leave. We seek the counsel of friends and professionals, and feel defeated when we hit roadblock after roadblock.
For the overthinker, it’s easy to get stuck in a place of indecisiveness. As a result, we procrastinate and remain stuck in a place of overwhelm. We allow fear to play out irrational scenarios. The what if’s leave us feeling incapacitated, unproductive, and overwhelmed.
The beautiful part is, change, even if it’s only minor change, is always within our grasp. Gandhi is credited as saying, “When you want to change the world, start with yourself”. It’s easy to make excuses for why you can’t accomplish things. We may not have ultimate control, but we always have SOME control.
Periodically there will be things we deal that are not within our ability to change. When you cannot change your situation, you must change your reaction to it. Complaining and frustration will only result in misery and suffering on your part. Don’t waste precious time fighting the fights you can not win. Instead, accept it and move on. When you accept the things you can not change, the situation pestering you dies. Like plucking up an overbearing weed, you destroy its ability to overwhelm and dominate your thoughts.
Perhaps you have an important, life changing event to attend, but it’s pouring rain. Would you close the blinds, curl up and stay home? Of course not! You’d don a raincoat, grab an umbrella, and forge ahead. Sure you may get wet, but you’ve got your eye on the prize, and nothing can stop you. There are situations, like the weather, beyond your control, but the rain will not harm you, and neither will this obstacle.
Acceptance is different than giving up. Giving up is giving way to passivity, whereas acceptance is setting yourself free from being tethered to a cumbersome weight. It is taking back your authority over yourself. When we take control of the things within our power to change, we fill up our self esteem tank.This, in turn, will fuel your motivation to continue making decisions that empower, change, and elevate yourself as well as your circumstances.
Every moment of your life you are making choices. Acceptance is magic because it’s not about accepting what you cannot control, it’s about choosing you, and when you choose you, you are moving the mountain of self doubt.
Link to a read aloud version of, Ming Lo Moves The Mountain