It’s a new year. If you are like me, you make a list of resolutions that you may (or may not) keep because you want to try to be a better person. It’s exciting to think of a fresh start, a new beginning, a do-over. But does anything ever really change? According to ancient Buddhist beliefs, we live in a constant state of change. Nothing stays the same. A major pillar that supports a strong Mindfulness foundation is ACCEPTANCE. When we accept that permanence is a fictional concept, we begin to free ourselves from the material, physical restraints in our lives. All we have is this breath, this moment; that and that alone is TRUTH.
So how can practicing acceptance coincide with new year's resolutions? I mean, isn’t the whole idea of resolutions centered around the fact that we do not accept the way we are right now and want to make steps to better ourselves in the future?
Now a story: My husband gave me a puppy for Christmas. It wasn’t a surprise; we talked about it before making the decision to adopt her. Her pictures online were adorable but we wanted to meet her in person before committing because it was important to us to see how she interacted with our two young (and rather spastic) daughters. We made the over-an-hour-long trip down to a PetCo in south Georgia where the shelter was having an adoption event. As the volunteers pulled puppy after puppy out of the shelter van and placed them in their respective pins, my family and I watched expectedly for the puppy we had chosen to appear. When she finally made her appearance, we were surprised to see she had a long, distinct scar on her back. It was completely healed but weird-looking because her skin was shiny and hairless where the scar was located. That was definitely not visible from her online pictures.
At first I was rather angry at the shelter for being so deceptive. We probably would not have made the trek down to south Georgia if we had known about the scar. The puppy was shy and a little skittish to boot so I was leaning toward “no” on adopting her. Then, we went into the puppy training area inside the store with her and that’s when we fell in love. She warmed up to us immediately and was so sweet and charming that I knew I would not be leaving the store without her in my arms.
Thinking back on it now, the shelter was right not to show the puppy had the scar; they were just doing what they needed to do to get her adopted. My family and I have accepted the puppy into our lives, scar and all, and she is living the dream.
Perhaps accepting my own scars and letting go of the stories that go along with the scars can be a resolution I might be able to keep this year. I mean, change is the only thing that stays the same, right?