Saturday, February 14, 2015

Dropping the IM for what's POSSIBLE

Iargo Springs in Northern Michigan
When I considered packing up and moving to Idaho at the age of 21, my mother gave me some very useful advice about life. It went something like this, "When considering a major life change, Heather, you have to imagine what the worst is that could happen. Play it out in your mind. And if you can live with the worst result, then you should go for it." 

I used it then. I thought if I moved to Boise and I hated it, well then I could always pack up and move back to Pennsylvania. 

I used it again when I packed up and moved to Colorado from Idaho. This time for a man. And the worst that could happen, well, it was that things fell apart with the man. In that case I figured I'd either stay in CO (if I liked it and was established), or I could always move back to ID or back to PA. 

Yes, this motherly advice has served me well over the past 20 years. I have passed it on to friends and students alike. And I believe it yet and still. Ultimately it asks one to consider what the backup plan is if/when things fall apart. You see, us Americans are fairly skeptical in the grand scheme of life. We have a plan, then a plan B, and sometimes even a plan C. I would argue that a majority of us expect things to fall apart, and like those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books from my youth, we follow each and every rabbit trail to its end, to see what we might have to face or endure or gain. Sometimes we can anticipate where the path goes astray and avoid the potholes or fallen trees, other times there are blind spots and no way to see around the bend in the road. But I think we ultimately have an escape route......a way out in which we can protect ourselves (from what, I ask?). 

Contrarily, the Mongolian attitude towards life is ultimately optimistic. They are not skeptical. They do not expect things to go astray or awry. They do not have back up plans (though they are quite ingenious and resourceful if things do go wrong). It is because Zorig never had a doubt about me, and about us, that he was able to make me believe in what I perceived as impossible. If you can put your faith and trust completely into another and then OPEN YOUR MIND, well then, the im falls away and you are left with just what is possible

My upcoming life changes will require a great depth of commitment. Moving across an ocean and 6K miles to a different country, a different continent, to become part of a new family will require seeing not months or a year into the future. To have this succeed (and who defines/determines success?), I must not consider a way out, a retreat. 

Moving one's life to assimilate into another culture requires that you go ALL IN and let go of the American default to have an escape route. Therefore, there are no rearview mirrors on this vehicle, there can be no reverse gear. I must look at the potholes immediately in front of me and navigate carefully, but my eyes must always be clearly focused in the distance, on the crest of the steppe that awaits me and us in that grand adventurous future that we have imagined together. It is green and bright. The wind will blow and the sun will shine under that eternal blue sky. While I know there will be dreary days and unexpected frustrations along the route, I must remember that they too, shall pass. Becoming distant memories that fade with the dust that settles behind us.  With love as our fuel, we can always move forward. 

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