Accepting What Is: An Act of Power

When things do not go as we plan, it is easy to get frustrated and disappointed. Which is completely understandable, but not helpful since it leaves us powerless. What works much better is to trust that there is a reason why something is happening in our life and stay open for the unexpected gift to be revealed to us.

My husband David and I were invited to spend this past Saturday with our relatives in the Catskills (mountains in the state of New York). Our plan was to go on a hike to enjoy the countryside and fresh air. Living in the suburbs of New Jersey, I was dying to spend some time in nature, even if it was only a half-day. However, the weather didn’t cooperate at all, and heavy rain forced us to change our outdoor plans for something indoors.

So, after 2 hours of driving to the mountains, we continued driving for another 30 minutes to the local museum. A great opportunity to practice faith that even though things were going differently, they were working out for my good. I decided to replace my disappointment from missing out on walking in the nature with acceptance of what is and let the situation unfold. I am much more of an outdoor person than a museum-goer, so it took a bit of will power “to be in the flow” rather than resisting it, but soon it paid off.

The museum visit turned out to be one of the most enjoyable museum experiences of my life. Dedicated to help preserve the heritage of the Hudson River School of painting, Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Cedar Grove is the place where American Art was born in 19th century. The museum, its committed staff and the appealing exhibition touched my heart on so many levels. Beautiful landscape paintings by Thomas Cole and his contemporaries demonstrate his idea of preserving nature and initiating a spiritual renewal through art, an idea which is equally if not more relevant today as it was 150 years ago.

The story of how Thomas Cole became a sought-after artist is inspiring and relevant to anyone trying to start their own business or spread their message to the world. Thomas Cole was so poor that he couldn’t even afford a trip on the boat to the Catskills from New York City and needed a sponsor for his ticket. He came back to NYC with various paintings he made in the Catskills but didn’t have anyone to buy them. So, another sponsor arranged for several of his paintings to be displayed in the window of a bookstore. Within a week, they caught the attention of several wealthy people who bought them and displayed them prominently in their homes, advertising the painter to all of their guests.

This is how Thomas Cole became known and his art came into demand. What a great story of the power of networking and creative marketing with a minimum investment, even though it is a 19th century story! As someone who is starting teaching and a coaching practice, I let myself be inspired by this story of the poor artist who found a way to make a lasting difference in the world.

I do not know when my next opportunity to go on a hike in the mountains will be. And I am fine with it. It is empowering to accept what is. It is disempowering to regret what could have been.

When we trust that all our experiences are meant to help us grow and learn,
it is much easier to accept them and actually grow and learn.

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