Special Olympics and the Power of Acceptance

On May 1st I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Special Olympics School Program held at Acalanes High School in Lafayette, CA, just down the street from my office. (In fact I walked there to be eco-friendly and get my daily walk in!) Schools from 3 area counties brought students to participate. Many students from Acalanes High worked with the athletes in all sorts of events. There was such a sense of joy and delight on the field!

Sindy helping with medals at the Special Olympics

Law Enforcement Officers from all over the area came and welcomed the students in the parade of athletes. Later the officers gave each student a medal after they ran -or rolled – their races. I think the officers had as much fun as the kids. Big smiles as they circled around to get another medal to adorn another child as his/her name was called out over the loudspeaker in congratulations for a job well done.

With my HANDLE eyes I watched as some kids protected themselves from the noise and energy, from touch – human and the ribbons around their necks (some ribbons never actually made it around the neck!) The beauty was that no one forced anything. It was okay for each student to be right where he/she was – a total winner just being themselves. Kids Beamed! Adults Beamed! Parents Beamed!

It was a reminder to me of the power of acceptance and gratitude in bringing joy and confidence. It seems it would be a valuable question to ask regularly – am I accepting myself (my kids – neurotypical or not, my partner, my world) just as I am,or am I so set on being something different that I am not able to see the blessings in what is, right now? Would a slight shift to acceptance allow room for gratitude, joy and perhaps even growth?

As I thought about all the “I wish I were more….” and the “if only ….. then…..” I can go through in a day, I realized the profound value of just stopping and being present in where I am right now, accepting that as it is – preference or no – and the great space that allows for me to be empowered and enriched. I wonder if it will be the same for you.

 

 

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