Many of my recent reflections circle around Acceptance. Before I tell you more, allow me to share how I've been defining the term.
Acceptance: Being able to look at any thought, feeling, action, person, or insert noun here and instead of trying to change it, acknowledge it for what it is without running away from the thoughts and emotions that result.
That’s it and that’s all. It’s what all the meditating and self work is all about. Acceptance IS the secret.
I’ve heard and read about Acceptance many times before. Yet, it wasn’t until recently I’ve allowed myself to start to understand it. I can’t tell you what it was that finally flipped the switch.
I thought I understood Acceptance while I was reading all the self-help books and spiritual texts. I was certain I was close to attaining it as I took the meditation courses, started the yoga practice, and went on the retreats. Surely I had it figured out in the hours upon hours of conversations my best friend and I have devoted to the topic over the years.
Things is, Acceptance isn’t something I needed to train for or learn. Despite being schooled in this lesson time and again, I didn’t feel it until now. Instead, I’ve chosen to sit comfortably in the depth of my own resistance. I've chosen to believe I can control every aspect of my life instead of realizing letting go was the ticket.
Although I take full responsibility for this resistance, I don’t blame myself for it. After-all in my culture, "The World Is Yours". If there is something you don’t like about life or something you see as wrong, unjust, or in need of change it’s up you to take action. We aren’t supposed to sit idly around accepting life for what it is. Doing so would be lazy and selfish.
What I see now is "doing nothing” isn’t what Acceptance is at all. Rather, Acceptance is about coming face to face with the truth. Then, instead of trying to extinguish or run from the discomfort that results, you stare at it all until you see all aspects of it very clearly. You sit with the joy or pain or other feelings and thoughts and allow yourself to feel and think them.
And… that is it. That’s the effort we need to put in. The real effort. Not running. Not trying to change. Just accepting.
Once we do, a great awareness arises and the knowledge of how to move forward, or not, becomes crystal clear. It’s with this viewpoint, I have been journeying into the world of Acceptance.
I could take the rest of this piece to tell you about how I’ve been starting with myself and working to sit with my strengths and my flaws until I reach a level of accepting them, but that is for another day. What I want to leave you with instead is one truth which I believe is the hardest for me to accept. In fact even thinking about accepting it scares the hell out of me. Here goes:
There is no end point to this Acceptance journey. I will be practicing accepting myself and others for the rest of my life.
Whew. I believe if I could look this one in the eye, acknowledge it for what it is, and sit with the emotions and thoughts that result, I could do anything.
Guess I better get started. This could take awhile.
It should be noted that many of these words I share with you are the words of this friend. They are words I’ve finally been able to feel and grasp. What can I say? Sometimes it takes me a while.
The song I was thinking of as I wrote this line.