10-11-20 Acceptance

Acceptance

To recognize and honor the simple truth and reality of what has happened.

To acknowledge the difficulty in your life without escaping from it or avoiding it.

To know and accept the connected spiritual essence you truly are.

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place or thing, or situation—some fact of my life—unacceptable to me. And I can find no serenity until I ACCEPT that person, place, thing or situation, as being exactly the way it is.  …I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes. If I focus on a problem, the problem gets bigger; if I focus on the answer, the answer increases.”Acceptance Was The Answer, Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 417.

We can accept that there are bad, difficult things that happen in the world and in our lives. We may not condone some actions, but we need to accept them as part of our reality. 

This is not to imply we blindly accept any and all situations and say, “oh well.” We first simply accept the truth of a situation without judgment, without the need to spin a story and assign blame. We can then use our intelligence and wisdom to not react but to act in a healthy and realistic way. 

We can find solutions instead of complaining. It is completely meaningless to complain about things. Negative people drain everyone around them. Instead, we can ask ourselves, “What can I do to solve the problem?” And if we can’t solve it, we can try to see where we can focus our energy more productively. What things can we control?  And what things are we wasting our time and energies on?

We can tap into an awareness larger than our fears and manipulations, and a calmness to work with what is. Then, we can decide what course of action, if any, would be best to take. A course of action informed by our values, our hearts, and a spiritual sense of reality…even if it’s difficult or uncomfortable.

Acceptance means opening up and making room for painful feelings and sensations. We learn how to stop struggling with them, give them some breathing space, and let them be there—without getting tangled up in them or overwhelmed by them. The more we can open up and give them room to move, the easier it is for our feelings to come and go without draining us.

The first step is accepting the fact that we are personally responsible for our state of mind, whatever that is.

“You couldn’t relive your life, skipping the awful parts, without losing what made it worthwhile. You had to accept it as a whole–like the world, or the person you loved.” — Stewart O’Nan

“I am my own biggest critic. Before anyone else has criticized me, I have already criticized myself. But for the rest of my life, I am going to be with me and I don’t want to spend my life with someone who is always critical. So I am going to stop being my own critic. It’s high time that I accept all the great things about me.” — C. JoyBell C.

When we sit in meditation, we learn to observe our thoughts…very much like observing the clouds in the sky. We’re not trying to control the experience, we’re just accepting and observing. We don’t get upset at the clouds because they are not the shapes WE want. Acceptance is simple and honest observation. It’s what happens BEFORE you judge, categorize, or choose to act. 

In meditation, we use the breath as an anchor.  In everyday life, we can learn to feel our confusion or fear, and use that same breath to calm ourselves and create space for what we’re feeling. We need to recognize that we spend most of our lives being in discomfort, in fear and confusion…and we don’t even realize we DON’T need to. As Thoreau observed, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” 

Take on the curiosity of a child. Open up and explore life as if it were your first day here.

For transformation to take place, we have to actually make friends with our mind. We have to learn to like ourselves. This is the opposite of a “get rich quick” scheme. Misplaced value is the cause of unhappiness. When we are unsure about ourselves, we feel a void in our lives.  We will spend our energies in hiding or in trying to make ourselves feel good with superficial things: brooding, money, sex, accolades from others, food, distractions galore.  None of these helps.

Happiness comes only from the willingness to be with yourself, nakedly, openly, and lovingly, again and again, over a long period of time. Which means we have to spend time with ourselves. It’s often tough, it’s usually intense, and it leads to a hard-fought, slow-won, and revolutionary victory over self-hatred. We can actually come to like ourselves. Liking ourselves is the result of acceptance. This is a radical way of thinking. Come on…you’ve always wanted to be a radical, haven’t you?

When we feel fear or anxiety—at work, at home, with friends, anywhere—we need to be aware of attendant feelings of doubt or unworthiness. We can then choose to accept that that’s what we are feeling and know it’s false—it’s only a cave of our own making to hide in. 

  • We say “STOP,” and we take some calming breaths. 
  • Then we say, “OK, let me accept what is actually happening, without blaming, judging or rejecting.”  
  • This acceptance will allow us to act wisely, versus just reacting. Acceptance is seeing clearly FIRST, before any action. Acceptance is what frees us to wake up! 

We may not feel amazing, fully alive and enlightened by taking 3 breaths, but those breaths allow us to accept responsibility, become more aware, and accept the wholeness and fullness life offers.  We are beginning to step into that rich and authentic space.

When we are more confident and comfortable within ourselves, we feel both the yearning and the capacity to connect with others and share our energies. We cannot be whole by ourselves. We must find the inter-connection of all life and begin stepping out of ourselves and into the whole.

No time is better spent than knowing yourself, fully accepting and LOVING yourself. Your choices will then seem to flow from a river of bounty.

How do you fill your bucket? One acceptance at a time.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for.

Heart Of Recovery web site  –  fcheartofrecovery.com


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