“Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.” – Arthur Rubinstein
Acceptance is a theme that has been coming up for me a lot lately. It wasn’t my planned blog post but so many people have said to me “you should write a blog on that” or “this seems to be a big thing for you” so I gave in. I have accepted that acceptance is a big deal for me!
Acceptance is probably the most important skill I have learned over the past couple of years. Acceptance is a choice, a hard one at times but a choice nonetheless. I used to resist the present moment all the time. I wanted to be somewhere else, I wished it wasn’t raining, I was late and the bus wasn’t fast enough, not enough people were coming to my classes … blah blah blah … So much resistance to life!!!
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. – Lao Tzu
Some stuff can suck; the weather, politics, traffic or even a slight change in our routine. The fact that it sucks doesn’t make it less real, it is still just as it is. Wishing it was different causes us to resist the situation and if you stop to tune in you can feel the tightness build in the chest and around the shoulders. Resistance causes us even more pain.
Accepting our external situation is about being present and experiencing it fully. “Some people feel the rain, others just get wet” – Bob Marley.
Acceptance doesn’t just apply to a situation, it applies to other people and ourselves. Isn’t accepting someone fully a form of love? I accept all your flaws as part of you. That doesn’t mean I have to like you and it doesn’t mean you aren’t able to change but right now I accept you as you are. Self-acceptance is most important.
“Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment. It is part of the isness of the Now. You can’t argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do, you suffer.” –Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
Accept each feeling as it arises, don’t wish it away.
What do you resist? I challenge you to put a pen to paper right now and write down what you wish wasn’t reality. Now.
Here’s my list:
I resist drizzle in my face. I resist the sound of squeaky brakes on the bus. I resist Trump. I resist doing the washing up. I resist the feeling of tension around my shoulders. I resist feeling lonely.
What happens when you change I resist to I accept? Once you have accepted it fully you can try change it.
I accept drizzle in my face. I accept the sound of squeaky brakes on the bus. I accept Trump and choose to try change his position of authority. I accept doing the washing up. I accept the feeling of tension around my shoulders and choose to have a bath and get a massage. I accept I’m feeling lonely and choose to meet up with friends.
I have found that a great place to start is with the rain (it’s fairly reliably rainy here in Manchester). Go out in the rain without an umbrella purely as an acceptance exercise! With practice you can start to feel resistance when it arises and then choose to let it go. Some days I have been able to shrug my shoulders when I drop my food on the floor and mutter ‘hakuna matata’ – that’s a massive step for me.
I choose to accept life and all is has to throw at me, to truly live in the moment and be conscious enough to make well informed changes. Join me?