Happy New Year. I hope this year brings you many blessings and opportunities. I apologize for my absence this last month and thank those of you who were concerned about why my blog posts disappeared. Even without many holiday plans, the stimulation of the last month just took over and I couldn’t focus. But I’m back and very excited about each new day.
This is the year my memoir “The Woman in the Photograph: The Search for My Mother’s Past” will come out. I am going to join the legions of creative, inspired, innovative authors who are taking the Indie Publishing route, and bring the book right to you without the publishing gate keepers. I hope you will participate in its journey because, more than ever before, it is the word of mouth and social media that are the links for communication. It takes a village and the whole globe. I will keep you posted in the months ahead and maybe you’ll realize you want to take that route too.
But for today, I wanted to talk about acceptance. We can find so many things that disturb us, that seem unfair and that we wish were different. But if we start giving life a report card, rating each event as satisfactory or unsatisfactory, we are creating a separation between ourselves and the movement of life’s energy.
Often things don’t fit my preferences. Sometimes what life brings is terribly painful. Throughout my life, our family has experienced loss, illness, disappointment, just as most families have. Acceptance doesn’t suggest that we ignore our feelings or that we become passive and don’t take appropriate action. Acceptance includes the grief, the anger, the heartache. It also includes the happiness at good fortune, the unexpected kindness that brings you joy, the possibility that you may have more than your neighbor yet you are willing to accept your blessings with gratitude and not hold back your joy out of guilt. (I expect to get some feedback on this one.) Perhaps you will find your own ways to contribute to your community from the wellbeing you are experiencing.
Acceptance is a way to fully participate in life. Otherwise whatever occurs gets positioned as your enemy, or at least the enemy of your ego. That’s where suffering becomes the greatest. When we say, “this should not have happened,” what do we mean. We believe that life has made a mistake. But how can we trust life if we decide that life was right yesterday but wrong today? We begin to build walls and our hearts close down. Let this be a year of heart opening, to yourself and others.
I recommend to you a lovely book by spiritual teacher Byron Katie. It is called, “Loving What Is.” Honestly, I can’t always get behind the loving part. But I don’t think this is meant to be an invitation to manipulate your own feelings. Her book gives some good pointers on accepting what is, and finding within yourself the power and wisdom to move forward. She gives tangible questions to ask yourself, to help shift from victim of life to one who can make choices.
I remember years ago attending a workshop with Stephen and Andrea Levine. They were wonderful teachers and have many books, though I don’t think they actively teach anymore. Steven used to say that we can practice accepting (he may have used a different word like “letting go”) with the five and ten pound weights, so when we are faced with the big stuff, we know how to keep our hearts open and trust.
My guess is that there are plenty of five pound weights going around. I recently saw a friend who just got back from a trip to Florida. Her description was that it all went really smoothly. “We had a delay in SFO and missed our connecting flight in Dallas, but it was only 3 hours before we were booked on a new flight.” She made that her five pound weight, and her inner experience was a smooth and relaxing trip.
Let me know if you have had a any smallish opportunities to practice acceptance, being in partnership with life even if there is inconvenience or discomfort. We can all learn from your experience.