TWIL (This Week I Learned.)
This week I learned acceptance. Not an easy one. I think one of the hardest things to tease apart is when to accept and when to agitate for change. I had lots of opportunities to learn this week, but my favorite and the one I want to share, looked like this:
“Confronting lies sometimes means confronting difficult truths about one’s self and one’s own country. It is much easier to forgive yourself and condemn another, than the other way round; but this is something that everyone must do. I have made my peace with modern Germany, and hope that all Europeans can do the same.” — Stanisław Aronson, I Survived the Warsaw Ghetto: Here are some lessons I would like to pass on
What do you need to forgive yourself for? What do you need to forgive others for?
Can you accept those things in your life that are uncomfortable?
Here’s an exercise to help with acceptance with all your different “selves”:
Sit quietly in a place and at a time where you won’t be disturbed.
Bring to mind an image representing your Professional Self.
Notice that image.
Be aware that you are observing it.
Notice that if you can observe it, you can’t be it.
Say to yourself, “I let it go” and then observe the image ‘walk away’.
Continue this way, bringing to mind your different “selves” — Ideal self, Good parent self, Bad parent self (Good/Bad son, daughter, sister, brother, etc) Suffering self, etc.
The “selves” won’t go away for long, but if you continue with this exercise you will begin to see them for what they are and hold each self lightly.
This is an exercise from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy which is a super helpful and well-studied method for creating a rich, full and meaningful life while accepting the pain that inevitably goes with it.
When the spent sun throws up its rays on cloud
And goes down burning into the gulf below,
No voice in nature is heard to cry aloud
At what has happened. Birds, at least must know
It is the change to darkness in the sky.
Murmuring something quiet in her breast,
One bird begins to close a faded eye;
Or overtaken too far from his nest,
Hurrying low above the grove, some waif
Swoops just in time to his remembered tree.
At most he thinks or twitters softly, 'Safe!
Now let the night be dark for all of me.
Let the night be too dark for me to see
Into the future. Let what will be, be.'