#19 in a series of wild and precious things to move you toward acceptance
This week I learned about acceptance. I learned that acceptance is active. Acceptance is a choice made and a thing pursued. This week, I got to glimpse the idea that I can move from resistance to acceptance and back again, that I can accept what is but still work to change stuff, that I can accept that poor behaviour happens but still expect better. Honestly, it was a cool week.
Easter is my number one favourite holiday. I think I love the absurd pagan weirdness of rabbits and eggs mixed with the most important day of the year for Christians (which includes me).
I often confuse acceptance with silver lining stuff. An Easter example of silver lining: We still do an egg hunt with my (way too old but very accomodating children) and this year, I hid 6 throughout our town. This year, two of them were taken in the hour and a half between hiding and finding. I immediately silver lined the taken-egg incident with two happy thoughts: first, hopefully someone who needed a bit of joy liked the treat I hid with the egg, and second, the taken eggs were the ones my husband and I had painted (not the kids).
Acceptance, though: This week, on a sunny walk along a rocky (bouldery) beach with my husband, holding hands, realizing how uncomfortably happy we were — it can be guilt-inducing to feel happy these days, can’t it? — we happily recounted all the odd choices — free will, baby — that had led us to our current lives. For us, in that moment, accepting what was (and is now) felt full of agency and strength and deep peace. I want that for all of you. I want that for all of us. I also accept that it’s a thing that fluxes — comes and goes. But I think I will want for all of us that when it does come, fleeting into our lives, we have the agency, strength, and wisdom to kinda give it a little nod, and allow it to seep into our collective selves.
These quotes are talking about passive acceptance: the kind you “earn” from other people. We don’t care about that stuff —
“Many people think of perfectionism as striving to be your best, but it is not about self-improvement; it's about earning approval and acceptance.” Brene Brown
“We all learn lessons in life. Some stick, some don't. I have always learned more from rejection and failure than from acceptance and success.” Henry Rollins
Ooooh! Yes, Michael J Fox:
“Acceptance doesn't mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there's got to be a way through it.” Michael J. Fox
And hello, Tina Turner:
”I'm not wise, but the beginning of wisdom is there; it's like relaxing into - and an acceptance of - things.” Tina Turner
Do you remember her/him? Here are three fun questions to consider this week:
Active acceptance of yourself as you are in the moment, of your feelings as they come and go, of where you are, of how other people are affecting you…can be really really hard and sometimes, resistance is where you are. And that’s okay.
There’s a lovely yin/yang, back and forth tension to resistance and acceptance sometimes. We can move through them and learn from the resistance as much as from acceptance.
This week, try taking yourself on a date. A long walk in nature (if that is accessible), a time spent drawing or painting, even doing the dishes with yourself can work. Very similarly to how when you really like someone it doesn’t really matter what you are doing — but doing something is important. It acts as a kind of diffuser: calmly do something as you “get to know” yourself. Check in with yourself — are your shoulders tense? Your belly? Maybe don’t try to change any of that. Just, yes, accept it all. Try focusing on the activity while also just kind of being with yourself and noticing (and accepting) how things change as time goes by.
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
Accepting what is right now is just that: the present moment, right now, is what it is.
If you have a chance to get very quiet and still this week, perhaps consider yourself as the hero of the story you are living.
And, as the hero of your own story, consider that you have a lot of agency in choosing the direction you go.
And, though a lot of stuff does get chosen for you, when you take a hero’s stance, you may begin to see that there are places you might like to explore.
And, perhaps, with only small changes, small pivots to how you approach your life, you may actually get closer to a path that would be much, much more meaningful. Just consider this. Just consider what that might look like and what tools and provisions you might already have with you to get you there. Just notice and consider.
6. POD Poem of the day (Robert Frost: Acceptance)
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.'
7. Podcast (Rich Roll: #505 Interview with Dan Peres about overcoming an opioid addiction. Quite inspiring and includes a huge chunk of acceptance.)
8. Video (Kristen Neff: Space between Self-Esteem and Self-Compassion TEDex)
9. Hero: Suzanne Seimens and Madeleine Shaw, Aisle
Why? They rebranded their company just as Covid-19 hit and they needed to think about how their newly rebranded company could flow with the new circumstances.
Acceptance (I believe) played a big part in what happened next. They decided to quickly regroup and use what they had to make masks for Vancouver’s most vulnerable population. They quickly figured out how to keep thriving with their company and also create a successful project making and distributing masks to people living in the DTES (downtown eastside) of Vancouver. Inspiring.
10. Take Care of Yourself This Week and Share if you know someone who might like this.
The Underbelly Podcast available everywhere you download podcasts. Acceptance episode Thursday.