There have probably been dozens maybe hundreds of things I have read on Acceptance and they have all been fabulous, some even quotable, especially when I have been fighting against reality. So why would I decide to write another addition to the well-worn pages of this heavily discussed issue? Do I hope to add some more philosophical, thought-provoking substance to this elusive and enormous topic?
No. My answer is no. It a wasn't actually a rhetorical question. I learned a lot about acceptance through those readings, there is no doubt, but it took learning what acceptance was not to finally be able to make sense of it in any real way.
Now here is the deal, the thing for me is no matter how much I would read or hear on A
Acceptance, how many quotes or quips were sent my way I would still fight the good fight, because I could not and would not give up trying to control what was in front of me. It may be very true that Acceptance would bring me peace, I knew it, spouted it, had even experienced it in certain cases, could wrap my head around it but peace was not my goal, neither was a deeper spiritual understanding. My goal, to be perfectly honest was getting the outcome I wanted so words of wisdom no matter how well-phrased were going to penetrate my one track mindset.
Accept what I didn't want. That was basically the point. However nothing explained how exactly one goes about doing it. And something I needed desperately was some concrete instruction in how to do it because as pretty as the words were they gave no guidance as to how to do it. That is when I really started to unravel this puzzle starting with acceptance is NOT.
So, nope, I didn't have to like what was happening and most of what I resisted I couldn't stand. Acceptance is NOT tolerance, not at all I do not have to allow things to keep happening simply because I accept them. Acceptance is NOT being okay with everything simply because I accept it, not at all. So whittling away what acceptance wasn't I was able to get to what Acceptance is and it simply is admitting facts into evidence. Sounds simple enough, sure if those facts are the sky is blue and the sun is shining. However let's tweak the story, what if you have a major project due tomorrow and you just haven't finished and those oh so reliable weather people, we all know them, have predicted a major snowstorm. Your whole social media feed was filled with people bracing for the impact of Snowmaggedon, every store has run out of milk, eggs and and rock salt so this has got to be guaranteed! You figure I have got an extra day, I am good, I can work on this tomorrow because they are surely going to call a State of Emergency and I won't have to have this ready for the morning, so you tuck yourself into bed safe in the knowledge that 6-12 inches of snow is going to buy you extra time. Waking up to your alarm the next morning you look outside to see the ground devoid of snow and the clear blue sky, with a bright sun and not even light coat of snow on the ground. All the sudden Accepting the blue sky and sun shining is slightly more complicated because it means that major project isn't done and that snow you were counting on is not going to buy you more time to do it. Anxiety starts to eat at your stomach and you feel the panic rise as that sun and clear sky seem to taunt you with the loss of your job and the very things you hold dear in your life- perhaps you will end up penniless and have to be out on the street all because it couldn't snow. It sounds ridiculous but this is what starts to make acceptance so difficult, facts in evidence start to create stories in our head that have no basis in reality. And so Acceptance has been turned into a catastrophe and we jump into denial or avoidance. So who would blame you? And nobody really thinks about this consciously it just bubbles up quickly and overtakes you- and then you are off. So let's back up to the part where you look out the window and see the sun is shining and the sky is blue. Stop there. Those are your facts in evidence. That is Acceptance. All you are doing is admitting those facts into your awareness and agreeing to that reality. Same with the project not being complete. It isn't finished you admit that fact into your awareness and agree to that reality. And these two facts create anxiety and you admit that fact into your reality too. The story doesn't have to be accepted as a fact it can accepted as a fear and acknowledged as such and it isn't required for acceptance to occur. It is a way to take care of yourself to soothe a very anxious mind instead of leaving uncertainty as a possibility so admit that into your awareness. After that choices get to occur, that is what Acceptance is all about. Making choices with the facts. You can run with the catastrophic story, ask for an extension, turn in the part of the project that is finished. You may want to call someone you working with if that helps and see if they can help with parts of the project. By accepting the facts, by accepting what is you can make choices about what you want to do. The Anxiety, the stress, or nervousness doesn't have to make the decision but it is there and that was part of what needed to be Accepted. It's normal to feel it, letting it write the story is your decision, so what can you do with it instead? I like to question it if that makes sense. And play it out to its illogical conclusion. Basically let it have a few minutes to speak, thank it for participating and go back to another plan. That Anxiety will seem realistic and make sense, keep you in a loop and because it is uncomfortable you don't want to approach it but that is why I do. That is why I let it play completely through because then the conclusion and the logic doesn't stand. The power is lost. Things only have power like that when they are avoided.
Here is the other piece it doesn't go away you stuff and store it in your body. Your neck, your stomach, your shoulders, your jaw, your chronic headaches, and back pain. Avoided emotion all gets stored in that body tissue. I work with it everyday and the somatoemotional release that enables it to be let go. It all begins with Acceptance. The simple act of admitting it into reality. Admitting them just acknowledging hey these are the facts and then we can say we don't like them and no they aren't ok. We just don't have to carry them inside of us letting them hurt us anymore.
A project not being on time is a lot easier to accept then losing a loved one, a relationship ending, a job loss, huge transitions, trauma, addictions, the list goes on but hopefully you get my point. Acceptance is admitting facts into evidence but it is a process. Bringing facts into evidence are like bringing light to shadows we need time to adjust our eyes.