Monday, February 6, 2012

Practicing Acceptance

Recently ,I have been in a funk it seems. This is odd for me, the perpetual optimist. I have felt frustrated that certain things in my life were not as I would have liked them to be. I have felt lonely, disappointed, impatient and downright mad about it.

It came to a head on Sunday. I decided to journal about what was really going on in hopes of solving this dilemna and moving on(after all I am a do-er so things need to just get checked off my list). Although I could have followed many strings of events in my life and analyzed them to death (this is where being an engineer is not helpful) I quickly saw a common theme. I was not practicing acceptance. My life is how it is period. I can wish it to be different in so many ways, imagine it differtly but the reality is that it is as it is. That may sound obvious but to truly accept my life is to stop resisting it as it stands. Have you ever thought about how much energy and time we spend resisting what is before us? What if we just stop and say..this is my life and I say "yes" to it for now. What if I stop asking why and start saying "thank you" even if I do not know why. That does not mean that I understand how I got here, that I do not dream of new opportunities but it means that I say "yes, I am going to accept what is before me". I will hold the feeling of opposites. I desire something new perhaps but I also hold the feeling of appreciation and acceptance of where I am. I do not "pretend" to be over it all. I just accept the feelings as they come. Some days I may feel lonely or sad or impatient and I will accept those feelings and call them by name. Some days my eyes may open to realization that where I am standing is where I am supposed to be standing and something of this madness will make sense if even for a brief moment.

When I journaled about a specific situation in my life, I tried to put on a new set of lenses to view the situation. What if, the reason this situation is playing out as it is, truly is for my benefit and if I received exactly what I think I want..I would be disappointed in the end (this never happens right?:))When I thought of possible scenarios where this would hold true my resistance softened. I thought..Maybe. Who really knows? Maybe there is not a reason for the maddnes but I think there is. I trust in a higher power that I believe does give us what we truly need and are asking for...just perhaps not in the exact form we ask for but sometimes surprisingly better.

I decided that for now I will just say yes. I will practice acceptance for where I am and what I am feeling. I will not try to feel happy and grateful when I am not but in all cases I will say yes and thank you for the opportunity to be present right where I am. Because truly saying no is just a fallacy. By saying no we just build that resistance that blocks that flow of energy that allows us clarity, intuition and peace.

We can practice this acceptance in our yoga practice when we embrace our limitations and our current abilities. Not that we do not all desire to put our foot behind our head or perform handstand in the middle of the room but what if we just say...I am in this body today and this body most likely will not pop into handstand or foot behind the head but maybe tomorrow and then again maybe never. I accept my body as it is given to!

Acceptance is not easy but if we want to be real with life and ourselves..acceptance is the root of it all. It our being at the core in whatever shape, state or presence we find it. Saying yes takes a lot less effort that pushing against that imaginary door that holding us hostage.

"You can be fully satisfied with where you are, understanding that you’re eternally evolving. When you get into that place of feeling appreciation of where you are and of who you are, and appreciation of what you are, and you accept that you are a never-ending, always unfolding Being, then you can stand in that delicate balance of being optimistic about what is to come, without being unhappy about where you stand. Find a way of eagerly anticipating future changes, while at the same time you are in love and satisfied with who, what, where and how you be."
-Abraham Hicks

If you are of of those rare and fortunate people who already experience your body as perfect exactly as it is, with all its foibles and strengths, then you already embraced the lesson of acceptance and can fast forward to the next lesson. However, if any small part of you believes that you would be happier if you were thinner, taller, larger, firmer, blonder, stronger, or some other physical alteration you think would magically transform your life for the better, then you might want to spend some time learning about the value of true acceptance.

"Acceptance is the act of embracing what life presents to you with a good attitude. Our bodies are among the most willing and wise teachers of this lesson. It can be like an ever-present benevolent guide or a lifelong cross you bear. The decision is yours based on how well you learn this lesson.

For many people, their body is the target for their harshest judgment and the barometer by which they measure their self worth. They hold themselves up to an unattainable standard and berate themselves for coming up short of perfection. Since your physical shape is the form in which you show up in the world, it is very often the way you define yourself, and often the way others define you."

Andrew Adler

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