Sunday, November 20, 2011

Accepting What Is


A number of fair weather friends that find themselves transplanted to the Northeast have been lamenting the inevitable winter. I relate.  While I’ve been raised in this climate, I am inherently summer. I crave the sun, the sand, the water - you’ve heard me carry on about this. When I hear the story of Avrohom’s search I understand why he thought of the sun.


The winter brings me down. I feel crippled by the frost. The cold, dry air burns my lungs and I feel as though there is not enough oxygen in the world. I layer and bundle up but there is a core part of me that can’t get warm enough. I come in from the outside and stand in a hot shower and cry. The water is so hot, it’s burning my skin, but deep inside I’m still cold. It’s long and miserable, this winter. It feels like it never ends. I cannot get comfortable in this cold. I am handicapped by this season.


I have spent the last year working on accepting what is. It’s been a trip, this journey of life, recognizing that I am not in control. Accepting people, situations, myself. Why is it so hard to accept the weather?


ac·cept·ance/akˈseptəns/

Noun. The action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.

In his book The Happiness Trap, Dr Russ Harris writes:
“Acceptance does not mean ‘putting up with’ or resigning yourself to anything. Acceptance is about embracing life, not merely tolerating it. Acceptance literally means ‘taking what is offered’. It doesn’t mean giving up or admitting defeat; it doesn’t mean just gritting your teeth and bearing it. It means fully opening yourself to your present reality – acknowledging how it is, right here and now and letting go of the struggle with life as it is in this moment”



This paragraph really speaks to me. Acceptance, for me, has become breathing into a moment. Acceptance is recognizing that life happens, that G-d has a plan for us all, that we are mere puppets in the master plan. Accepting is acknowledging that what’s meant to be happens, every time. Even when I cannot fathom. Even when I am uncomfortable, sad, angry, or frustrated.


I make a decision to accept or resist. When I am being honest, I can accept and acknowledge the truth. Even if I dislike it. I accept what is because it’s my reality. When I struggle or deny the truth, I shut myself out. This denial, this struggle, this resistance, it’s me preventing myself from moving forward.


FYI, It’s not just the obviously difficult things that I resist, like winter and traffic and arrogance and stench. I resist good things too. It’s hard for me to accept help, compliments, my talents and abilities. But they are also reality. I have forgone many a good thing in this spirit of resistance. It does not serve me well.


I am trying to feel and process. To learn from these experiences, from these realities. I accept that I have not treated myself as best as I could. I resolve to do better. I am learning to recognize feelings of resentment and resistance. I notice that when I feel resentful or resistant, I tighten up inside, my head hurts and I want to avoid everything. I am crippling myself.


I liberate myself when I accept myself, another or a situation that I don’t like.


This winter I am determined to accept the reality. The cold will come and I will not fight it. I will not handicap myself. I may not yet embrace it, and I don’t have to, but I will choose to accept it, because that is what is real.


To keeping warm and accepting what is,


Chana


PS.  Some exercises that help me get past resistance and into acceptance:

1. Sitting back in a chair with my feet firmly on the ground, I put my hand onto my chest and breathe.  I inhale kindness and compassion and I exhale denial, resistance and anything I don’t need. It’s hard to maintain resentment while inhaling compassion.


When I practice this regularly I am able to envision this being grounded, even if I’m running or engaged in another activity. Doing the physical activity is always more beneficial but the imagery works - provided that I’m in practice.


2. Utilizing the Serenity Prayer - G-d, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.


3. When all else fails, or I can’t seem to get it together, I reach out for help. That’s a big step for me and one that I’m especially proud of.


4. Byron Katie - TheWork.com. Many inspirations available there.

4 comments:

  1. very inspiring, thanks for sharing.

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  2. "It’s hard for me to accept help, compliments, my talents and abilities. "

    Well I'll help you get started. You are so intelligent, beautiful, and spiritual, there's so much we all can learn from you!!

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  3. Thank you Tickey and Chanale. Feeling the love.

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  4. I look forward to reading anything you write. You have a way of expressing in a very real way. We all come across situations that we need to accept.. unless we can change- one day at a time. Thanks for the tips. You're one amazing woman!

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