The Pathway of Acceptance...Part 2

More on Acceptance

Previously, I wrote about The Pathway of Acceptance as one of the tenants of my program “How to Live an Expert Life.”  Well, I had more to say on the subject and probably will have more to say again, so here it goes…

There is a quote I would like to share with you.  This quote is actually from the main text of Alcoholics Anonymous, often referred to as the Big Book, which states…”and acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.  When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of my life---unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment (p.417).”

While this quote might seem like an overstatement on the importance of acceptance, it is very powerful.  I often hear this quote in my own head when I am struggling with something, particularly when I am feeling anxious and worried about something, but I have already done everything I can do in that moment to change it.  It reminds me of the power of acceptance and allows me to focus on letting go and allowing my actions to do their job now.  

Please note here, that the quote above does not say that you have to accept anything as being this way forever only that in this moment it is exactly the way it is meant to be, but this does not preclude change.  This does not mean we give up.  In fact the author goes on to say later in the chapter that this does not mean he sits and does nothing, but that instead he does what is in front of him.  He takes the actions that he needs to, but then he accepts that the end result may be out of his hands.  As a wise teacher of mine, Dr. Dean Portinga, says “we act and then we release.” As a wise teacher of mine, Dr. Dean Portinga, says “we act and then we release.”

When you have checked necessary action off your list, it is time for acceptance.  We want to use our uncomfortable feelings to help motivate us into action, but when we have taken the action and the uncomfortable feelings want to linger, we need to accept that all has been done.  Sometimes we just need to accept that those uncomfortable feelings are there.  By accepting them we often allow them to soften so that we can move on.  By fighting them, they tend to stick.  They want to be noticed.  Notice them, but don’t nurture them. 

If you've been banging your head against a wall trying to change something, STOP banging and see if you can sit with acceptance. Remember, this has nothing to do with giving up.  Just ask yourself, "What do you need to accept about yourself, someone else, a situation, TODAY or in this moment?"  Then ask yourself, “Can I accept the process of growth and change?”  “Can I accept that I am taking the action steps that I need and that the rest will take care of itself?”  Sit with these questions. Perhaps even journal on them or meditate on them.  See what answers you get and what they mean to you.  Remember that as the expert of your own life, you hold the answers.