Another flat tire, living in a small camper for over 6 months, painful dental work, an external hard drive failing with hundreds of photos lost, all the uncertainties we are facing and on and on. There have been so many things that have weighed so heavily. As one of my friends so wisely said to me, “These events have happened for a reason, this is a good place to pause and ask the question, ‘what am I here to learn, what is the lesson, don’t skip over these valuable teachings.’” I did as she suggested, I paused, perhaps I even cried a little, then I started thinking about each experience and I saw an overriding theme before me. It would seem that I keep coming back to the word “acceptance,” over and over again.
So of course I have been thinking a lot about acceptance and what it means to me. For me it’s about allowing what comes without resistance. I have spent a lot of time resisting, staving off the unpleasant, spinning my wheels trying to make things happen. Yet, it is somehow during the struggle, during the darkness that I am cracked open and it is from here that I begin to see the light. I heard it said this way, most often we would have never chosen the path that has led us to where we stand today, but because of these deep valleys we are wiser, calmer, better people then we ever would have been had everything been easy.
I’m thinking about a conversation I had with one of my dear friends. Her name is Ann, she is in her 90’s, and she is one of the kindest most pleasant people I have ever met. I have never heard her speak negatively or say unkind words towards anybody or anything. Recently I spoke with Ann and I asked her, “Ann, what is your secret, how are you always so at ease, so upbeat even in the face of great loss?” She looked at me, her eyes so soft and kind as she replied, “You want to know what the secret is, it’s acceptance. I accept what comes to me. I can't control life, but I can accept it and not fight against it and that way I never loose any sleep or get stressed, I just accept.” Then she went on to say, “I don’t want you to think that I don’t care about things or people because I do, I care deeply, but I’ve learned to accept it all.”
Those wise words have sat deep, I’ve churned them over them over and over again. Acceptance. I’ve heard myself over the years pay lip service to surrender by saying, “I have a surrendered heart and I am OK with whatever happens.” But inside I was always secretively wishing, angling, hanging on and hoping things would turn out the way I wanted it to. As I held onto my will the stress would build and grow and anxiety ruled the day. But acceptance... what a simple concept. Accepting that what comes to me is for me. It stops the comparisons and I no longer look at what I don’t have, but rather it creates such thankfulness for everything that I do have. Talk about a mighty shift of the heart.
When I can accept where I am, I begin to embrace all that is. I say words of thanksgiving. Over the past few months I began a new practice, I spend time each day repeating the phrase, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, I am so grateful.” Somehow in the midst of my embracing and being thankful my heart has begun to agree. I am no longer closed with tight fists but rather I am working on opening my hands without even knowing for sure what lies before me.