Thursday, April 4, 2013

Practicing Acceptance

Hi friends, I first wrote this post July, 2011.  Ironically, just this afternoon I was reading something in my current inner work about practicing "active acceptance", and awhile letter found myself directed to this blog.  Enjoy!  

 Acceptance can be one of those practices that fall under the “easier said than done” category.  We have numerous opportunities every single day to practice letting all things be exactly as they are.  I almost always teach and write on what is up for me at any given time, and acceptance has been on the plate. 
I have a notebook where I keep quotes and articles that speak to me, and while perusing it the other day I came across this:

            “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.  Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.  Unless I accept life on life’s terms, I cannot be happy.  I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”  (AA book, pg 449)

            In A Course in Miracles we are taught that holding grievances is an attack on God’s plan for healing.  When disturbed about anything, we are holding a grievance.  In order to heal we must replace attack and judgment with acceptance.
If we decided to practice only this one thing, it’s amazing how many opportunities we give ourselves to practice.  For the last several weeks my mind has been caught up in a thinking loop about a “fact of my life” that I was disturbed by.  Specifically, a minor surgery performed on my arm that is more like a hack job.  Even though it's done, and there is not a darn thing I can do about it, my mind has continued to return to thoughts about how wrong this doctor was to do what he did.
So a few days ago, while on a morning walk with my dog, once again I was on a thinking rant about this doctor.  I had just given a talk on practicing acceptance, and so my mind was a fertile ground to hear the Inner Voice remind me:

“Sheryl, acceptance is the answer to all your problems today, not some of them, but all of them.”

I’d rest a few minutes in acceptance and then my thoughts would bounce back to judgment and attack.  And then Spirit Within would remind me of acceptance.  It was like a game of tennis going on in my mind – the ball bouncing back and forth between acceptance and judgment. 
Fortunately, I was on a long walk that day and so I had plenty of time for observation. I noticed that when my mind rested in acceptance I felt peaceful, and when my mind bounced back into judgment and attack I felt agitated.  By the time I returned home, acceptance had won the game and I was at peace about the situation.  I even realized that perhaps this was the best thing for my healing, I can let my arm be a constant reminder that acceptance is indeed, the answer to all of my problems today.   I admit though that every time I look at my arm, I have another opportunity to practice acceptance.  I persevere. 

This is just a minor example that comes up for me now, but let’s face it, there is always something going on in life that we can grievance about especially those things that we see every day, and that seem hard to accept.  

Are you having a difficult time accepting something today?

In my recent teaching on acceptance, I shared one of the messages given to Regina Dawn Akers called, “Accepting Now.” *  Here’s an excerpt:

            “In any moment you are experiencing exactly what you choose to experience.  This is important for you to realize, because in resisting your current experience you resist you.  Resistance is fear.  The trick to shifting an experience that you do not like to another experience that you know you’d prefer is to totally accept the current experience.
            “If that experience is hate, look at it.  If it is doubt or fear, look at it.  If you are projecting onto others or attacking yourself, stop and look at that.  Stop, only for a moment, and look directly at the current experience as you have deemed it to be.  And now say:
‘This is how I feel now.  These are the thoughts I see in my mind now.  I accept this exactly as it is without wishing to extend it longer than it need be.’

“Then stay in the energy of acceptance.  Acceptance is the answer…patient acceptance.  Do not be in a hurry.  Rest, accept and trust.  Notice temptations to resist.  And in that moment, choose again.  This is truly the best way to help yourself.” 

When I go to the gym early in the morning I like to read spiritual material while on the elliptical machine.  And so, while reading this message I gave myself another opportunity to practice acceptance. 
            I am not the type that compares myself to others, and I suppose that’s because I have talked to so many people over the years that I have come to realize that every one has something to deal with.  Specifically though, I don’t compare myself to others in regard to appearance as in wishing I looked like someone else.
That morning on the way to the gym, I said a prayer giving Spirit Within permission to reveal to me the errors in my mind as I went about my day.  So as I was reading the aforementioned message on acceptance, my mind began to wander.  I looked at other women in the gym that I thought looked really good, and began to judge myself  about what I coulda, shoulda done differently.

Immediately I realized that they were thoughts of self-judgment and unworthiness coming up again to be experienced, and then released.  I realized that this experience I was having was exactly what the “accepting now” message was talking about.  Wow.  And so, I returned to the message and practiced what it said to practice:

Holy Spirit,
I am having an experience of self-judgment.
I am willing to look at the thoughts of unworthiness
and judgment that are lurking in my mind.

This is how I feel now.
I am willing to accept this experience
without wishing to extend it longer than it need be.

I am willing to let all things,
including myself,
be exactly as they are.
Thank You.

See, through the willingness to allow myself to experience the self-judgment and unworthiness, I was able to also see that the thoughts stem from a false belief in my inherent unworthiness, and a false desire to know myself other than Love created me.  Once this is recognized then I have an opportunity to choose again. 
A few weeks ago my husband and I saw the new “X-men” movie.  It’s about people who have what we would think of as super powers.  In it, there is a female character that is blue and scaly with bright red hair and glowing yellow eyes.  She has the power to turn herself into anyone she wants to be, and so because she doesn’t like how she looks, frequently she reveals herself as a young beautiful blond woman.
         At one point in the movie, as she is working hard to perfect her powers, a mentor character walks into the room and tells her that at least fifty-percent of her power is being used to be something that she is not. 
He said, “You want the world and other people to accept you, but you don't accept yourself.”
            This spoke to her, and afterward she began to accept her physical form as it was.

              This also spoke to me.  Does it speak to you? 

            A favorite teaching in A Course in Miracles says: “Seek not to change the world [yourself], seek instead to change your mind about the world [yourself].

Acceptance is the answer.    Let us practice looking on now and loving it as it is.  Trust.  You are being healed, even now.

* A message given to Regina Dawn Akers, “Accepting Now” September 24, 2007, can be found on her website: under “monthly archives”.

This audio was recorded on 6/26/11 and is 56 min long
Accepting Now


    MP3 File


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