Twice in one week, I had someone remind me of the importance of being fully open to what actually IS occurring and not to get preoccupied with the way we want or wish things to be. Both times, I saw the immediate and incredible truth that they spoke. When things get challenging, dangerous, profoundly unprecedented, and starkly impossible to be happening before our eyes, it’s not uncommon for us to go into utter resistance and simply ‘make believe it’s not true.’ With all the turmoil in our country right now, as well as worldwide, it is demandingly tough to see the veracity of a situation and honestly look it in the eye. It is only when we accept the awfulness of what we behold that we can move through its lessons with integrity and fortitude. This is the time that we pay attention to it all, reminding ourselves that when we SEE IT, we ultimately learn things that we could not learn any other way. Don’t miss this opportunity!
Tenacity. The sheer will power it takes to put one foot in front of the other is paramount in today’s complex environment. People express disappointment, disillusionment, even despair as they are marginalized, lied to, demeaned because of their beliefs, or at the very worst, physically harmed for their views. Having the resolve to listen, find room for opposing understandings, and maintain your intention for connection and wholeness, pays off in great dividends. Those among us who are determined to accept what is and then take steps to create and contribute to the next choice and wide-ranging solution are the ones who experience the advantages of persistence.
Hold to Neutral. This is one’s ability to recognize and admit “I don’t know.” What a sacred and creative place this is. It is a place of stillness where one does not decide or feel anything in one direction or another. It is a time to be fully alert and purposefully quiet. Listening ever so deeply to the intuitive wisdom that lies within, allowing it to surface in your state of not knowing. There is a need for caution here, for it is deeply rooted in our collective unconscious to “know.” Therefore, holding to this place of ‘not knowing’ requires uncommon discipline.
Learn to Receive. Our strengths and unique skills are better utilized by self and others when we surrender to the fact that everyone needs help from time to time. People get accustomed to being good at things, and they like the feeling of accomplishing things on their own. While some of this is essential as resources wane, competition runs high, and people are suffering, it pays to allow others to lend a hand, and perhaps more importantly, to ask for help. Receiving input, assistance, and creative questions (some call this ‘push back’) adds immeasurably to the quality of output and the texture of our lives.
Appreciate! Griping and complaining has its own pull. But there’s little or no long-term value. There may be plenty to carp about but ultimately, it only brings you and all those around you down. There is much to appreciate when we look for it, even if at times it takes some serious looking! But, when we activate a sincere feeling of appreciation, it changes everything. Perspective, attitude, responses, creativity, and outcomes all change in the presence of appreciation. It doesn’t make everything magically perfect—there are still hurdles to climb over—but the terrain along the way looks brighter, and there just may be some wondrous discoveries that show up in the light of appreciation.
Radical Acceptance. When we accept life precisely as it is, we stop resisting what we cannot or choose not to change. It creates a YES attitude and funnels our energy into positive directions. I’ve had moments in my own life when I say things like, “I can’t stand this,” or “I can hardly believe what’s happening,” and “It shouldn’t be this way.” It’s almost as if I/we think refusing to accept the truth will keep it from being true, or that accepting it means agreeing with it. Accepting does not mean agreeing.
It is exhausting to fight reality, never mind that it doesn’t work. Accepting reality is most difficult when life is painful. Rarely do we want to experience pain, discontent, misery, or loss. But all of these experiences are a part of life. I have found that “practice” makes a difference, and we can practice radical acceptance.
The ability to accept that traffic is heavy, that it’s raining on the day you scheduled an outside event, or that friends cancel for your special birthday celebration are all important skills/practices for coping well and living a more satisfying life. When you practice acceptance, you may still feel the negative emotion initially, but you don’t add the pain of non-acceptance to those emotions and make things worse. When you move towards actually experiencing acceptance, it means you have begun to heal. It boils down to allowing reality to be as it is. Practice saying “This is as it is” and notice how much energy you have to move through the tough stuff and find creative solutions to that which needs resolving. Acceptance is a gift, use it abundantly.
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