Friday, November 8, 2013

Radical Acceptance

Life has thrown me some curves.

This makes me absolutely the opposite of unique. 

For the past eight months or so, I have allowed my demons to consume me. I was helpless to change things -- so I accepted them -- but I did so while harboring a huge load of resentment. I resented the circumstances that changed my life. I resented everyone who wasn't dealing with those circumstances. I resented the people who were able to craft escapes from their own circumstances in one way or another. I became bitter and found it difficult to cultivate even the smallest seed of joy.

It was miserable to be me and it was miserable to be around me.

Then, things took a turn for the worse.

And the damndest thing happened.

I accepted it.

I accepted it almost calmly.

I accepted it rationally.

I accepted it -- radically.

I wasn't yet familiar with the concept of radical acceptance, but I was experiencing it.

It washed over me unexpectedly. This is my reality and I will be living with it. I may as well live with it harmoniously.

My thoughts had turned -- as I suspect the thoughts of many folks my age do -- to "What is my life worth? Is this all there is?" It's a really helpless, hopeless thought and it was difficult to bear.

Until I really considered it.

What if this really is all there is? 

I have the chance to see something beautiful every day.

I listen to music that moves me.

Every now and then I get to spend some time near the sea. I have mementos.

I spend time with clever people who make me laugh.

I have a hobby that feeds my creative side as well as my personal need to touch fabulous fibers.

I drink good coffee in the morning and good wine in the evening and I eat good food more often than I don't.

I love the people in my life and I suspect that they love me in return.

A kitten is purring in my lap as I type.

Like the song says, I've got the sun in the morning and the moon at night.

If that's all there is -- is that so bad? What am I looking for? What am I waiting for? Who could really want more?

Is my reality like yours? Nope. And yours isn't like his and his isn't like hers and so on and so on, scooby doobie doobie. But mine isn't so bad. I bet yours isn't, either. It's not what I would have chosen if I'd been provided with a drop-down menu, but it's not so bad.

Radical acceptance occurs in that moment when you stop fighting reality. When you accept things totally and completely as they are. No what ifs or if onlys or not fairs. Serenity, courage and wisdom, and all that.

I am completely at peace with my present. That feels pretty awesome right now -- almost blissful after all of that time buried under bitterness and resentment. I suspect that the bliss will wear off, but I hope that the peace will remain.

I couldn't really hope for anything more.


Unknown said...

My goodness, Tammy, that was beautiful. I will hug the shit out of you the next time I see you. Which, I suppose, isn't terribly different from what I do most times when I see you, but still... I know what you're talking about. I have experienced this as well. The times when I'm able to be present in this mindset are such a beautiful gift.

And no, it doesn't last. Just like the weather. There's really no point in dreading the rain, snow or ice. It's temporary. It will come, and then it will go. So will the sunny days. It's great to revel in the sunshine, play in the leaves (or just marvel at the colors, or take pictures), hunker down and listen to the rhythm of the rain hitting the roof... The things that happen to us are like the weather. We can't control the weather, only our reaction to it. We can fight it; shake our fists at the rain or snow. Or we can just accept it as a thing that is and go about the rest of our business. We are never forced to react in any way. That is always our choice.

And radical acceptance is amazing. Fault doesn't matter. Because does it? Really? How can it?! Taking the judgment out of the things that happen takes away the power of drama. There is no circumstance to wait for in order to be happy. I can be perfectly happy in any moment I choose. And when I recognize that, I'm happier a lot more often than when I forget. But when I remember after forgetting, I don't beat myself up for forgetting. I just let it go, forgive myself and remember. And enjoy. <3 <3 <3

Anonymous said...

So. Powerful....really. I needed that today. Radical acceptance is a beautiful thing.!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Timing is everything as they say, and I'm really glad I read this today, Tammy. Thank you.

It's been 2 weeks since you wrote this post and I'm hoping you're still feeling the same great way. I loved this.

Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy!
xo jj