Accepting What Is
Dear Desi, Acceptance. To be in that space. What does that word mean and feel like to you? When have you accepted?
This question came from a dear friend six months before writing this response. I loved this question and found myself reflecting on it for days. And then it went away from my mind for awhile. And today, when I came back across the question I realized that it was left unanswered. And, as life happens, I had recently had an experience of acceptance that was like none I’d ever had before. Funny how there is always a right timing to everything.
For me the word acceptance means receptivity and it feels like love. When I practice acceptance, I am choosing a path that trusts that everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen is for our Highest good. I find it valuable to accept things & people as they are – not try to force them to be different. For most of my life, my focus on acceptance was centered around accepting circumstances and others roles, that was until this year when I learned about acceptance in an entirely new way.
In March 2017, I had the good fortune of working a Fearlessness Retreat in Costa Rica with fellow coaches Tracy Preciado and Crystal Fry. This event proved life altering for many of the attendees, mine included.
Heading out the door to the airport, for the retreat, I fell down some stairs and severely sprained my ankle. The message was clear, slow down. Then, just one day after arriving at the retreat event center, I fell off a small step and sprained the other ankle. Again, the message was clear, slow down. Still I wanted to be more helpful, do more than I was doing, go on the excursions but each time I tried to push myself there would be a physical sign telling me to slow down.
So I finally came to accept my place at the retreat. I would be staying onsite at the event center, in a hammock legs up, ice on ankles. Our fellow participants learned they could find me in the hammock. As I lay there, I contemplated the message being shown to me and thought about my life. Over the last 12 years, I have gotten married, birthed two children, worked as an HR executive, coached inspirational people, designed and delivered specialized retreat experiences, and earned a spiritual life coaching certification.
May you awaken to the light of your own true nature – Joan Borysenko
But the truth was evident, I needed to slow down. Not just for the week in Costa Rica but in every aspect of my life. I needed to allocate more time to sit in a corner and read, to be alone and reflect on recent events, and most importantly to refuel. This idea felt so counter intuitive to everything I had done and accomplished up to that point. Yet, it felt more true than any idea I’d ever had up to that moment.
It was time for me to accept that the fast achievement go, go, go pace I had adopted was not actually my pace. I really don’t like to be rushed. I like to take my time and work on things until they feel just right. Turns out that my pace is more of a grazing pace. Play, work, rest, repeat.
Once I began to accept my inherent truth, the tears flowed out. You know those tears, the truth tears the ones that show us we have hit our target. I had to accept that my future would not look like my past. I had to accept that I would need to learn a new way of interacting with everyone in my life. I had to accept that my grazing pace is pretty high maintenance. I mean, time for play and rest, really? Yes, really.
I have been practicing living at my natural pace for 3 months now and I feel amazing. Truly amazing. I have shared more hugs with my family in the last 3 months than I can remember in the last full year. My new pace is having a positive impact on my family too. I am finding time to enjoy Summer fun with my kids, working with even more inspirational people, and I’m writing again.
So, as I consider the concept of acceptance, it seems like it is important to acknowledge denial. In not accepting my natural pace, I was denying a part of myself that knew the truth. That denial was causing suffering where acceptance brings me peace. Therefore, for me, acceptance means allowing the truth to flow forward in whatever direction it may lead.